How to Create a Book in a Week
How to Create a Book in a Week
Hey, this is Ryan Chapman with Fix Your Funnel and in today's episode, I'm going to share with you my process for creating a book. I just barely finished this process, and I'm on a road trip, and the truth is, my car is doing most of the driving. I am paying attention to the road, but since it's doing most of the driving, I figured I might as well share with you the experience that I had as I created my last book.
I started it about two weeks ago and just wrapped it up yesterday, so the process is still pretty fresh in my mind. And this one took so long because I really wanted to make sure I did a really good job on it, so I put a little extra time into it. That's about as long as creating a book should take. I'm going to walk you through the process step-by-step.
I identified eleven steps, so, this is going to take a little time, but I'm gonna give it to you big picture. Hopefully it'll be enough so you'll have a good idea of how you can do the same thing, if you haven't already, and if it's not enough, then you can always ask for more details.
Creating a book isn't a trivial thing. It's got to be on a topic that you know a lot about. If you don't know your topic, then you probably shouldn't be writing a book on it in the first place. Another point is, make sure that your book has a point. Make sure that your book is going to take the reader on a journey.
Now, I've said many times before that a book does 90% of its work just by existing. Meaning, most people will never read your book, unfortunately. Just the fact that you have one is going to be the big difference for positioning you with other people that you are presenting your goods and services to.
Most people will look at a book, they'll look at the cover, they might read that. They'll flip it over, they might read that, and then they might flip through the pages. So make sure there's some actual words on the pages, but that's about as far as most people are going to go. And that alone will be enough for people like, "Wow, this person is actually an author on the topic." That's going to do most of the work.
But if somebody does read your book, I say you ought to take them on a journey, you ought to lead them somewhere. When you're done with them, with the book, they ought to be better off than they were before they came across your book. You've got to respect the people who are going to read it enough to put forth the effort to actually give them something that will lead them somewhere positive.
Get an idea of what the book should accomplish. What do you hope will happen once the person goes through your book? That's really critical, so make sure you put a lot of thought into that. For me, I've been thinking about this book for a couple of years. And honestly, I probably should have put it out a year and half ago. It didn't take me that long to think about it.
You might have some similar topic that you've been thinking about for a long time. Get that idea. What does it that this book will accomplish? What will it do for people?
For me, I see these common mistakes that people keep falling into and they end up doing really stupid things that hurt their business. When I think about a business being hurt, I also think about all the ramifications of that. Also, it hurts that individual.
When a business fails, a little piece of that entrepreneur dies with it. And yes, you can learn from it, you could be like the phoenix, you can come back out of the ashes stronger than ever, but there is a little part of you dies when a business doesn't work.
There's also this immense stress and pressure on the people around you because they know, even if they're not cheering for you most of the time, hopefully your family is, they know that it takes a lot. So when that thing doesn't work out, it hurts them.
I know that there's a lot at stake, so I want to make sure that, with my book in particular, that the people that read it would be way better off. That there would be some clarity, there being some new insight that would help them avoid some major pitfalls and to make some better choices that they're maybe naturally avoiding making that would make all the difference for their business.
I had that intent when I came into it. You should have an intent too. What do you hope to accomplish?
Assemble any content you've created on the topic.
That would include podcast episodes, such as this one we're talking about right here. It would also include videos you've created, worksheets you've put together, a checklist you've created, any content you've created around your topic. A blog post, a social media post, you want to get all that content around you and look through it. We're not necessarily going to copy that exactly.
I'll tell you, in preparation for my book, I took a bunch of our podcast episodes that we had done in the past, even some of the interviews, some trainings, I had those fully transcribed. I had them all assembled together in one document, then I had a members of my team break them down into outlines. Like, what were the big points that came out of all those?
That gave me a place to start. I was able to look through all of that content and start making notes of, what are those big ideas that I know I've got to cover in this book in order for me to accomplish the goal that I've set for me in step one?
Once I got that all together, then I was ready to get the step three, which is: make a list of important points.
What should your audience know? What pitfalls should they look out for? And there's certainly things that you've learned the hard way that don't necessarily need to be learned the hard way. The things that if somebody would have just pointed those things out to you, you could have avoided all that heartache and all that pain and trouble. What are those things that you have on your topic?
What have you learned from your experience? Not all negative, maybe there's a positive experience where you accidentally get the right thing the first time. What did you learn from that? What were those things that you could pass on that would make all the difference to a person? What should somebody that's studying your topic that you're going to write about your book, what should they pay attention to, and also, what should they ignore?
Some of the things that I brought up in my book where these myths that get passed around that I know from experience are not true. They're not fact, but they get passed around as if they were. What are those things? And how could I help people avoid those problems by not focusing in on the things they shouldn't focus on, things that they should totally ignore? Then also point their attention to those things they should totally focus on.
Those things are really critical, and if you miss them, it would make a big difference in terms of the outcome that you would get.
That's what you want to do with step three. Just make a list of all those important points. Those are the things that they should believe in order for them to get that outcome that you're hoping for them. What are the things that they need to know inside and out? What perspective do they currently have that maybe needs to change? What's that paradigm shift that needs to occur?
Once you get all the different points laid out, now you're in a good place to have step number four take place, which is: create an outline that seems to flow.
There tends to be a natural order that will kind of reveal itself to you as you're looking at all these important points that you're seeing.
If you're having a hard time with it, I'm a very visual person, so if someone starts saying numbers to me, for example, my eyes glaze over, roll back into the back of my head. I just don't get anything.
