You want to write a nonfiction book, but you are struggling with where to start and also coming up with a word count?
This article will take you through the exact steps to write a 60 -thousand word nonfiction book in four months.
A 50 – 60-thousand-word manuscript is around 200 pages, with about 250 words per page. Of course, this depends on various factors including fonts and spacing. Lately, I’m using Calibri (Body) font at 11, with a line spacing varying between single and 1.5.
WHO AM I?
I’m an author and a busy freelance writer who ghostwrites books for clients. I teach online classes and run a seasonal nonfiction book writing boot camp.
I’ve written several popular books on nonfiction book outlining.
Yep, I’m knee-deep in nonfiction.
WHY 60,000 WORDS IN FOUR MONTHS?
Four months is a reasonable amount of time that those with busy lives, isn’t that all of us, can write a high-quality book.
A 60,000-word book fits nicely into the New Writing and Publishing Universe. It is enough words for a paper or hard cover book that you can use to enhance your reputation in your field, sell in the back of a room after a speaking engagement, sell at a book event, or show-off to your family and friends that you wrote a real book. People won’t refer to it as a booklet or pamphlet.
If you want a nice easy way to break 60,000 words into digestible chunks, you could shoot for twelve chapters with 5,000 words per chapter. I prefer to write shorter chapters and usually add a few more chapters with about 3,500 words each. While the word count in each chapter should be more even than not, word counts don’t have to be exact.
These days people read nonfiction books out of necessity, they want to read well-written, engaging content, to learn about something or someone in the quickest way possible.
Nobody wants to take a long time to do anything anymore, and even if they wanted to nobody has time to take a long time.
Keep in mind people are used to reading a computer screen’s worth of content on blogs and news sites, and even then, they are skimming and jumping paragraphs.
If you write a book with more than 60,000 words, chances are you will start to add fluff and find yourself repeating the same thing over and over again.
Of course, there are some genres of nonfiction like biographies and history books in which a larger word count works.
I’m reading a nonfiction book now, and it’s driving me batty, because the stories, research studies, and examples shared are overwhelming. I got the point the author was making with the first example, the first story and research studied shared.
In each chapter, this author gives about 25 examples, and it is overkill.
I’ll finish the book because it’s part of the research that I’m doing for another project. The book contains good information although it’s not presented in an interesting way.
Book Writing Game Plan
A game plan for writing a book does not have to be complicated. If you were going to a grocery store to get items to make a new recipe, you would need a list. Without a list, you’d forget items for the recipe.
If you don’t write out a simple game plan that includes goals for writing your book, and a time schedule, it’s likely the book ain’t gonna happen.
A game plan may seem obvious, but the biggest reasons lots of writers have knocked on my door for help is because they’ve started writing without a game plan or an outline and they end up stuck.
Have a look at my simple writing game plan for my latest book. Yep, your game plan can fit on a sticky note.
You’ll notice that I didn’t mention anything about having a book idea. That’s because most writers I work with already have an idea of what they want to write.
I want to write a book about my life.
I want to write a self-help book.
I want to write a memoir.
I want to write a business book.
I want to write a thought leadership book.
I want to write a book that teaches people how to do (fill in the blank).
You have an idea percolating in your head, you just have to get 60,000 words out of your brain and onto paper.
Research and Create an Outline. If this is your first time writing a book, it might also include learning about writing a book.
Research includes reading books and articles on the topic you are writing. Pay close attention to the table of contents in books and study the way that chapters are structured.
If you are writing a book to establish yourself as an expert in your industry, you have material to draw from that you can include in your book. This might include past material from public speaking engagements.
Give each chapter a working title and strive to write a page or more of an outline for each chapter. The more pages you write for your outline will make it feel like the book can practically write itself.
With each chapter, you can include a short summary that describes the chapter. You can include notes and or links made while researching. You can even include what I call “thick paragraphs” which is essentially you writing parts of the book.
Don’t Be Scared of Outlining
My mama says I’ve been writing books since the age of four; I don’t recall any of my literary works from back then, but as early as I can remember I’ve loved writing and hated outlining.
The reason I hated outlining and why many writers do too, is because they learned to outline a long time ago in ways that were boring.
Many writers who hate to outline probably think like I used to – that outlining crushes creativity. It can if you do it the boring way. I discovered an easy way to outline with what I call “thick paragraphs” (writing parts of the book in the outline).
I discovered an easy way to outline with what I call “thick paragraphs”. Thick paragraphs are passages of the book.
Create an outline, not a big bad one, because it’s will greatly increase the chance that you will finish your book.
Month 2 & 3
Write. Shoot for 1,000 words per day for 60 days. Of course, on some days you’ll do more and some days less.
My record is 7,000 words in one day and it was painful, just being real.
There are some people that say writers must write every day. I totally disagree. If you are able to write every day, great! I can’t and don’t write “big stuff” every day. Although, I do write miscellaneous content related to my writing business.
I write consistently enough (not everyday) to achieve goals. Write enough days to make it a habit or to achieve your goals.
Pick a writing schedule that you can stick to to complete your book.
Do you want to write every day? Do you want to write on weekends only? Do you want to write 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening? Take an analysis of your schedule and realistically figure out how over the next four months the days and times you can write 60,000 words.
I know based on working with clients for years that the faster you write your book increases your chances of finishing it.
If you give yourself some leeway, you’ll take it. If you don’t, you won’t. Set your mind complete the writing portion in 2 months.
Don’t think because I’m a writer, sitting down to write doesn’t kick my butt. It does kick my FAT butt. It takes discipline. I have days where I want to say f#%k-it.
The reward for me to keep going is paycheck as a freelancer. The books that I complete for myself bring me great joy and I can cross them off my bucket and not f#%k-it list.
I don’t like crossing stuff off my f#%k-it list because if it’s on that list it I didn’t succeed.
Put the draft away for about a week and then take a week or two in this month to self-edit. Just do the best you can. Read this post for helpful tips.
Feel free to post questions below in the comment section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org