book cover/how to write a book

Seven good tips to writing your first book

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Table of Contents

Writing a book doesn’t just happen.

This is just my thoughts but having worked on my book for a year and a half, I learned a lot. I learned things to do and certainly, things not to do.

picture of book/Depression

Don’t think all you have to do is write.

The writing is only the beginning.

Not even close. Writing came easy to me so the first few months when I was just writing, I thought I was home free. Wow. This is not that hard at all. Silly me.

Once I got the writing done, I was just beginning but that’s for later. There is a LOT to do. To be successful, you need to have a social media following. That means learning the best practices and faithfully following them.

It means learning all the ways to promote your book.

It means research and lots of it. That means fiction as well. I always feel I am working on my next book even if I’m not writing.

Don’t share your work too soon.

Be careful who you share with.

You will need to have other people read it but not with your first, or second draft. The reason for that is because only you know what your purpose is for writing, the message you are trying to convey. To let too many people in on it, in the beginning, might only confuse the process.

You can certainly run ideas by family and friends but hold off on letting them read your entire book. Take critiques seriously and consider what your readers are saying. That doesn’t mean you have to change your message but there might be a better way to say it.

Make sure you ask people who will be honest with you but avoid anyone who you think doesn’t have your best interest at least.

Don’t think you are going to get rich.

That doesn’t mean you won’t either. Just don’t count on it.

Now, I am writing non-fiction so in my genre, it’s really true. For fiction, there is probably a better chance you will make some money. Some people write for this reason only but most don’t, especially those that write non-fiction.

So don’t start planning what you are going to buy with earnings you may not make.

Thinking you won’t spend any money.

There is a financial cost.

There are all kinds of tools you will find that will make your writing so much easier and they all cost something. There are also marketing platforms. I try to keep my investment in these as low as possible but there are some I can’t do without especially if I fly on my own for this next book and do it all myself.

The one place you have to spend some money is in the editing. Don’t skip this unless you know someone well-versed in the various important editing manuals. With my first book, even after hiring out the editing, the book wasn’t perfect; there were errors.

Even if you go the traditional route of publishing, there is still a financial outlay.

There is no perfect book. All books contain about 3% formatting and/or editing errors. Learn to live with it.

Five, don’t give up on your writing

You will certainly feel like it.

There will be many times, you will feel like throwing in the towel. I mean, think about it. You write and write and write some more no knowing if anyone is ever going to read what you wrote. It takes intestinal fortitude to finish anything you start, but especially a book. You have got to reach deep inside yourself and find whatever you need to continue. For me, it’s my faith. For you, it might be something else.

There were more times than I can remember when I felt like quitting. But I knew what I had to say was worth reading even if only a few people did. I knew that my book would be “out there” and through the years, as I have so often done myself, people would stumble across my book as God had determined and they would be helped. I was confident to rest with that thought.

I also felt I was leaving a legacy for my children, grandchildren, and all the generations that followed. I wanted them to see that when God tells you to do something and you trust him for it, he will bring it to pass. I wanted to be a witness to them of determination and hard work.

Six, study the craft of writing

Read everything you can. Watch every thing you can.

Don’t think you are so naturally talented, you can just write because you are the next Maya Angelou or Orson Wells. And even they did their work. In fact, I have a printout from Orson Wells that I follow.

There are lots of free resources out there. For online sources, I like Reedsy and Scribe Media. For books, I recommend these four to start.

picture of Stephen King book, ON WRITING/how to write a book

Yes, read the book by Stephen King. I don’t read Stephen King. I don’t like his language. This is a wonderful book.

Seven, write because you love it.

It’s for you, first of all.

Write for yourself. Write because you want to write.

Writing accomplishes so much more than you know. It gives you such a sense of purpose. It opens your mind to yourself. It stimulates your mind and imagination.

Maybe start with a story or two. Write about your childhood. Write about what you wish could be. Rewrite your history. Everyone has a story, including you.

What I didn’t cover about writing a book

Every aspiring writer wants to know when to write, where to write, how to organize everything.

Guess what? There is no universal standard. Everyone does it differently. When I started my book, I wrote in an unused bedroom, complete with a really cool desk I found at a garage sale. I did that for a few months but I just didn’t like it.

I like writing in two places, my kitchen table or my dining room table. There’s something about it I just like. I have no set schedule. I keep notes everywhere and have a hard time finding them at times. And, again, guess what?

There are a lot of writers just like me. We’re all trying to figure it out. Except for Stephen King. But he’s Stephen King. Anyone who produces a lot of books and produces them well, (There are a lot of authors who produced a lot of books but not a lot do it well.) has a rigid writing routine. I’m still looking for mine.

Trust that if God directed you to write a book, he will be with you every step of the way.

Just write.

God bless and have a great day and go write something!