Start Writing a Book
You're serious about writing a novel. You have an idea in your head, and you're anxious to start writing. Wait.
Don't start just yet. There are some things to consider before you start writing. And then there are some things
you can do while you're writing, as well as when your book is in the editor's hands, when it's being formatted,
and the cover is being designed. And then there are more things to do after it's published. This is just a
checklist--for details of each task, navigate this site by entering relative keywords in the search bar above.
I can assure you that taking the time to accomplish a few things before you start writing will pay off
tremendously, and you are more likely to actually finish your novel if you have done the preliminary work too.
So before you start putting one word after another to make those wonderful chapters emerge, use this
checklist to establish a foundation for what I hope will be a best-selling novel.
BEFORE WRITING THE BOOK
- Understand your motivation for writing a book (to make money, entertain people, fulfill a passion, share your thoughts
with others, help/inspire people, rid yourself of that story lurking inside your head once and for all).
- Determine whether you want to self-publish or go with traditional publishing.
- If you're self-publishing, find a publisher (it's better to know submission requirements before you start writing).
- Determine how many hours per day (better yet, pages per day) you will commit to writing.
- Determine your goals (personal, monetary, literary, time table, publishing).
- Decide how many levels of editing you will need (critique, line edit, copy edit, proofread).
- Estimate costs (editing, cover design, formatting, printing, distribution, promotion/advertising, office supplies/equipment,
reference materials, education, postage, dues/subscriptions).
- Establish a budget.
- Determine time frames required for writing the book, editing, formatting, and publishing.
- Know who your target audience is.
- Understand what will make your book marketable.
- Know basic software requirements for your manuscript.
- Know basic formatting requirements.
- Develop your characters (it will make your job of developing the story much easier).
- Select a POV (point of view).
- Select a narrative tense.
- Take writing classes, read books on the craft of writing novels, and/or peruse this website for insight. Don't be like me
and jump right into writing your first novel, only to have to rewrite it later when you learn you've done just about everything
wrong that you could do wrong.
- Determine the genre for your book (this helps you keep on point for your target audience).
- If you're a 'planner' (you plan your work before you start writing) instead of a 'pantser' (you write with no plan by the seat
of your pants), develop an outline for your story.
- Draft your elevator speech.
WRITING THE BOOK
- Familiarize yourself with basic novel-writing axioms.
- Showing, not telling
- Sticking to one point of view
- Using active vs passive voice
- Sticking to one narrative tense
- Writing the right amount of backstory
- Understanding story, plot, and hook
WHILE YOU'RE WRITING THE BOOK
- Consider developing a website/blog.
- Establish your social media pages.
- Decide whether you'll publish in paperback, e-Book, Kindle, Audio.
- Find an Editor.
- Find a formatter.
- Find a cover illustrator/designer.
- Start developing your author platform.
WHILE THE BOOK IS GOING THROUGH EDITING, FORMATTING, AND COVER DESIGN
- Hone your elevator speech and synopses.
- Find appropriate book posting sites.
- Find reviewers.
- Establish pricing for your book.
- Secure ISBN, ASIN, and LCCN numbers as appropriate.
- Establish distribution channels.
- Establish a marketing plan.
AFTER THE BOOK IS PUBLISHED
- Conduct the book launch.
- Establish a promotion strategy and schedule.
Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only
see as far as your headlights, but you can make the
whole trip that way.
– E. L. Doctorow
- Receive periodic notifications when additional subjects are added to
the writer’s advice sections (about one per quarter).
- Learn of my future book releases (about one per year).
- Let me know if you would like to see additional topics included on
this website, and if I use your suggestion, receive a complimentary
copy of one of my books (your choice).