You might dream about writing a book, to be a published author and make millions. How to write a book, is it hard? Well, not really – I would say. I can share a few tips about my process, but I can’t tell you how to sell it and how to make millions.
I wrote my book ‘cos I wanted to share my experience and give back something to society. How to write a book – level 1.0
Don’t listen to your inner hater.
“C’mon. This guy wrote a book? In two languages and actually, published it back home and worldwide? He’s not even native, he’s making lots of grammar mistakes, his book must be a joke. Probably his book is just a piece of crap.”
It was me and a few other pals I knew. Funny thing is, most of the people encouraged me to pursue it and it was me and my inner hater who was telling me that I can’t do it. It’s pretty fucked up that we are very harsh about our capabilities and dreams. First of all, I had to kill my inner hater. Rest is just a history.
Have story to share? Probably other people experiencing this as well.
I will start with my story. I came to the UK in 2005… It doesn’t actually matter. Around seven years ago our son got diagnosed with autism and developmental delay. It changed me, it changed my fatherhood, it changed the course of my future and pushed me to reach for more, to be a better dad. Do you think this would be a good story to share with others? Think, if you are going through some shit or went through in your past, there is a huge chance that someone went through the same or will be dealing with the same feelings – your journey might help them, might be inspiring or it will save them. If it will help one person, it’s worth it. Even if writing it will help you – this is more than you can ask for.
Don’t focus on big ideas. Collect moments.
Some time ago, before I started to write my first book ( wrote two so far) I was looking into best possible tips for writing and I came across a simple strategy to get ideas for chapters. It’s writing short notes as you would write text messages – with a major idea about chapter – like a bullet point system.
- A chapter with heavy entry, about me being locked in a psychiatric ward – overview of crisis
- The day that everything changed – introduction to situation and major changes
- A recollection of previous life journey – talk about school, upbringing and your thoughts.
and so on, another 20 or 30 chapters, all depending of your story
This would help me to organise it, and it will help me to see through it easily without writing long chapters, I have been writing it on my phone, without even expanding it much. I have done most of my chapters this way. Funny enough, I still have it on my phone. When I reached a satisfying amount of chapters and I was able to see the whole journey, swap chapters around, see the bigger picture of my book I started to slowly see a scaffolding of my first proper book.
Take your time and be kind to yourself.
Your story is personal, it might bring painful memories, open old wounds and make you depressed and anxious. From my experience, I know that things can get tricky. Take some breaks, be kind to yourself, be aware of your emotions. I decided to write my book for a few reasons and with few thoughts on my mind. I needed to pour all these emotions out, almost as: Out of sight, out of the heart.
It was my own therapeutic method or you could call it a self-care. I just wanted to get all of this out of my mind, on the hard drive and close this chapter, move on and be happy with what I can give away. I knew that I need this, to be able to move forward. Nonetheless, I worked with my therapist during this process to be safe and not to push myself to deep. Each story is different, each person is different and our resilience and limits are different. Don’t compare yourself to anyone, be ok with who you are and who you become due to your life experience. Be kind. Be safe.
This is so crucial, reading and listening to audiobooks will expand your knowledge and will give you more tools. Read similar books, with similar stories, be inspired and be brave to look into others work – this book helped me a lot. Steal like an artist.
Go with the flow.
Don’t pressure yourself, when you will feel like this is not your day, don’t worry. It will be ok. Approach each chapter as a one-off, choose different ones, don’t write your book from the first chapter to the last. Flow doesn’t work this way, not for me, anyway. Write different chapters until you feel that it’s done. You will feel it, this satisfaction is unforgettable. It took me a few good months to get together my chapters and have this bullet point chapters sorted. Probably close to a year, to feel satisfied with whole chapters ideas and feeling of – this is it. Let’s do his.
To be honest with you, it took me six weeks to write everything. I was writing my book in any possible moments, at night when my kids were asleep, early in the morning before the whole house woke up, sometimes in my bed on my phone, sometimes on my laptop. Sometimes I was waking up in the middle of the night with another chapter idea or some ideas of changes to the structure of my book, so I was sending myself texts or emails half asleep with it to make sure I will remember it in the morning. Crazy, but writers fever works this way. I was losing the concept of time and sometimes I didn’t sleep much.
Find editor and pay for his/her work.
Six weeks to write it down, but this is just the beginning. After I had to find someone to do editing, my writing skills are poor, well back then I didn’t write much, I was doing mainly college work and writing stupid Facebook statuses. Trust me, but I can tell you now, with writing is like with driving a car. You need to get used to it, you will get better at it, you will enjoy it with time more and more. I started my blog to develop my writing skills and support others/ to have my place to share opinions. I would suggest for you, to do the same. To have another platform to practice, sometimes even without pressing – publish button.
I am far away from being even a decent writer, English is my second language but I write, to get better.
Find an editor, agree to a price and wait patiently for his job to be done. Ask for suggestions, opinion, asked also about the best chapters in his opinion as this will be good to include in publishers or press submissions. Use knowledge of the editor and his guidance. Be able to accept any constructive criticism and think about it without being in a huff. You pay for help.
Focus on text, not on cover or pictures first.
As I mentioned, pictures, cover, visual effects are the least on your mind. Book will need to be decent text-wise, your story needs to stick out, be whole. Rest it’s just not really important, but you don’t have to agree with me. Share your story and be proud of it. My first book was published in Poland first, for obvious reasons. I got one of the biggest publishers interested in my story. I didn’t have to spend a penny on design, cover and so on. When we translated our book to English I paid myself for proper editorial services and decided to go for self-publishing via Amazon. Obviously I am an owner of copyrights and it’s for me to decide how to deal with publishers or self-publishing.
When my book came out back in Poland I had no promotion done, just my blog and word of mouth. I sold 2500 books and I am happy with that. If you look to sell millions of books and be bestseller author I can’t help you, but on youtube, you will find many tips how to help your book to get noticed and be successful at self-publishing.
Try to develop a natural habit of checking back your own text. Read it again and again, come back to each chapter after a few days and read it.
Use online tools like Grammarly and Hemingway Editor, don’t be shy about it, no one is perfect and we all can get better by using these tools. I noticed that I got better, my first blog posts are proof of it, even that I got still a long way to go. But you know what? I wasn’t born here, English is not my first language and I accomplished so much despite everything.
Be proud and try to get better each day – this is good enough for me, should be good enough for you too. If this post will inspire you, please feel free to send me your book to read. I will read it.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s do this. Check out amazing storyteller and published author Tim Porteus