Â Writing a book can take months, or years. Even if you’re writing a short ebook, it’s likely to take weeks, unless you have a plan.
Â While there are endless ways you can test book ideas, let’s look at five ways which have worked for me. I’ve written many dozens of book-length projects, not only for major publishers, but also to self-publishâ€¦ and as a ghostwriter.
Â I never write a book without testing the idea. Over time, I’ve learned that failing to do that is a great way to write yourself into a corner. Â Â
Here are five Â ways, starting with the simplest. If you wish, you can use these five ways as steps to writing your book.
1. Write a descriptionÂ
Basic, and elementary. If you can’t describe the book, whether it’s nonfiction, or a novel, the chances that you can write the thing are precisely zero.
For example, I once got an idea for a humorous novel. The central character didn’t want anything in particular — everyone around her wanted her to do something for them.Â
Luckily I wrote the description and spotted that. You can’t write a novel around a character with zero goals; there’s no conflict. Â All I had to do was give her a big goal.
Start with the description, then journal. You can brainstorm plot, write as each character, list locations, think about motivation and emotionâ€¦ just think about the book on paper, or on the computer screen.
If the book still sounds good after a week of this, you can go on to…
3. Create a blog
I love blogging, and I have a lot of them. A blog is a commitment. It’s also the first step in promoting your book — AND in creating your platform, if you’re not already busily engaged in doing that.Â
Creating a blog is useful for both fiction and nonfiction, but perhaps more so for nonfiction. You’ll discover very quickly whether there’s interest in your book idea.
4. Create a mind map
Â The big problem with writing a book is that you can’t keep it in your head. I love mind maps because they help me to see the book, from the overview, right down to each chapter and scene.
Freemind is a great free application which helps you to create mind maps.
5. Write and publish a “lite” version
If you’re writing a novel, write a short story and publish it on the Kindle platform. Ditto for nonfiction. Using your mind map (if you created one), write a bare-bones version, and then get it online and selling.
You’re in business — go ahead and write your book.
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