Is there an easy way to write a book?

May 28, 2019 | Writing A Book

Jamie’s email was straightforward.

“I just read your white paper on the publishing process. What you described seems like an awful lot of work, and I see ads all the time for easy ways to write my book. Why do you think it’s so hard?”

You may have the same question that Jamie has. There are lots of people who claim to show you an easy way to write your book. I think there are easy ways to write a crappy book. I think it’s hard to write a good book. There are no shortcuts to good work.

I assume that you’re starting with the basics. You already have solid experience and research to make your content rich. I assume that you have a good idea of who your ideal reader will be. Without those two things, it’s impossible to write a great book, no matter how hard you work.

Writing A Great Book Is Hard Because It Takes Revisions

Ernest Hemingway and dozens of other writers have said some version of, “The first draft of anything is sh-t.”

You may dream of writing a great first draft. You may have heard stories about how other people write great first drafts and don’t need any revisions. Those stories are fiction.

All great writing is rewriting. That means you revise. For me and most of my clients it takes three or four full drafts before the book is ready to go to a professional editor. Some of my clients have gone well beyond this. Terry Moore routinely did five or six drafts of every chapter. We did more than five full drafts of his book, Building Legacy Wealth.

Writing A Great Book Is Hard Because It Takes Feedback

It’s tough to take feedback on your writing. It’s like baring your soul and asking people to stick pins in it. But great books grow from feedback.

Some feedback will be professional. That means coaches and editors. You pay them to tell you how to improve your book. For some of my clients, the only work I do is to help them structure the book well. For others, we follow the process all the way through.

You may not need a book writing coach, like me. But you do need a professional editor. Professional editors save writers from ourselves. They catch the things we didn’t catch, even after all our revisions. They make suggestions that make the book and parts of it better.

Beta readers supply another form of feedback. There are three types of beta readers. Some beta readers are your friends and supporters who want to be part of your process. Their feedback may be good, or not, but it’s always a gift. Some beta readers should be like your intended readers. They’ll help you understand what parts aren’t as clear as you thought they were. The third group of beta readers consists of content experts. They’ll give you feedback on whether you got some of the important things right.

Writing A Great Book Is Hard Because It Takes Time

Revisions and getting feedback from professionals and beta readers take time. Life plays a part, too.

Most of the people I work with are writing a book while they work full-time at something else. They also have relationships that matter to them. They need to give time to their work and their relationships.

Fate plays a role, too. Illnesses and natural disasters and emergencies at work all become top priority for a time. When they do, the book process gets longer.

Writing A Great Book Is Hard and . . .

Writing a great book is hard, and so is everything worthwhile you’ve ever done. If it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be an accomplishment.

Bottom Line

Writing a great book is hard, but you should make it your goal. Once your book is written and published, it lives forever. People will look at your book years from now and judge you by it.

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