Practical Steps: From Book Idea To Reality

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Writing a book can feel like putting together a 10,000 piece puzzle…

Where do you start? What are the pieces you need to consider? What will it look like when it’s all done?

When you buy a puzzle in a box you have the picture of the end product right in front of you. And if you’re like me, you start with pulling out all the pieces that make up the border of the puzzle. Then piece-by-piece, you put it together.

Writing a book isn’t so straightforward.

Overwhelm can set in when you think about all the pieces to put together: Who is your book for? What is the message of your book? How will you organize it? How will you market it? Who will publish it?

Don’t let overwhelm overtake you!

Instead, take a deep breath and read the article below to discover specific steps you can take to move forward with your book, word by word.

First, start by acknowledging where you’re at right now. 

Which one of these best describes you?

  1. You know the ONE idea you’re going to write your book about.
  2. You have SO MANY IDEAS you don’t know which one to focus on.
  3. You know you want to write a book but you’re not yet sure about what.

By acknowledging this, you have a starting point. And when you have a starting point, you begin to see the path ahead of you.

So what are the best next steps to take based on where you’re at right now? 

If you have one idea, read this.

If you have many ideas, read this.

If you have no idea where to start, read this.

You know the ONE idea you’re going to write your book about.

Congratulations!

Now you may be wondering, how do you turn your one idea into an entire book? Takes these steps:

Step 1: Brainstorm 4 “Main Topics” related to your idea

Step 2: Then brainstorm 3 “Mini Topics” within each Main Topic

Let’s say I’m writing a book about “How To Teach Your Dog To Surf.”

Using Steps 1 & 2 above, my draft outline might look like this:

Main Topic #1: Why Teach Your Dog To Surf?

Mini Topic #1: Bond With Your Dog

Mini Topic #2: Overcome Obedience Issues

Mini Topic #3: Stress Relief For You & Your Dog

Main Topic #2: Getting Started

Mini Topic #1: Is Your Dog A Good Candidate For Surfing?

Mini Topic #2: The Best Surfboard To Use

Mini Topic #3: Additional Gear You’ll Need

Main Topic #3: Training

Mini Topic #1: Your Dog & The Surfboard

Mini Topic #2: Your Dog & The Water

Mini Topic #3: Your Dog On The Board In The Water

Main Topic #4: Safety

Mini Topic #1: Warnings

Mini Topic #2: Dealing With Distractions In The Water

Mini Topic #3: What To Do If THIS Happens

See how easy (and fun) it can be to take the next steps with your one book idea?

Now it’s your turn.

What are the 4 Main Topics related to your book idea?

What are 3 Mini Topics related to each Main Topic?

When you take these two steps you create a draft table of contents for your book. Wahoo! Now you have a map for how to move forward with your writing.

Your next step? Take one mini-topic at a time and write about it.

Write on!

You have SO MANY IDEAS you don’t know which one to focus on.

When you have many ideas for a book it can feel like pieces from several different puzzles are all dumped together on one table. Where do you start?

You lasso them!

Say what?

Ranchers commonly use a lasso (a rope with a noose on the end) to catch cattle or horses. We’re going to use the concept of a lasso to “catch” your ideas into different groups. This will help you see which ideas fit together as different sections for one book and which ideas fit together for separate books.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Write all your ideas down on one sheet of paper

Example: One of my clients, Jen, is a Nutritionist. She had many ideas for a book:

  • The danger of dieting
  • The benefits of detoxing
  • Foods to avoid
  • Foods to include
  • Guidelines for detoxing
  • Quick-n-easy meal recipes
  • The power of green smoothies
  • Recipes for green smoothies
  • Tips for making green smoothies
  • Healing the gut
  • Why sleep is so important
  • What your poop is telling you
  • Kitchen gadgets
  • Emotional eating
  • Mindset
  • Meditation
  • Avoiding deprivation

Step 2: Lasso together the different ideas into sections and give each section a title

Example: Jen created these main sections out of her list:

  • Section 1: Introduction (includes the dangers of dieting and the benefit of detoxing)
  • Section 2: Detoxing the Mind (includes mindset, emotional eating, meditation and avoiding deprivation)
  • Section 3: Detoxing the Body (includes healing the gut, why sleep is so important and what your poop is telling you)
  • Section 4: Know How To Detox (includes foods to avoid, foods to include and guidelines for detoxing
  • Section 5: The Delicious Plate (includes quick-n-easy meal recipes and kitchen gadgets)
  • Section 6: Vibrant Green Smoothies (includes the power of green smoothies, recipes and tips)

Step 3: Review the different sections and ask: do the sections all fit into one book? Are there sections here for more than one book? This is when you do another round of “lassoing” to see which sections fit together for the same book.

Example: Upon seeing these 6 sections, Jen saw she had enough ideas for 3 different books!

  • Book 1: Detoxing the Delicious Way (using Sections 1-4)
  • Book 2: The Delicious Plate (using Section 5)
  • Book 3: Vibrant Green Smoothies (using Section 6)

If you, like Jen, end up with more than one book, ask:

  • Which book has the most energy and excitement right now?
  • Which book will contribute the most to your current business priorities?

Example: Jen chose to start with Book 3 and turn it into an ebook to generate leads for her business. Then she focused on Book 1 to use as a complement to her 21-Day Body/Mind Detox Program. Along the way she realized Book 2 was basically already written and just needed an editor to put it all together!

Your next step? Choose one section for one book and begin writing!

Write on!

You know you want to write a book but you’re not yet sure about what.

If you want to use your book as a business-building tool, there are many ideas available to you: they’re hiding in the conversations you have with clients. So how do you uncover them?

Step 1: Brainstorm!

What are 3 of the biggest themes you focus on with your clients?

Example: Let’s take Anne, who is a money coach, as an example. Three themes she focuses on with her clients: shifting out of scarcity and fear around money; learning best practices for generating money; knowing how to leverage the money you have.

What are 3 key areas you’re considered an “expert” in?

Example: Anne is an expert in: money mindset, money magnetism and money management.

What are 3 topics you’re most passionate about?

Example: Anne is passionate about empowering women entrepreneurs, showing them how to value themselves, and how to “pay it forward” by using their money to create the world they want to see.

After brainstorming themes and topics, you now have many different ideas you can write about. And most likely, your ideas will overlap with one another like Anne’s do.

How do you narrow it down? Identify the ideas that overlap in all 3 lists. Then consider:

  • What idea gets you the most excited?
  • Which idea would contribute the most to your business right now?

Pick that one idea. Then move forward with the suggestions I share above for when you have one idea. If you still have many ideas, read what I suggest above for when you have many ideas!

And congratulations – you just went from not having an idea to now having one idea (or many) for your book!

Just like you put a puzzle together piece by piece, you write your book word by word. Use these practical steps to know the next few steps to take to turn your book idea(s) into a reality.

One of the most satisfying experiences is holding your actual book in your hands. It’s a dream-come-true moment that can’t be beat!

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