#1 – Everything you write is Not Publishable
This is not to discourage you. It is not also to create negative impression in you. But the truth is that not everything we write will be published. I discussed my own story with you earlier. The first manuscript I ever wrote never became a book. It is still kept, typed and preserved.
But don’t allow that to discourage you. Put your best in what you are writing. Nothing stops your work from being published if it is properly done, and that’s why I wrote this book to help you.
#2 – Decide On What You Are Writing About
What is your message? Decide on the topic, idea or story you wish to share with other people. Think very well about what you are presenting to your reader. I have personally discovered that I’m not ready to write a book until I have settled in my mind what exactly I want to write about. And it must be something for which I have a passion, something that is relevant to my calling and purpose.
#3 – Have Your Reader in Mind
Good books are written for readers, because they are your target market. It is important you entrench them in your mind before you begin writing. You must consider things like their religion, the age range, sex, status, income and position, level of education and level of family formation.
Then you must keep in focus your language style and cultural differences. Think about the needs, interests and burdens of your prospective reader. Try and find out the worries, fears, dreams, desires and motivations of your ideal reader. Be sure of values your book will add to them and their problems your book will solve. Don’t assume a vague reader. Be specific. Know those your book is targeted and keep them in mind.
#4 – Find Out What Other Authors Have Written About What You Want To Write
It is important you gather all the information you will need to write your book. Go to bookstores; get as many materials you can buy. Find out what other authors have written about what you are writing. It will help a lot. You need information. There’s nothing you want to write that someone, somewhere and sometimes have not written about. You will always find materials relevant to the one you want to start working on. Learn from what they have written but don’t copy another person’s work and make it look like your own words – that is called plagiarism, and it is illegal. If you are to use their materials, make sure it is by permission and don’t forget to acknowledge the source. Develop your work in a unique and excellent form.
#5 – Decide on Number of Pages and Duration of Your Writing
It is better to first decide the number of pages you want your book to be. In my own case, when I wanted to start writing, I decided my book will be around 150-200 pages.
Then I went into the page layout in Microsoft word on my computer, customized my page to “8.5” x “5.5”. I also decided the chapters and arrived at six chapters. So I divided 200 by 6 and discovered that I must limit each chapter to around 32 pages. Because of this, I was able to have focus and monitor my words. But in terms of duration, the general opinion is once you can discipline yourself to write at least a page per day, you should be able to finish 200-300 pages within three-four months.
#6- Take Responsibility for Your Readers
People will not respond well to your book if you don’t take responsibility to gain and keep your reader’s attention. It must be settled within you that every response you will get from your reader depends on you. It is your responsibility to make your book an enjoyable learning experience. Your writing must capture their attention. It must be memorable and get them engaged in the book from start to the very end. You must learn to activate the inner urge of your reader. Add value to your reader. Communicate and make sure you really communicate.
#7 – Make Every Word Count
Every word must count when you write. Always be direct. Hit your point and make it simple, short, and specific. These are “3S”formats you must never forget.
• Simple – Your word must be simple enough for any reader to understand.
• Specific – Let your reader know exactly what you have written.
• Short – I read that when your sentence is more than 18 words, it makes a reader bored. Let your word be short. Keep 18 words rule whenever you are writing.
#8 – Let Your Writing Identify with the Reader
Whenever I write, I tried to identify with the reader. I imagine myself communicating face-to-face with the reader through my writing. So when the reader takes my book, there’s a connection between us.
#9 – Make Your Writing worth Reading
Your writing must achieve four things if it will become a book worth reading by your readers. Don’t forget writing is more like act of leadership where people must be led in these four steps.
- Your book must describe and promise a future – Every reader sees a desired outcome and benefit a book might have promised and described before they will choose to read.
- Your book must convince a reader to keep reading – The Introduction, first chapter and your first points are very important. They must convince the reader to continue reading.
- Your book must touch the reader’s heart – when your book is outward-focused on the reader, it will touch the reader’s heart. Always be conscious of your reader.
- Your book must arrive and deliver the future – There’s no greater disappointment you can give your reader than failing their expectations of what your book has promised. So make sure you conclude your book with a delivery of your reader’s need.
#10 – Understand the Value of Reader
You may not expect a reader to read a book which the author does not appreciate his/her value. It is part of human nature to feel respected, honoured and valued. So always write with the tone that shows you appreciate your reader.
#11 – Have a mind-set never to Produce “Dead Manuscripts”
Dead manuscripts are produced to a book that will remain forever. It will not be revised nor updated. Writing a successful book require that you produce living manuscripts. George Barna says such books endure continual revisions based on new ideas, current information, reader feedback and cultural changes.
What other important tips do you think writers need to have in mind before commencing any writing task? Share your experience with us.