Select Page

How to Write a Book – Part 2

Last time we covered:

  • coming up with an idea
  • going for it
  • setting goals
  • starting to write

Which is all well and good but if you;re going to get this written you need to:

Give yourself deadlines.

I wanted to write a book in 2017. Technically I had until December 31, but to make sure I achieved that over-arching goal, I set deadlines for each of my sub-goals.

My deadline for writing a rough draft was May 1.

Did I write feverously April 30 to crank out that rough draft? Absolutely. Did that rough draft look horrible? You bet. But I achieved my goal. I completed that first draft. I had a product. At this point you’re going to feel like a superhero.

Next, I picked deadlines for having a completed draft. My deadline for a completed draft was July 31, and I decided to release on August 11.

My biggest mistake.

Yes, give yourself a deadline to finish editing and pick a release day well in advance. But make your goals realistic. Eleven days to hand my brain child over to proofreaders, expect them to read all of it, fix the problems, publish, and have the hardcopies in my hand was ridiculous. I made it happen (I have a close friend who stayed up all night just to proofread my book), but don’t do that to yourself. Give yourself and anyone you get to help realistic time to finish each step.


I picked Amazon’s self-publishing route for a few reasons.

I asked an author I respect if there is a publishing company she would recommend for my topic, since she had experience in that area. Mostly hoped for a hook up with a publishing agent. Instead she recommended that I self-publish. She warned that unless I had a hundred thousand followers on social media, a publisher probably would not pick up my book. This advice was both humbling and freeing. My ego wasn’t hurt (well, maybe a little) because I realize that publishing is a competitive game.

She made a solid point.

I would rather try alternative options than try to punch my way through an unbreakable wall. She pointed me to Amazon to self-publish, so that’s where I looked first. Self-publishing gave me a lot of autonomy over how to raise my first-born book baby. I chose the pricing, the size of the book, when I would release, and if I wanted just an ebook, paperback, or both. Amazon is, however, nitpicky with formatting to the point of frustration. On the plus side, if you follow their rules (you don’t get a choice about that – you must follow their formatting to the letter), you get a high-quality product.


amazon logo frowning and sad

Fortunately, Amazon tries to provide several resources, including format templates, for whatever type of book you want to publish. No one at Amazon is going to catch the misspelled word on the front cover of your book. No one is going to add page numbers when you forget about them. They will tell you that there is an issue with formatting, but not necessarily tell you what the issue is (hint: your cover art is the wrong size). You might get frustrated, but stick with it!

And since you followed my advice to give yourself enough time for mistakes and to figure out Amazon’s style guide, you’ve already relieved some stress.


Heather Ness – Professor of Psychology, Middle Georgia State University


Heather’s episode of the CfG podcast on iTunes

Join our geeky gang on Facebook to start leveling up



Follow Robin