Before you begin writing a book, it’s crucial to ask yourself why. Without a clear understanding of the purpose of your book, it’s difficult to make it stand out from the thousands that are published each day. But there are two sides to that question: why you want to write the book and why someone else would want to read it. Understanding both sides of that coin is crucial if you want to both get your message across and ensure that there’s someone on the other end to receive it.
Writing can be daunting, especially if you’re unsure of your skill level or have never written something as long as a book. An editor or ghostwriter can provide support, accountability, and guidance through the publishing process.
Once you’ve finished your first draft, you will likely still have a few things missing before your book is complete. While the manuscript moves through the editorial process, you can focus on seeking endorsements (praise for the book from celebrities, other authors, and fellow experts), thanking anyone who helped along the way, and tidying up loose ends.
Some of these extra pieces are very similar; for example, what’s the difference among a foreword, a preface, and an introduction? We’ve assembled a list of the potential elements of your book, in the order they’ll appear in the final publication.
Questions about the editing process are natural—especially if you are a first-time author. You may be wondering about your editor and what will happen to the manuscript you’ve worked so hard on. Who is this person, and what are they going to do to my book?
Your editor’s motivations are much the same as yours: to make your book the best it can be. Don’t worry: She doesn’t want to stifle your voice; she wants to help you be heard.
After you’ve decided to write a book and you know what your message is, you might find yourself wondering How will I know I’m ready to submit?
At Greenleaf, we receive manuscripts in varying stages of completion. Sometimes, authors have a manuscript that just needs a little polishing before publication. Some authors have a strong outline and know who their audience is. Others come to us with merely an idea. No matter where your project is in its development, the editorial team at Greenleaf can help you ready your ideas for publication.
Once you’ve committed to writing a book, the task of creating enough material to anchor your ideas and build out a two-hundred-something-page work can seem daunting, to say the least. However, if you’re a thought leader in your field and have committed to bringing your ideas to the world in other mediums or modes of communication, you may be further along in the process than you realize.
If you have already written or spoken about the core themes you hope to emphasize in your book—in blog posts, speeches, or even social media, as just a few examples—your first order of business may not be creating new material but, instead, simply gathering the material already at your fingertips. More likely than not, this process will help you not only to determine and emphasize which themes are most important but also to discover your voice, your audience, and so much more.
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A book is a conversation between an author and their readers. Many people dream of writing a book, but how do you know if you’re really ready to start working on your book? To start a conversation, you have to know what you want to say.
Thinking about your project like a discussion can help you tackle some of the biggest challenges you face when you start writing: Determining your message, your audience, and your market is essential before you begin. Asking yourself three questions will let you know it’s time to start talking… err, writing.
- What Do I Want to Say?
- Why Does It Need to Be Said by Me?
- Why Does It Need to Be Said Now?
Many people dream of someday writing a book, but without a clear message and plan of action very few will even write the first word. Here are some tips on how to start writing a book from an editor with more than a decade of publishing-industry experience and hundreds of manuscripts under her belt.