Planning Your Book Tips

Read these 14 Planning Your Book Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Self Publishing tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Should I have other people proofread my book, too?

Proofing your Book

The proof is in the pudding—if you're pudding is grammatically incorrect it lessens the value of your book! Make sure you proof your book thoroughly! Writing your book is the first step when you publish. The next step is proofing your book. Don't make the mistake of relying totally on the spell and grammar checker in your word processor, because it can only tell you part of the big picture.

*Let your book sit for a few days or even longer before you begin to proof it. Have a friend or expert proof it too, because they will pick out things your eyes, as the writer, might not have seen.

   
Do I really need to create an outline?

Create an Outline

The best way to begin writing the book you will self-publish is to create an outline. Once you know the topic you will write about, sit down and create an outline with sample chapter titles, and notes on what each chapter will contain. When you make an outline, you can begin to see how your book will take shape, and begin to shift things around to make it more coherent and flow more effectively for the reader.

*Making an outline may take time, but your book will be better prepared in the end.

   
Should I hire a book coach?

Hire a Book Coach

Do you need a little coaching? The book coach can help you and your book in many ways. One of the most important functions of the book coach is to give you an honest assessment of the marketability of your title. If you want to self-publish your own book, you should certainly self publish. A book coach will help you decide whether your book has potential in the general marketplace or whether you should plan for smaller book distribution.

   
Should I revise before I reprint?

Don't Forget to Revise your Book!

You reached your dream! You published a book, it sold out, and your self publishing business is doing so great you want to reprint the title. Simple, right? Wrong. Don't forget to revise before you reprint! If your book was written a year or more ago, some things may have changed, and you'll need to reflect that in your new edition. You may have also found errors that crept through—even when the proofreading was rigorous. Be sure to revise and update your new edition before you send it off to the printer.

   
Where can I get ideas for writing more self published books?

Coming up with Ideas for Your Self Published Books

When you get into the business of self book publishing, you'll sometimes feel like you have no more good ideas for book topics. However, if you just stop and look around you, ideas are everywhere. Watching your favorite television network can be a wealth of ideas, from Hollywood star profiles to follow-ups of contestants on reality or game shows. Where are they now? What did their "15 minutes of fame" bring them? And, how about looking around your house for ideas on remodeling, gardening, decorating, or crafts? Ideas are everywhere! Keep a notebook with you in a pocket or purse, and jot down ideas as they come to you. Soon, you'll have so many ideas that you may not find the time to write them all!

   
How can I beat writer's block?

Overcoming Writer's Block

Book self publishing can be a lonely business, and so can sitting in front of your computer, staring at a blank screen while you try to overcome writer's block. If you find yourself stuck in a chapter or section of your book,

  • Try moving on to another section and coming back when you have some fresh ideas
  • A short walk may help clear your head
  • Doing a quick chore, like dishes, laundry, or a run to the market can also give you a new perspective

Don't give in to writer's block, overcome it and you can get back to work!

   
Who owns the copyright to my ghostwritten book?

Do You Copy?

Ghostwriting is usually done as 'work for hire'. That means that the ghostwriter signs a contract to supply writing services to a buyer. The buyer owns the copyright and the buyer's name will usually appear as the author of the book. The buyer will also receive all royalties from the book. Some people share the credit with ghostwriters. In those cases, the author's name would appear as follows: [buyer's name] with [ghostwriter's name] or [buyer's name] as told to [ghostwriter's name]. When credit is shared, ghostwriters will also share the copyright and will receive some royalties for the book.

   
Should I keep a journal of my experiences as I write my book?

Keep a Journal as You Write

Blogs (weblogs) are hot right now, and it might be a good idea to keep a journal of your writing and publishing experience as you create your book. You can literally create a step-by-step blog telling others "how to self publish your own book," and it will also generate interest before your book is even published. That kind of publicity is hard to beat!
*If people feel like they were there for the entire process, they're more inclined to buy your book.

   
What is the Acknowledgements page?

Book Acknowledgements

While you are writing your book, keep a special folder or electronic file to make note of all of the people and organizations that helped you along the way. If you don't do that, you will most likely forget some very important people. You can never go wrong giving credit where credit is due. The people who help you write your books are your allies in the promotion of those books.

For example, you might want to say something like "I want to thank everyone who has asked a question about book self publishing, and all those who have helped me frame answers to those questions" on the Acknowledgments page of your book.

   
Should I add an author Preface to my self published book?

The Author Preface

When self publishing a book, adding a small Preface to your book helps give the reader a better idea of who you are and why you chose to write your book. This can help them identify with what you write, and also make the book a little more interesting. An author does not need to write a Preface, but since it is only a page or two of information, it should be relatively easy to create a Preface that engages your reader and makes them want to read on.

   
Where do I find help writing my book?

Writing your Book

Just because you write the book alone, doesn't mean that you have to go about the whole process alone! If you need help writing your book, there are many places that may be able to help you. Try the following:

  • Enroll in a creative writing class at your local college or university, or find one online
  • There are numerous writing books that can help you when you begin the process of self publishing
  • Look for writing help in a local writers' group

   
Why should I write a purpose statement?

Write a Purpose Statement

Just about any successful author will tell you that the way to get your book rolling is to write a "purpose statement." This statement is a short, concise statement about why you are writing your book and what your book's purpose is. For example, you might write, "The purpose of my book is to: explore the many facets of self publishing for those new to self book publishing."

*Keep the statement short, and keep it in front of you as you write. Your book will be better when it follows your purpose!

   
Do I really need a business plan?

Create a Business Plan

Plan ahead or you'll fall behind! When you self publish your book, you are creating a business and, just like any other business, you need to have a plan for your business that will grow and change as your business grows and changes. Creating a business plan may seem like wasted time when you could be doing other things, but really, creating a business plan shows you are serious about your determination to self publish, and it will give you a good idea of what you need to do to really get your book off the ground.

   
How can I get my book written and published if I'm not a writer?

Get Hold Of A Ghost

People who have a story to tell but don't feel confident about writing it themselves can hire a ghostwriter to write it for them. This is often done for celebrity biographies. A ghostwriter can use a number of methods to get the story, including:
- Interviewing the people who are telling the story.
- Getting people to put their story on tape.
- Doing additional research if required.
Ghostwriters will turn this information into a book. They usually supply the book in instalments and will expect to be paid for each segment they deliver. Some ghostwriters also provide help with getting the book self-published or published.

   
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Linda Handiak