Did you know? Most people have, at some point, considered writing a book — so having the same life goal doesn’t make you unique. If you’ve started writing your manuscript, whether it’s a novel, memoir, short story, trade work, or self-help book, you’re already ahead of the curve. If you finish your book and manage to (self-)publish it, you’re among the rare few.
There’s no denying that writing a book is always tough, though, and that it’s doubly so if you’re a debut author. What tips should you always keep in mind as you’re writing your book, to increase your odds of making it over the finish line?
1. Get Your “Bookcave” Set Up
Every superhero needs a comfortable workshop to tinker in, and where they won’t be interrupted (too much). For many authors, that means upgrading their office space, whether that happens to be in a former guest room or at the kitchen table. You might want a comfortable chair that doesn’t cause your back to hurt, an ergonomic mouse and keyboard, a table that’s the right height for you, and better lighting, for instance.
Since writing a book necessarily depends on doing research and keeping your ideas organized, however, your digital lair is often even more important. Software like Ulysses, Evernote, Scrivener, and Bibisco is going to make sure that you can plan your book with ease, and you’ll never lose track of a genius idea you dreamed up in the middle of the night.
2. Commit to a Schedule
Poor time management and self-doubt might be a debut author’s biggest enemies — and make no mistake, they’re going to team up against you. To make sure you will actually finish your book, commit to a schedule. That may entail writing a set number of words each day, or spending a certain amount of time on your work. If the words simply aren’t flowing, conduct research instead, or write anyway and edit later. That book won’t write itself.
3. Do Your Research
This always applies — yes, even if you are writing your memoirs and you are the main character in your story. Are you writing a sci-fi novel? You’ll want the world-building to be, to whatever extent possible, to be scientifically feasible. Are you penning a self-help book, and are you citing any studies or quoting anyone at all? Are you going to be interviewing people? The success of your work depends on its accuracy, so you’ll want to check and double check everything.
Current trends in the publishing industry also need to be researched, though. If your book relies on overused tropes or the market is oversaturated for your genre, you will have a hard time getting your book published or attracting readers if you choose to self-publish. Publishing options and literary agents are two further factors to research. Writing a book, it turns out, is about far more than writing alone.
4. Don’t Go it Alone!
You’ll have to do most of the work yourself, but don’t for a second think that you can be a one-man band. Anyone can self-publish a book without any input from anyone else these days, but you are aiming for quality. Partner with beta readers and critique partners through literary forums, and ask everyone you know to read your manuscript and offer feedback. When you’re as done as you can possibly be, strongly consider partnering with an experienced editor to take your manuscript to the next level.
Finally, don’t give up. You’ve set yourself the goal of writing a book. Don’t give up until you are finished and proud enough of your work that you’d be happy for the whole world to read it.