The year is marching on … as in way too fast. Are you still thinking about writing a book? How about revising the one you have? Could you be thinking about doing an update? Or just getting across the finishing line?
If you want to transition from a wannabe author to the real thing … it is totally possible before the year ends … and definitely for gulp, the year 2024.
Are you a snoozer? Are you looking for the perfect phrase, word, or idea? Are you stuck? Wouldn’t getting unstuck and moving forward be a fantastic goal for the end of the year and the beginning of next. Have you been snoozing when it comes to your book? Maybe this is the day, the week, the month, the year when your book becomes a success or the new one is no longer in your dreams or chatter … it becomes a reality.
Is there a book in you? Most think there is. And most don’t get them out. You could have the makings of a fantastic novel, a creative young adult series, and exquisitely illustrated young children’s stories. Cookbooks, health, space, romance, intrigue, how-to, or business books may be lurking in your creative closet.
You just may be able to take your career to a whole new level with the creation of a book. Adding to your professional credentials, if done right, could position you as an expert in a specific field. A book could take you to a whole new level, a different type of professional business card. Amazing doors can open with a book in hand.
Many wannabe authors, speakers, or whatever, practice the art of one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, three to get ready, three to get ready … and they never go. They keep reaching for one more thing; one more piece of information; another interview; another who knows what. Sometimes, it’s just another excuse. Their book never gets written, much less published. Their quest for the perfect book has become the enemy of creating a good book, even a great book.
Perfection and Procrastination are joined at the hip. Break the bond and move forward today.
Step 1: Choose a spot … any spot that is yours and yours alone. It’s the “Do Not Cross … Author at Work” spot. Authors need their space and time. Space will contain all the ingredients you need to support you. Think computer, phone— if necessary, pens, pencils, paper, files with reference items that you’ve collected, notes you’ve saved or made to support your topic, other reference books, or a favorite snack. I confess—I’ve written an entire book with M&Ms and Cheetos being the reward each time I finished a chapter, beverage of choice, toys, etc. Your space. Claim it and let others know that when you are in your space, it’s a “Do Not Disturb … Author at Work” sanctuary.
Find time. Some authors must work specific hours; others are more loosey-goosey. Do what works for you but do it.
Step 2: Just do it … even if what you get down looks like gibberish. Is it a cliché? Nope, it’s a start. You can’t move forward to publication until you’ve got some words. So, dump them out. Think of it as a giant puzzle. Sometimes just finding all the edges takes time. As in a puzzle, colors begin to gather, segments within it come together, and it does come together if you persevere. The more you organize your thoughts, stories, stats, and general info, the better it is when it comes to the first dump. The general topic, sub-topics, and stories/facts/stats to support the topic all go into magic piles.
Where and how you choose to “dump” is your choice. You may write all by hand … if you have been procrastinating or dragging your feet—it’s best to bypass this method and pick up the latest version of Dragon’s Naturally Speaking; download it to your computer. Put on a headset with a mic and start talking—your words are transcribed in the program into a Word document. Or you can glue yourself to a favorite spot and just start writing—kickstart your creative juices.
Step 3: Get help. You may need book coaching to goose you. You may need to get the big picture in a place where you can see the book, even virtually feel what it will look like. Do you know your title … or do you need some help in creating it? Don’t be surprised, titles often change as writing progresses. If it’s firm, a mockup of a cover might be the visual encouragement that keeps you going. All authors need editors who edit for a living. Your editor isn’t a friend or sister, although they can be readers.
Plan on engaging other professionals who create books—interiors and exteriors. Will illustrations or cartoons enhance your work? Unless you are a pro in book design, book covers, illustrations, etc., don’t turn your book into a DIY project.
Step 4: Make up your mind. It’s a new year. As an author—or one to be—what’s it going to be for you—your first book? A new book? A workbook for a class you would like to teach? How about an audio program? Do you see a video version of your book or creating Exercises and Projects for readers to use and enjoy? The paths you choose can be multiple, which makes it exciting for the author. You.
Your book can do amazing things … you need to bring the amazing you to the party and invite the pros in for the journey.
Dr. Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. Often, she must roll up her writing sleeves and become a Book Doctor, juicing up storylines and author words. She empowers authors and works directly with authors who want to be seriously successful and has been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 44 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms, Snappy Sassy Salty: Success for Authors and Writers, and How to Create a Million Dollar Speech. Her personal memoir When God Says NO-Revealing the YES When Adversity and Loss Are Present is a #1 bestseller on Amazon and her historical fiction debut Secret Journey. Collectively, her books have earned over 45 book awards. Judith speaks throughout the year at publishing conferences.
Throughout the year, she holds Judith Briles Book Unplugged in-person and online experiences: Publishing, Speaking, Marketing, and Social Media. All are two-day intensives limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. Join Judith live for the “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” podcast on the Toginet Radio Network HERE.
Follow @AuthorUYOUBooks and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorYOU, and join the Facebook group Book Publishing with The Book Shepherd. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact her.
©2023 Judith Briles – The Book Shepherd™ All Rights Reserved.