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To write a book, you need to plan for dragons

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations if you live near him.” —JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit Honestly? I’m not even writing about dragons today; I just really like that quote. There are, however, calculations to be made, if you are to write that book that has been on your mind for so long. But book-writing is a creative endeavor, right? The words simply well out of your fingers and flood across the page, while a celestial glow envelops your desk and the angels start strumming their silver harps. Well, maybe for some writers. Not this little duck. And not for the hundreds of authors I’ve worked with through these past (insert large number) years. As editor, #ghostwriter, accountability buddy, and chief cheerleader, I’ve seen how the really successful writers remain (relatively) sane by coming up with a clear plan for getting their book written and published. This plan doesn’t have to be complex. On the contrary. It must be so simple it can be summed up in six steps. Step 1 is developing your #book concept. This book concept will align with who you are, and what you’re inspired to accomplish. It will answer two questions:

  • What is your message, argument, or proposition?

  • What will your book do for its readers—what benefits, what problems solved, what changes in thinking or behavior?

You know you’ve clinched this when you can describe the unique features/offering of your book in one or two clear, explanatory sentences. Simple, yes? But like the very best simple things, book concept development requires a world of thought and reflection. Getting to some authentic answers can be a little like therapy—it takes a ton of digging, a bunch of wrong turns, and maybe even a few tears along the way. It helps enormously to have a savvy partner in the process. That’s where I come in. (Cue trumpets. And harps.) As your strategist and thinking partner, I can help you reach your answers. In my next few emails, I’m going to talk a little about the five steps that come after you develop your book concept. If you’re working on your #nonfiction book or book proposal at home right now, I want to tell you about a new online course I’m launching this month, Build Your Author Platform. This course is all about one of the steps in my process. It contains everything I’ve learned about what it takes for authors to successfully connect with their readers. Have a great week!


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