What I Wish I Had Known Before Writing My First Book

Being a book writer is rewarding in so many ways and especially since you can write a book draft in a month and because there is a plethora of publishing options these days.

In this post, I’m going to share the things I wish I’d had a better understanding of when I wrote and published my first book, and subsequent books for that matter. These days I wouldn’t dare write a book without first doing the things that are mentioned in the tips below, which are in no particular order. If you are currently about to embark on a book writing journey, you’ll find the following tips helpful.

Drumroll please.

Select A Book Type    

There are lots of ways to go about writing a nonfiction book. The easy route from book draft to completed book is to have a clear structure. Picking the right structure for your nonfiction book project helps you better organize thoughts and will make your writing easier.

I’ve mostly written shorter length nonfiction books of around 60K words. There are book structures that quite naturally lend themselves to shorter length books and also to help you shape the framework of the content.

The very first book I wrote is a memoir, still unpublished.  With that book I picked a structure, but with subsequent books I did not per se.  I state that because I didn’t identify the type of book it was, but I did read lots of books and identified several to which I wanted a similar structure. Doing it that way was OK, because you want to read books like the one you wish to write. But you’ll find it more helpful to pick a book type if writing nonfiction, , or a book genre if writing fiction.

Picking a book type will serve as the best guide to write a book.

Determine How Many Words Your Book Should Be    

When I started writing my still unpublished memoir in 2009. I had no idea what a memoir word count should be

A shorter length memoir has a word count of about 60K. A longer length memoir has a word count of 90K. The word count of my memoir is 27K. There are many shorter published memoirs out there of around 25K. There is also longer memoirs that exceeds 90K.  However, they are written by well-known authors or famous people. I believe authors should learn what’s acceptable, learn the rules and then break them as they see fit.

You’ll want to determine book length so that it serves as a guide for book completion. You might also want to determine the average chapter length, because you want the average word count per page to be more even then not.  I recently ghostwrote a 60K book for a client. I think I wrote 15 chapters with just under 4K words per chapter.

In regards to book word count, imagine going on a road trip from one state to another and not knowing the distance you’ll have to travel. You’ll face so many uncertainties and not know how to properly prepare. That’s what it feels like when you start writing a book and don’t research average book lengths for your type of book. You’ll feel lost and uncertain.

Picked a Target Audience     

With each book I had an idea of my target audience, so I didn’t screw that up too bad or get it terribly wrong. Although I wish I had niched down a bit further with a few of the earlier books. As it pertains to my books on outlining I have a clearly defined target audience, being those who want to write and publish books in the New writing and digital self-publishing universe. It took quite a while before I was able to clearly define my target audience with the outline book. Years of helping clients first through freelance sites and later through my own website helped me to define that my book was for those who want to write books of around 60K and self-publish.

When you write you want to properly define your reader. I’m sorry your book is not for everyone. There may be components of the book that appeal to a broader audience and it might be OK for anyone to read it. However, to maximize the books success you’ll want to define an audience profile.

Create A Book Outline    

Outline. Outline. Outline. I so yearned to write that I just started writing a book. I disliked the way I’d learn to outline in school and skipped the process altogether. It wasn’t until the only freelance work I could find was creating outlines, that I discovered creating an outline did not have to be big, bad and boring. I created an outline process that combined the simple book outline with what I call thick paragraphs. I call it the thick paragraphs outline process. It’s an easy process that does not make you hate your book before you start writing.  I think you’ll find my process standalone simple.  No mind map or book outline software needed.

When you create an outline, you save time. Because you have a guide to the direction of your project you won’t waste time staring at the blank page.

Learn How Amazon’s Algorithm Works     

Amazon ain’t the only game in town, but as the largest book retailer it is worth knowing what rings amazon’s algorithm bell and helps Amazon promote your books to its customers, thus helping you sell more books.

I wish I’d known even a little about Amazon’s algorithm and how it promotes books.  If you can show Amazon the exact type of person who will love your book, they can show your book to targeted readers, increasing your chances of readers buying your book.

The key is to give Amazon several hundred sales to a highly targeted audience. In other words, your audience. You can read more about Amazon’s algorithm here.

Imagine having Amazon help sell your book for you.

Discover the New Writing and Digital Publishing Universe             

The New Writing and Digital Publishing Universe simply means modern times where there are books, eBooks, and reading on electronic devices, and in which reading time is trending downwards.

Here’s what goes on in modern times as it pertains to writing and book publishing.

Indie authors are pumping out full-length, high-quality books in a month, publishing even faster and having six figure months. If you can write and publish a high-quality book fast, you might not have six figure months, but you certainly can earn money from your writing.

Even if you decide this fast-paced digital universe is not for you, and you must take a lifetime to write your book and also a lifetime to find a traditional publisher, you’ll still want to learn more about this universe since it is an alternative route for writers to fulfill their writing and publishing dreams.

You’ll find this post on book structures covers the new writing and digital publishing universe perfectly.

There you have it folks everything I wish I’d known. If you are thinking about writing a book, what do you feel is important to know upfront?  If you’ve written a book, what tips do you wish you’d known ?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

To learn more about me and my book writing journey, explore this blog.

Questions fbk@fbkwrites.com