Writing a book will enhance your career prospects and dramatically enhance your personal brand.
This is the last in an 8-post series on how to write a book – without putting your life on hold.
If you’ve stumbled across this post without reading the previous posts, I’d strongly suggest you check out the first seven posts in the series on how to write a book – starting with the introduction to the series.
Here are the last three steps in the process I have used to write my own books:
1. Build in Transitions
Transitions are words or phrases used to smooth the borders between one idea and another, one statement and another, one section and another. They include words and phrases like “therefore”, “happily”, “consequently”, “however”, “yet”, “nevertheless”, etc., or can be questions like “but how is this achieved?” or “why is this?”. There are many more examples of transitions here. Every idea or point that you present should lead readers towards the next point, should encourage them to continue to read and follow the line of your argument.
Quite apart from saving them effort, good transitions also ensure that readers do not make the wrong connection between the various points that you are presenting.
Begin to read through the sections of your outline. Consider how easily you are drawn from idea to idea, how each idea fits under its heading. You will find many ideas which present themselves as isolated paragraphs nestling under your remaining headings. Consider the message which the heading suggests this section will convey and begin to build transitions between each of the separate ideas reflecting this message.
When you are finished under one heading, be sure that the closing sentence in that sub-section points the reader towards the next section, effectively introducing the next set of ideas that you will present in support of the points that you are trying to make. Ensure that the various points are in an order which flows logically from one point to the next and that every point that you make, every sentence that you write, makes some sense in the context of the preceding and following sentences and sections.
Create a coherent narrative – a good ‘story’.
2. Read, Revise & Edit
Congratulations! The first complete draft of you book is complete. Now you can begin to polish this draft into a form closer to what will make it into print.
Research shows that good writers spend about 40 per cent of their total production time on pre-writing, outlining and drafting their work, and the remaining 60 per cent on revising, editing and polishing it. Heres’ what to do at a minimum:
- Revise and edit as many times as you can, until you feel entirely confident that the arguments in each of your sections and chapters flow smoothly and logically from one to the other. Do this by continually revising your outline until you are satisfied that you have this smooth flow of ideas.
- Check your spelling, punctuation and grammar. Think about the competence level of your readers and, bearing this in mind, check your proposal for readability. Keep revising and editing until you are entirely satisfied that the book reads as well as it possibly can.
I find it very useful to ‘rest’ the book after every run-through. So, I’ll run through a chapter editing and polish – and will then make a particular point of not revisiting that chapter for a week or two.
I find that the distance helps to reset your critical faculties and to spot opportunities for improvements that you won’t see in a concentrated single push.
3. Get the Experts Involved
It’s at this stage, when you have something that looks as close to perfect as you can make it, that I strongly recommend you put your masterpiece into the hands of a professional proofreader and copy editor. Not everyone will do this but ask any experiecned author how to write a book and the words ‘proofreader’ and ‘copy editor’ will fu=igure highly in their responses. Trust me, these pros will find ways to improve your work that you will never have conceived of. It’ll cost you a few dollars but it’ll be worth every cent (I have contact details for an excellent proofreaders, copy editor and layout person – if you need them just drop me a line).
This is a topic that could run and run – there are so many ways to further discuss how to write a book. I could be encouraged to cover otehr aspects of how to write a book if you have any suggestions on what would be of most se to you. But this is where I leave the topic for now – thanks for stayiong with me these last several weeks.
If I can be of any help to you with your book just drop me a line or use the ‘Comments’ section below to contact me