Yasmin Walter of KMD Books is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur, international bestselling author and modern publisher based in Australia.
Are you an experienced professional who is ready to share your knowledge with the world? Writing a book is an ideal way to get your expert thoughts distributed to a wider audience. And guess what: Writing a book doesn’t have to be complicated!
It’s common for professionals just starting the book-writing process to have questions like, “Will I have enough content to fill a book?” or “Will anyone even want to read this?” But if you’re good at what you do and have led by example, people will want to read about how you did it. Size doesn’t matter; whether your book is 1,000 pages or 100 pages, the main goal of writing a thought leader book is to open and investigate a known problem or situation and close it in a meaningful way, whether you’re offering solutions or providing new perspectives. And if you feel like you don’t have enough content, you can even invite guest authors to share their knowledge, as well.
With that in mind, here is my six-step, sure-fire process to help get you from idea to printed copy.
1. Create the storyboard.
Decide what angle you are going with. Is your book going to be a first-person biography? A technical step-by-step guide? An anthology with shared opinions? A workbook with actionable lessons? Think about your audience and what format they would want to consume their content in. Then, create a draft contents page, outlining your chapters and giving a brief description of what each chapter entails. I like to refer to this as the “messy draft.”
2.Write your book.
Now that you are clear about each chapter’s inclusion, delve into more detail. Don’t get too pedantic about spelling or grammar—just allow the literature to flow. Keep the language appropriate for the topic and don’t overwrite. People typically want to read about your expert advice without too much additional fluff, so get straight to the point.
If you’re having trouble getting your thoughts down on paper (or computer), a great tip my mentor shared with me for when you are faced with writer’s block is to record yourself talking about the subject, as if you were in a conversation with someone, and then transcribe it.
3. Get editing.
It’s often best to leave this to professionals with fresh eyes. By this time, you will likely have read your book over a hundred times, so you’ll be reading what you are anticipating the words to say. Appointing a copywriter to your project can allow more opportunities for errors to be rectified.
It’s crucial to be patient; this is a long process. Rushing this part may lead to print errors. Trust me, that’s not a pleasant experience for anyone.
4. Time to format your book.
It’s time to bring it all together. Create a draft layout for the text, images and pagination. Ensure the flow of the content stays consistent. Remember to make it easy to consume, visually appealing and not too cluttered—space is good! Stay focused on the readers’ experience.
5. Find your style.
Decide on a style that suits your story and your target audience. Create a moodboard as inspiration for your graphic designer to produce your book cover options. It’s always a good idea to have alternative covers to choose from. Your graphic designer is also responsible for collating the chapters with your draft format to prepare your book for print.
6. Okay, you’re ready to print.
Do a mock-up print before you sign off on your bulk print. This will be your final chance to make any changes. I like to read mine out loud very slowly, word for word. You can also send it to a few people to get more fresh eyes on it.
Tips For Productive Writing
You are embarking on an exciting, yet challenging, journey to share your business expertise with other professionals. Hold yourself accountable and establish a writing schedule. Unless you are hibernating or indulging in a writer’s retreat, the best way to maintain realistic goals and nurture a relationship with writing in everyday life is to take into account your pre-existing schedule.
I recommend you create word count goals based on weekly or monthly sessions. Your word count will be determined by deadlines, your level of authorship and your lifestyle requirements. It’s also important to create a distraction-free writing space, meaning no social media, phone, emails or even people (especially if you have kids).
Rewarding yourself for meeting goals is a great way to keep your interest in the project. And don’t be too hard on yourself; it’s okay if you miss one or two sessions here or there because life got in the way. But don’t lose sight of the end goal.
The beauty about creating a book (and a thought I often share with authors) is that having writing experience isn’t essential. Many established authors started with no writing experience. Unlike an academic university essay, you get to write in your tone, your style and with your own opinion. If writing a book has been on your bucket list but you’re feeling hesitant or don’t know where to start, I recommend you just start! Write as if you were having a conversation with someone. You will be amazed by how the words will just start to flow.