How to Write a Book
Resources Series: The fourth Monday of every month, we introduce you to cool stuff you haven’t seen yet. Always useful, never viral, often fun.Depending on whether you’re a pessimist or an optimist, getting off your butt to finally write that book that you’ve been contemplating for years will be way easier or way harder than you think.
To help you cut through your delusions, decide if you should write the book, and figure out how to actually do it, here’s my practical three-step guide to writing a book.
Step 1: Psych yourself up.
Nobody cares about your stupid book, and definitely nobody is gonna buy it. Who do you think you are? Also, it’s gonna cost you a bunch of money.
The only reason to write a book is if you’re convinced it’s going to do the world more good than your favorite charity could do if you cut them a check for your book expenses and volunteered for them for as many hours as you would have spent writing.
If you’re cool with all that, then proceed. If not, no worries, one less thing.
Step 2: Decide how to publish it.
If you self-publish it on Kindle Direct Publishing (print or ebook), you’ll make a lot of money per copy sold but no serious publications will review it because they’ll assume it wasn’t good enough to be published by a real publisher.
If you sign a contract with a small but legitimate publisher, you’ll make very little money per copy sold but have a much better chance of being taken seriously.
If you want to be taken seriously by a big publisher and national media, you need to first sign a contract with an agent, who will then pitch your book to big-name corporate publishers. In this case, the publisher may pay you an advance to fund your writing the book, but you’ll make no additional money until your book sells enough copies to make back what the publisher has already spent on you, after which point you’ll make the same very little money per copy sold as you would without an agent.
Step 3: Schedule your writing time.
If you’re impossibly busy, write for 10 minutes at a time at every opportunity. That’s how Jake Tapper wrote The Hellfire Club and Eric Verdi self-published The Psychological Approach to Sell Real Estate.
If you like to settle in, block off a few hours per day to write first thing in the morning, after breakfast, or late at night. That’s how lots of famous authors have written.
If it’s an emergency, retreat somewhere where nobody can bother you and write all day, every day, until your book is finished, which is how I wrote This Book Will Not Be on the Test.