If you want to write a book but don’t really consider yourself a writer, this fast and easy approach to writing a book may be just what you need. This is the exact strategy I used for writing my book 21 Ways to Build Your Business with Email Marketing. In this article, I’ll walk you step by step through the process of writing a book the easy way.
Record Your Content
I originally recorded the content for my book as a 90 minute audio program I had offered as a free download from my website. Here’s how I prepared to record the audio. I outlined 21 strategies for building your business with email marketing, listed the benefits for each strategy and included a story to illustrate each one. Then I sat down and recorded myself talking through each point of the outline. Using this method, I was able to get the basic content for my book in about four hours—two hours of outlining and two hours of recording. Keep in mind that at the time I recorded the audio I was not planning on using it to write a book. If you have audio recordings already, ask yourself if any of them could be used as source material for writing a book. This can be a time saver when it comes to writing your book
Transcribe Your Recording
Next, I hired a transcriptionist and sent her the audio. You can find transcriptionists on services like Odesk.com , HireMyMom.com, and eLance.com. The services are very affordable, especially if you use a service provider from overseas. I do recommend giving your transcriptionist some guidelines about how you want them to handle slang, pauses and so forth. For example, my original transcriptionist would write the text exactly as I said it, including words like: gonna, ‘cause, um, yeah and sorta. To get the best results and save yourself time editing, provide specific instructions about how to handle these terms. Time you save editing means more time for writing your book.
Edit Your Content
After I received the transcription I went through and edited it for typos and words like I mentioned above, changing everything that sounded like speech (i.e., “‘cause I just didn’t wanna do it”) to words that read like the written word should (i.e., “because I just didn’t want to do it”). Then I edited for content. I took out long stretches of text that rambled or seemed disorganized. I added additional stories or examples I hadn’t thought of at the time I made the recording. And I inserted references to businesses or people I had mentioned, including their websites, as appropriate. Because I am a writer and somewhat a perfectionist, I spent roughly 10 to 12 hours editing the content of the book.
Lay Out the Interior of Your Book
Once the content was finalized, I laid out the interior of the book. I set the paper size in Word® to 5.5 x 8.5 inches so that when I sent the file to the printer it would be print ready. Then I formatted the content with a header, page numbers and chapter titles. I created a Table of Contents using the References menu in Word. I also wrote an introductory note to the reader, a dedication page, a copyright and contact information page, and the copy for the back cover of the book. This work took approximately eight to 10 hours.
Design the Cover
I hired a friend of mine to design the cover for the book. She drafted three different designs for me to look at and give her feedback on. After going back and forth two or three times, I settled on one design. While she did the cover art work and layout, it was my responsibility to send her all the copy for the back cover, including: the book description, a testimonial quote from a client, my bio, my head shot and the ISBN barcode. She laid all that content into the back cover and sent me a high-resolution pdf file to send to the printer. Working with her on the design took approximately four to five hours.
Purchase an ISBN Number and Barcode
You are probably wondering about the ISBN barcode. If you have no intention of selling your book through bookstores or through any vendor other than your own business, you do not need the barcode. However, if you want to be able to register your book for sale on www.Amazon.com, through other vendors, and make it generally available to all book sellers, an ISBN barcode it a must. You can purchase an ISBN number online at www.Bowker.com. You can also purchase the barcode online at the same site (this is a separate purchase) and download the graphic file that will allow you to place the barcode graphic on your book. Bowker provides a thorough Q&A section that makes the ISBN purchase process easy.
Send Your Book to the Printer
Once I had the interior of the book laid out and had finalized the cover design with the artist, I sent a pdf of the interior to the printer along with the cover art file. The printer, Information Distributors of America Inc. (www.InfoDistributors.com), printed a paperback version of my book and I officially became a published author.
If you don’t feel skilled and confident when it comes to writing a book, why not take the easy approach? Grab a voice recorder, make an outline, and start telling your story. Just talk about what you know. Don’t worry about getting it right. That’s what editing is for! Simply record your thoughts, get them on paper, and start editing. Before you know it, you’ll be a published author too!