AMA - How To Write A Book
Today is another AMA episode (ask me anything). Karla asks:
Your book “Magnetic Capital” in my opinion is a quality , easy to follow book. Would you please share your own process to write, market and publish your book? Any highs and lows from lessons learned in the process that you can recommend?
Have a successful year.
Karla, This is a great question.
There are undoubtedly numerous ways to write a book, but I’ll share with you my process. When I say this, I’m confining the discussion to non-fiction books. The process for fiction books is somewhat different. It all starts with intention. Some people write a book as a vanity project. For some it’s a large expensive business card. For some it is a real contribution to the world to advance the art and science in a particular area. You really want to get clear on why you are writing a book. It starts with asking a few simple questions,
- “Who are you writing the book for?”
- “Why does the world need this book?”
- “Why are you the one to write this book?”
- Do you seek publisher or to self publish?
In the case of Magnetic Capital, I saw many people who wanted to grow as real estate investors who were lacking the skill in raising capital. Some were trying to raise money and having terrible results. So the book was written for the investor who was looking to grow beyond their own capital, but most importantly, those who were looking to grow beyond the initial stages of leveraging other people’s money. Some people start out by performing a joint venture or two and then get stuck.
Most of the books written on the topic tended to be academic in nature and lacked a practical approach to understanding the psychology of raising capital. It seemed like people were out there trying to violate laws of nature, violate laws of human respect, and certainly violate securities laws.
So I saw a gap in the marketplace.
So let’s talk about how to outline a book. In my case, I took a stack of blank 8.5x11 sheets of paper and brainstormed the chapter titles. I put one chapter title on each page. Some chapter titles didn’t make sense and I threw those away. I then spread out all of the pages on my dining room table so that I could see the big picture for the structure of the book. I could easily move the sheets around so that the sequence of the chapters made sense. I then took each sheet and wrote down 3-5 major points that would need to be covered in each chapter.
I then decided which chapters would need real life examples to support the points being made in the chapters.
Some books require a lot of research. I’m thinking of authors like Malcolm Gladwell or Jim Collins. In those cases, you might be facing a couple of years of work prior to writing the book. In my case, the book was already inside me and just needed to come out on paper.
The mechanics of writing the book was extremely straightforward. I would write every day. Some days I would sit at the computer and write a few pages each day. In the case of Magnetic Capital, the first draft of the entire book was written in under a month, followed by a few weeks of editing.
The publishing process has two choices, working with a publisher or self publishing. If you’re going to work with a publisher, the industry has changed. In fact, the work is pretty much all going to fall to you unless you already have a huge brand name with a massive following. Before you can even engage with a literary agent you’re going to need to prepare a book proposal. What they call a book proposal is really a detailed marketing plan when you look at all the headings. There are several templates out there on the internet from various literary agents. I chose to self-publish my book using Amazon as the platform. It was easy to do and there are lots of good resources out there that can guide you on the particulars.