6 Super Speedy Steps To Writing A Non-Fiction Book

Writing a non-fiction book doesn’t have to feel like climbing Ben Nevis.

You don’t have to put it off until retirement or until you have more time or less clients to worry about. It doesn’t have to bring you out in hives or feed your inner saboteur. Writing a non-fiction book can easily be something you build into your everyday schedule. With bite-sized chunks, the right strategies, targets, deadlines and regular baby steps, you can do this much quicker than you think.

Start by breaking the process into these 6 Super Speedy Steps.

1. Your Specialist Subject: think about all the things you could write about. What can you talk about without coming up for air, what’s your greatest passion, what would be your specialist subject on Mastermind if you sat in the big, black chair? Don’t get too carried away here, though, even if you know a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff. Be finicky about your specialist subject because knowing it inside out means you’ll have much less research to do.

2. Research: take a look at what the competition is up to. What kind of books are already out there? Spend some time looking through the Amazon store to find out what’s for sale. Use different keywords for your searches and see how many different variants come up for your specialist subject.

3. Brainstorm: using a big sheet of paper (or the back of a wallpaper sample) and your coloured pens, brainstorm all your book ideas. Don’t just think about the potential content, either. Think about the structure, how you might want to publish it (ie, Kindle/physical print), whether you want to include case studies/use a diary format/add testimonials/ask someone to write you a foreword/add a glossary/FAQs. Squeeze every last drop of creative juice out of your head until there’s nothing left. Then stick it on your wall and keep adding to it when another idea pops up.

4. Vision: having a vision for your book makes it real. So take some time to think about the reason why you’re writing your book, who is it for, what results are you anticipating for your readers, will your book be the start of a series? Use the who, what, where, when, why and how prompts to build your vision.

5. Write: here’s the exciting bit. Writing little chunks every day is going to help you reach the finish line. Set yourself daily targets (500-1000 words is enough) and stick to them like glue. If you struggle for time, then scale back on your client work / appointments for a couple of weeks. If you can’t, then look at the biggest time-stealers in your life and get rid of them until you finish (I’m thinking Facebook, TV, going to the pub, cleaning, chores and cooking). Find some help – partners and children can pull their weight a bit more for a month quite easily. Outsource some of your business tasks to free you up. Remember, this isn’t forever, it’s temporary and at the end of it you’ll be so incredibly proud of the results.

6. Polish: once you’ve got that first draft ready you can start proofreading / editing. If this is something you aren’t too good at/you hate doing/is going to eat into your time too much, then outsource it. But please don’t skip it. This could make or break the success of your book. No matter how utterly fabulous your content is, if it’s got spelling mistakes, typos and poor formatting, you’ll get bad reviews.