© 2014 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.
If you have ever thought of writing a nonfiction book, this article is for you. If you write nonfiction but have no system, and you often feel frustrated, this article is for you. If you want to get going right now, this month, this article is for you! Today, I’m sharing a brief version of my system for building a nonfiction book, step by step, easily. Spend a few minutes making notes to yourself on each of these steps. You’ll thank me later.
- Identify your overall point, or theme, that you want people to absorb/take up/adopt. Write it down in the simplest terms. This may become your title, and you can use it as a working title for now.
- Start collecting scrap notes on anything to do with your new book. Collect ideas, articles, links, quotes, and names of organizations that your readers may find useful. Use the Notes section of your smartphone to jot down any points or inspirations that come to you, and email them to yourself frequently. If you are pre-computer, write the notes on any slip of paper that comes to hand, put the slips in your pocket, and at home, empty them into one box or drawer.
- Divide your theme into about 7 main points, and write them out in the simplest terms, 5 words or less if possible. Your book will have front matter, an Introduction or Chapter One, a chapter on each of your 7 or so main points or themes, and a closing chapter. Getting excited?
- For your Introduction, identify about 3 main aspects that need to be explained at the beginning of your book. Write them out as simply and clearly as possible. Those are your first three blog topics!
- For each of your chapters, divide the theme into about 3 subthemes, and…you guessed it… write/name them as clearly as possible. For these subchapter titles, shorter and punchier is better. I have a section in Discover The Secret Energized You called “Perk With Coffee”. Now, you have 3 Introduction articles, 7 x 3 or 21 chapter articles, and about 3 articles for your closing chapter. So without expanding further, you now have topics for 27 articles. Now you’re ready to set up your blog.
- Go to WordPress.com, if you don’t have another preference, and sign up, free, for a blog. I recommend WordPress, not only because it is easy to navigate, but because it interfaces very easily with Networked Blogs, other multi-posting apps, and with commenters as they sign in.
I do not like to write. I like to have written.
~ Gloria Steinem
- Name the blog something simple, related to your book title. You are now the proud owner of an authorial neighborhood called, for example, http://BestBananaBaking.wordpress.com. Get your name in the URL if you like. One of mine (this one, internally called “Upbeat Living”) is: https://kebbabutton.wordpress.com . But BestBananaBakingByKebba would be really pointed and memorable.
- Now start scheduling your writing and your posting. Advice varies, but I teach that your articles should be 400-500 words long, plus a “reach the writer” section at the bottom. When I write a health research article, I may need 6 hours. For an article on attitudes, I may only need 2 hours. So notice how long it takes you to write your pieces, and start planning. Can you produce one a day for a month?
- A great way to motivate yourself to get those 27 articles—plus extras you’ll think of—written and posted within a month, using a blog challenge. My favorite is The Ultimate Blog Challenge, found at UltimateBlogChallenge.com. Sign up there, and then you’ll be posting in the group on Facebook. For any blog challenge, you’ll produce one post a day for the entire month. The UBC is already on for October. So if you have a few of your posts almost ready, why not tune them up and jump in?
- In each post, start with your copyright line and a photo in the upper left corner, “medium” size by WordPress standards. Space one or two quotes into your article for visual interest, and a second photo somewhere, to the right, if you like. Feel free to look at my posts, at https://kebbabutton.wordpress.com . That’s my Upbeat Living series. Notice how the formatting pulls through on a Facebook page.
- At the end of the blog challenge, you’ll have the editable material for your book. You can connect those articles and fill in the book from there.
- Then hire a book formatter and/or editor to help you smooth it out.
And voila! You have a book. Production, PR, and distribution come next, but those are further articles. If you have a book in you, or you think you might, why not get going now? It’s your life. And remember:
The only thing that happens if you wait… is you get older.
- Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br), plus the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition(http://tinyurl.com/mqg3uvc). She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister.
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