Congratulations on making the decision to write your book. But if you are like me, you really don’t know where to begin. I remember getting frustrated, a little angry, and then just plain stuck. If that’s happened to you, then here are two simple first steps that you should consider to get unstuck and get your book written.
1. Identify Your Audience FIRST
The first step in getting ready to write your book is to identify the target audience or market you want to reach. What type of book is it and who do you think would be interested in this topic or subject matter? For example, is it an advice book for young mothers or older workers? Is it a thriller or an historical romance? Is it a collection of short stories from your time overseas? Who do you think might be interested in reading your book? What kind of books are they already buying and reading?
Identifying your target audience and keeping them in mind as you write your book will help you not just stay on track. It may also help you write a book that your Îpeople’ might actually buy and read. That’s very important, because when your book finally gets published, you want to have the best possible chance of being successful in marketing and selling your book.
When you narrow your focus to a specific audience, it will allow you to find them, to reach them, to connect with them, and to sell your books to them. You can always try and expand your market later. Always focus in on your target audience before and during the writing process.
2. Just Write
The second step is deciding how you will actually write the book…and then, of course, WRITING the book. Here are four suggestions that can help you to both begin and finish writing your book.
a. The Free Flow Method
Some people, including me, love the joy of just sitting and letting the creative juices flow. This is particularly effective for fiction writing as I let my imagination tell the story to me and I just write it down. One of the best things about this approach is that I don’t know where the story will end. I don’t even know who committed the murder and I have to wait, like the readers, to find out as the story unfolds. That’s a lot of fun! However, for some authors this method can also lead to writer’s block if the storyline flounders with no definite direction.
b. The Outline Method
Others like to start out by creating an outline. I used this tactic when I wrote my self-help book. I identified the key points I wanted to make, researched the material, and organized it into chapters. It let me break down what looked like a massive undertaking into small, manageable chucks. This can also work for fiction books if you replace your plot for the outline.
c. The Storyboard Method
Another way to get ready is to create a storyboard. This allows you to take all of the different elements in your book, and put them all together in one place so you can see all the pieces at the same time. This might include the initial concept, all of your potential characters, any ideas you have about scenes or settings, and a short synopsis of your story. The advantage of this approach is that you can visually monitor your writing progress, and make sure that you don’t get lost along the way.
d. The Backward Method
Some people start planning the end of their book, and then work their way back to the beginning. This is an interesting way to write and it works well for authors who want to wow their readers with a surprise or clever ending, but who don’t want to create errors in the logistics or flow of the story to get there. Use an outline or storyboard to help you with this planning. If you can imagine the ending then it may be easier to write the beginning and the middle. It might also help you to stay focused on telling the story and to not get distracted by avenues that may be leading you away from that ending. The backward method can also be a great strategy to try out if you get stuck in the middle of the project. Just picture the end in your mind, and create a partial story outline, working your way back to where you’re stuck.
Find a method and approach that helps you get started, and START WRITING! The world is waiting for your new book.
Mike Martin is the author of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series. The third book in this series, Beneath the Surface, was just released by BookLocker.com.