Note: Post may contain affiliate links.

How to Write a Book [the Easy Way]

You don’t need to be a writer to write a book, you just need a process

Everyone has a book idea in them. How many times have you thought to yourself, “That would make a great book. I should write that.” There’s something deep in us all to share our life experiences and what we know.

So why aren’t there more books written?

The problem is, somewhere along the way, people got the impression you had to be a ‘writer’ to write a book. They think you have to be a salty old man with a beard and a glass of scotch to write a book.

If you’ve ever written an email, a social media update or directions on a post-it note…you’re a writer. You’ve got what it takes to write a book.

Writing a full book is just organizing your idea beyond a few notes. I’ll cover a simple process to organizing and writing out your book then some writing exercises to develop your skills.

how to write a book for amazon

3 Rules that Will Make Writing Easy

We’ll get to the process I’ve used to write ten self-published books but three rules will keep you on track and guarantee your success.

  • Organize your book research and content. The more organized you are with outlines for each chapter, the easier it will be to write everything out.
  • Stay motivated. Have clearly defined short-term goals like writing a chapter a week to motivate you with forward progress. Connect with another author or group to support and motivate each other.
  • Treat it like a job. Schedule time to write every single day and ignore all distractions while you’re writing.

The Writing Process

The misconception about writing is that it comes from inspiration. People think professional writers are somehow magically inspired and just sit down at the computer from which the words flow.

Admittedly, Stephan King and John Grisham aren’t in my circle of close friends. Maybe this is how it works for the masterminds of literature…but not for the vast majority of authors. For most authors, it’s all about the process.

The writing process is a simple step-by-step to understanding what you want to write about and putting the words on the page as efficiently as possible. It’s the process I’ve used to write ten books and every author I know uses some form of this method.

Understanding Your Purpose

These first two steps of the process will largely be done in your research for the book. Understanding your purpose just means knowing the transformation you want to drive in your readers. What is the ultimate goal of your book, how do you want readers to grow from it.

With the transformation in mind, you can work backwards through each step to reach it.

Understanding Your Reader

Not only do you need to understand the transformation you want readers to achieve, but understand why they want to achieve it. That means understanding your reader, who they are and where they come from.

  • At what level of information are your readers coming from? Writing for novices will mean something differently than if you assume your readers already have some level of knowledge in the subject.
  • Why do readers want to achieve the transformation? What motivates them, what are the basic needs that drive them? Neglect these questions and your readers will lack the motivation to finish the book.
  • What are your readers’ major obstacles to starting and achieving the transformation? Where are the biggest roadblocks within the process? Knowing this can help you add more detail where needed to make sure your readers don’t get stuck.

Outlining Each Chapter

After all your research and notes around your book idea, you’re likely to have pages of what will look like a jumbled mess for each chapter. Trying to write from this is just going to be frustrating chaos.

Your next step is to organize all your notes into an outline for each chapter. That starts with writing out the main idea for each chapter, each section heading then the notes that apply to each. For example, here’s the start of my outline for this chapter. For brevity, I’ve removed some of the detail but you can still see how everything is lined up in manageable chunks.

book outline example

Just as with working backwards from your transformation to each step a reader needs to take, you can use this idea in each chapter as well. What steps do your reader need to take to progress on to the next chapter.

Breaking your book into chapters, then into main points for each chapter and sections, you can see how much easier it is to write it out. You know exactly what you want to say and each section might only be half a page. I like to aim for at least ten pages per chapter, that’s about 2,000 words for a standard 6×9 formatted book. That’s not a strict rule and just writing out from your outline, you’re likely to go well over 10 pages anyway.

Adding Stories, Anecdotes and Examples

Stories and examples are critical to the success of your book. Readers can go anywhere for the information. What makes your book special is the first-hand and personal experience you share. Adding stories and examples to your book will make it more interesting and relatable for readers.

Writing out your book, many of these stories will happen naturally. Humans are natural story-tellers. It’s how we’ve evolved, passing down information through personal experiences and triumphs.

But you should also go back through your book, after your first draft, to find places to include more of these anecdotes. That’s how critical they are to your book. Again, there’s no rule that you need a story every chapter but I like to try including one. Whether it’s to relate important points, inspire or help readers through the most difficult concepts, a good story can bring your book to life.

A Writing Strategy to Sell More Books

I’ve referred to my self-publishing strategy for bloggers a few times but wanted to detail it in a separate section. This strategy works on so many levels and really makes writing easy. It will not only become your best source for book marketing but will keep you on schedule to publish.

  • Write out each chapter as a blog post, once a week. This sets a reasonable pace and keeps you on schedule.
  • Promote each blog post on social media, through your email list and ask for feedback on how the post can be improved.
  • When all your chapters are done, combine them into one document. Remove any references to blog posts and read through to make sure the story flows naturally from chapter to chapter.
  • Revise and add content to each chapter according to feedback and anything you’ve learned through the process.
  • After your book is published, add a paragraph or two into each blog post about the book and include a link to your Amazon page.

Not only will the strategy keep you on schedule but it’s a stress-free way to develop each chapter. Nobody expects a blog post to be perfect so you can write out your chapters first and then refine them before publishing. You’ll also get some great feedback from readers on each chapter so you make sure you hit every point.

Writing Exercises to Develop Your Skills

I can show you the entire process to researching and putting together a book but a lot of successful writing is about practice and knowing what to practice. I’ve edited and republished old blog posts and old books several times because I’ve never stopped practicing to become a better writer.

