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Getting Your Self Published Book Written

Any Way You Can

Writing a book is monstrous! We start with what we think is a great idea and begin writing. Soon we realize this new thing is out of control. Or maybe youíre better at organizing than I am. Hereís how I solve the problem.

What's The Purpose of Your Book

First I make sure Iím really clear on the purpose of the book.

 Often my initial cut at writing a purpose will need to change sometime during the first writing, but it gives me something to chew against. Iíve been known to put a copy of the purpose at the top of every page.

The Working Table of Contents

When Iím working on a non-fiction book, I dope out what I call Working Table of Contents. Initially, itís simply a list of what I think the major topics of the book will be. These arenít necessarily chapters, just areas I know I want to cover.

Next, I'll take a stab at writing at least a few sentences under each entry. Sometimes the writing will begin to flow and I just go for a draft chapter, but usually I have to work on Chapter Titles first.

Create Great Chapter Titles

After pacing around with those ideas for awhile, which might be an hour or a month, I take a stab at creating actual chapter titles.

I try to write great chapter titles because I know they really help in marketing, but if I canít think of anything pithy or interesting, I settle for the mundane and keep on writing.

Then, under each Chapter Title, I write phrases, sentences, etc. that help me know what each chapter will contain. Hereís an example, using my ebook, You Can Make Money Writing eBooks as an example:

  1. Why Write an Ebook?
    Money, control, residual income, easy, new editions, fun
  2. How to Choose a Topic
    Almost anything will work, write what you know, finding the market
  3. Getting It Written
    Research, outlines, working contents, sticking with it.

 Etc., etc., etc.

This all sounds more organized than it actually is. Sometimes Iíll get most of a chapter drafted before I do much with a Working Table of Contents. Often, particularly in the beginning, what I think will be a single chapter will turn out to be two or even three. Reordering chapters seems to go on constantly, again, particularly in the beginning.

So why do I use a Working Table of Contents at all? Because itís the only way I can keep on track and not feel hopelessly lost in pages of manuscript.

By the way, I use Wordís ability to generate Contents by using Headings 1, 2, 3, etc. Then I can compare where I actually am to where I thought I would be. (See also Handling Long Manuscripts.)

Sure, some folks are really good at thinking a book through before they start. I have a coaching client who has the most detailed outlines I think he will almost be able just to recast each entry into a sentence or two, provide transitions and heíll be done.

Like so much in the freelance writing game, thereís more than one, two, or a dozen ways to get something done.

Write well, and often.



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Email Anne: Anne@AboutFreelanceWriting.com

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