How to Write a Great Book and Get It Published

So, you want to write a book. You thought about writing a book. You may have even saved information for the book you’ll write “some day.” Why not write that book? But where do you begin. I’ve mapped out steps to take to write your first book. Why not get started? Take out your pen and paper and let’s begin!

(1) What are you passionate about? Think about what your interests are and write these down.

(2) Gather your thoughts and decide whether you would like to be a fiction or non-fiction writer.

(3) Begin with notepad on your computer or even the old-fashioned way of tablet and pen.

(4) Jot down some ideas you have, be it for a fiction or non-fiction book.

(5) Think about what you have written and go away from this for about a week or so.

(6) During this “break” you’ll find yourself going back to your writing and adding a few things. You’ll probably wake up in the middle of the night with your best thoughts!

(7) The week has passed and you go back to what you wrote earlier (with your late night additions, of course.)

(8) Read over what you have written and ask yourself these question: Does it make sense? Does it follow a pattern? Is the information flowing? Would someone else want to read it?

(9) Begin a Table of Contents so that you have a “map” of where you want to go with your book. You wouldn’t take a trip with directions, would you? Writers need a map of what they will be doing for each chapter.

(10) Now that you have your Table of Contents, begin with your introduction. Every book needs an introduction to what the book will be about. Be sure the first five or six pages of your introduction will entice a reader to want to read more.

(11) Begin talking with a graphic designer about what the book cover might look like. For example, if you are writing about history, you might think of a historical cover. In order to get ideas, go to the bookstore, if you can still find one (now, these are called “brick and mortar,” and see what other authors did in their first five or six pages. See whether or not there covers reflect what is inside the book.

12) Go to Amazon and look at the type of book you plan to write. What do you find for a genre you like? Read many “inside the book” segments and see how they wrote an introduction.

13) Never take anyone else’s material. It will not be written by you, if you do! I’ve heard that it’s a compliment for people to “copy” you, however, it’s not a nice compliment as they are “stealing your work.” Then, what happens is people, eventually, think you copied their work and publishers have trouble trying to decipher who was the original author. Even quotes are cited for many different authors and its the same quote!

14) So, do it right. Write from the heart. If you are a speaker, you can write just like you speak. That’s what I do in my writing. It makes writing so much easier and fun when words come from within and readers like that.

15) Have you made your decision yet? Will you write a book? There is so much talent out there, you may be the next best seller!

16) If you made the decision to write, remember this story. I’m not, exactly, sure how it was said, so I paraphase and say that Steven King wrote a book, many years ago and after 100 publishers turned him down, the story goes, he threw his book into the wastebasket. His wife picked it up and sent it to a publisher and Steven King was a best-selling author and you know the rest. Will you be the next Stephen King?

17) In these times, most will not find a large publisher to publish our work. This does not mean our work is sub-standard; it means there are too many entertainers, sports stars, celebrities and politicians that are best-sellers right away and they don’t have for you. However, there is good news. Many small publishers have “popped up” and they want your work! Now, remember, a publisher does not ask you for money to print your book. That is what self-publishing is for (people pay for their books.) A small publisher may charge to edit your book to their satisfaction and to make up a template, but that is about all a “real” small publisher/literary agent will do.

(18) Get on to the social sites and join groups. People know people and they will begin to recommend their publisher to you.

(19) Are you still writing? GOOD! Keep writing. Depending on whether you are writing a few hours a day or, like me, staying up all night (to keep the interuptions at bay,) you will, suddenly, see the makings of a book.

(20) Don’t even think about sending your book to a large publishing house. They are busy with all the movie stars and politicians. Seek out small publishing companies, start-ups (I love being at the beginning of something that will grow,) and get published. I did!


Written by Dr. Joyce Knudsen, Ph.D. AICI CIM