Not only will the writing exercises here help you develop your skills but they will also help organize and plan your book. Each of these exercises should be at least a page or two so try writing out as much detail as possible.

1) The why of your book. Write out a plan for your book, why do you want to write it and the goals you want to help readers achieve.

  • Will your book help readers do something or accomplish something?
  • What do readers need to be successful in the subject?
  • What do you want to share with your readers, emotionally or analytically?
  • Is your book meant to get someone started or to help advanced readers in the subject?

This writing exercise will help you with organization and writing out a process. By the time you’re done, you should have a good idea of outline and your book’s value to readers.

2) Write out two avatars for your target readers. This means writing out a biography of two types of readers that are most likely to buy your book.

  • Where are they at in their lives? Are they young adults looking for direction? Are they older readers looking for something new? Do they just want to escape into another reality for a few hours?
  • What demographics define your reader? (location, age, gender, income, educational level, religion, ethnicity, marital status)
  • What is your reader thinking? Why do they want to learn about the subject? What are the questions they have about it? How important is it to them, as a hobby or as a job?

There are a few ways to research some of these points.

  • Search Reddit within categories around your topic. Reddit is an answer and conversation platform categorized around subjects. It’s a great resource for finding the most common questions people have and perspectives in a topic.
  • Search for internet forums on the topic. This will also show you common questions and discussion points.
  • Do a Google search for questions and keywords around your topic. Besides just reading articles in the results, Google might also display other questions to consider in the “People also ask,” section.
  • If you have a blog or know someone with a blog in the topic, you can look at Google Analytics to see demographic data around visitors.

You don’t necessarily need data to support all of this. Part of the exercise is thinking creatively to build a reader persona. Write out something like a two-page biography of their life with everything that led them to your book.

This exercise develops empathy for your reader, putting yourself in their shoes and understanding what they need from your book.

3) Devil’s advocate. Non-fiction writers need to be able to give their readers every perspective and a fair assessment of the subject. This means being able to think objectively about the topic rather than only relying on your own opinions and perception.

Pick two topics about which you feel strongly, maybe about a political ideology or a social cause. Write out two pages arguing for the other perspective, the side of the argument you wouldn’t normally support.

This is probably going to take some research. You could write out your own viewpoint easily but may not know as much about the other side’s argument. Don’t assume you know the other side, do a Google search and read through a few articles.

Don’t just go through the motions on this one. Really try to convince someone in your writing to take the other side of the topic.

You’ll want to use this level of objective writing into your book research as well. This exercise will help develop that mentality to give your readers both sides and every perspective on the subject.

4) Learning to teach. Non-fiction writers need to be able to teach, from the simplest of tasks to detailing long and complicated processes.

Pick two tasks, one that is simple and another that would be complicated for most people. Create a step-by-step process for each task, detailing everything a reader new to the subject would need.

If you can, find someone with no knowledge of the tasks to read through your guide. If they can perform the tasks then you did a good job of teaching. Ask them questions about the tasks to make sure they understand completely.

This exercise helps to develop your process writing and teaching skills.

5) Telling the story. Even non-fiction writers need to tell stories. A personal story around the topic will help your readers relate to the material and see how it unfolds in real life.

First, tell your own story. Pick a day or an event in your life and write out your auto-biography.

  • How did you feel and how did the day change your life?
  • Be dramatic in your story. Describe your emotions and those of the people around you. Use descriptive adjectives to bring the story to life.
  • Touch on as many emotions as possible including humor, fear and surprise.

Next, go somewhere public and pick out someone you don’t know. Jot down a few things you notice about them; what they’re wearing, their way of walking and carrying themselves. Write out a story about them and their day. Remember, you don’t really know this person so be creative and just make up a story.

Not only will this exercise help to develop your creativity but it will also help practice making your book relatable through personal stories.

Getting More from Your Book

That gives you a process for writing your book and getting published. I’ve got a few more ideas on how to get the most from your book, how to make a little more money and create a community.

These ideas all involve adding links and special sections into your book’s content. It takes almost no additional effort but can go a long way to getting more from your book.

  • Add a page highlighting an additional handout or checklist free for downloading. Link to a landing page where the reader can download the handout by signing up to an email list. One of the biggest shortcomings of Amazon is you have no idea who bought your book. This gives you a list of readers to remarket for other books and products.
  • Reference affiliate products with a link throughout the book where appropriate and in a resources page at the end. If someone clicks through and makes a purchase, you get a commission on the sale.
  • Add a link to your own products and other books on the resources page.

It doesn’t take a special gift to write a book, just a plan and a little practice. You may never be as successful as J.K. Rowling or as well-known as Shakespeare but you can easily make a lot of money self-publishing. Follow this proven process and writing exercises to put your ideas to words. Stay on schedule by blogging your chapters and you’ll be on track to publish in less than a few months.

Sharing is caring!

Comments

  1. Joseph,

    My name is Kaidan Mickelsen. I just wanted to let you know that I randomly found you on YouTube about 6 months ago and have since watched many of your videos, read several of your blog articles and subscribed to your emailing list. I am a huge fan of your work, you have inspired me, educated me, and helped me help so many other people. I am currently working on building a blog, as well as writing a book centered on helping military members find wealth in there lives. I am truly grateful to have discovered you, and thought you might appreciate that knowledge. Thank you.

    Sincerely
    Kaidan Mickelsen

Speak Your Mind

*