So one thing that I've done before is I've taken all those important points and put them on a little strips of paper and then I can move those pieces of paper around easily. I know you can do the same thing with a computer, but for me, for some reason just having that tactile experience of being able to grab those pieces of paper and move them around is really helpful for me to see things a little bit differently. Maybe that would work for you.
Look at all those important points and start arranging them in natural groupings or order. Usually things do have some sort of natural grouping or order, you're just discovering that in this process. From that, you're going to get an outline. This is going to be really the skeleton of what is going to become your book.
Once you've got that outline together, you want to start identifying stories that you should include.
Books that just teach stuff are super boring. It's hard to keep people's attention and people will forget the points that you make. But if you can tell a story, that's a totally different experience. That story will be remembered, and that story will hold it within it those important points that you want to make.
If you have a topic that you're knowledgeable about, I guarantee you've got stories on that topic, too. Stories where people did exactly the wrong thing. Stories where you saw people do exactly the right thing. Stories with there's a good mix of both. And as you tell those stories, you can highlight those important points you want to make.
That's the next step. Identify all of those important stories and in lace those into that outline. Make sure you put down, "Hey, tell the story about Bill and the time that he forgot to do this." Get those stories into the outline.
Then make sure you've got your key points. Maybe there's a phrase. I'm going to share a phrase with you in a little bit that's a key phrase. If I was writing a book on this topic, I'd want to make sure that key phrase was in there. That key phrase is going to be really critical. I don't want to miss it. Make sure that those key phrases get in your outline as well.
Finally, what's a question that you must answer? Write down the actual question.
What I've found is that usually, at least for me, my answers come best in the context of a question. If somebody's like, "Hey, tell me something really important," I'd struggle. But if they ask me a question, boom. I know exactly what I'm going to say because that is going to harness the information that I've collected in my mind.
You want to do the same thing. Make sure that you've got some really solid questions that you know people should be asking or that they do commonly ask about your topic. Once you get those in there, now you've completed step five. I named step five identify because it's identifying those key stories and key points and questions that you want to answer.
Now comes the fun part. I think that when you get to this part, you may be surprised. I've done this several times, but I was still very surprised by how quickly stuff came at this point. Step six is record.
You can get your phone out and recorded on your phone. You want to record a chapter at a time, is what I found.
If you try to record a whole book at once, that's just too much. Record a chapter at a time.
And as you record it, you're just going to go through your outline and start saying stuff. It doesn't have to all flow. It doesn't have to be perfect. In fact, you may repeat the same concept multiple times and you may say things in an awkward way that just doesn't read well. That's okay. That's totally normal.
As you're doing that, though, understand that what you're doing is you're starting to build a block of content that is going to be able to be whittled down to become your book.
Once you've got a chapter recorded, kick it off to be then transcribed.
There are a ton of great services that will transcribe your stuff in minutes and for pennies. You don't want to pay for this dollar per minute stuff when it comes to these transcriptions. You're talking 10, 15 cents max to transcribe your recording of your chapter.
It's not going to be exact, but it'll be like 95% there. That's how good the automatic transcription services are now, especially if you have a crisp recording and you're careful to enunciate your words. You don't have to be crazy like in dragon dictation days, you can just say the words clearly, that will be enough. It'll be able to transcribe close enough.
The next phase is to refine. You're actually going to go through each of these chapters, throw them all into one document.
I use Mac, I have a Pages document that I've put to the right size and format for the book that I'm going to do, it's a 5.5x8.5 size. In fact, if you want that, here is a link so you can download that Pages document.
I just actually copy that content from the transcription service and paste it directly into the document that will be my rough draft of my book.
What you want to be shooting for is about 125 pages on the minimum in my experience. For me, though, I'm looking for a book that's going to end up somewhere between 150-200 pages max. 125 is still acceptable, but I'm looking for something that's going to be in that range.
The reason why I like a book in that range is it's not intimidating. You hand that to somebody, they're not going, "Geez, I got to read all this?" It's probably going to be something they can sit down and read in a few hours. If they have a long plane flight, boom, they've read your book. That's where you really want to get it in my opinion.
The reason I feel like you want to get it there is because content that is not consumed is not valuable. Unless you've already got a reputation where people are just going to absolutely devour whatever you put out, make it manageable. Make it edible.
So what we're looking for is you want to be somewhere around 100-125 pages. Your book, if it starts at 100-125 pages, is probably going to end up at 150 pages as you go through this process of refining.
And here's the important phrase that I want to get out of this recording, I wrote this one down. That is: it is easier to carve marble than it is to make it.
It's easier to carve marble than it is to make it.
I know they have artificial marble and it's crap, but to make real marble is this arduous, long process that takes millennia. To carve it is so much easier.
The reason I say this is because a lot of people, when they go to try and do a book, they sit down with a blank document in front of them and they start trying to write. That is one of the most monumental, difficult tasks you can put upon yourself.
But, if you've got a hundred pages of content that are your ideas and you're the one that just barely said them, maybe even just an hour ago, it's so much easier to now refine those thoughts. You knew what you were trying to communicate.
Maybe you did it well, maybe you didn't do it well, but either way, when you have this document, you're now in a position to be able to start refining it fairly quickly. You know what you're trying to communicate.
You maybe will notice, "Oh, I missed a point," or, "I said that really weird, how can I say that better?" or, "I added too many words in to say that. I can refine that down from two paragraphs to one sentence."
Whatever it is, as you go through and you go through step eight, which is to refine, you're going to find that writing process, which is what you're actually doing, can come pretty quickly. You don't have to carry the thought either, because the thoughts carried itself already as you were speaking it. Now all you have to do is just refine it.
It's really cool, because as you're going through this refining process, it becomes easier and easier, and that's really exciting.
I was really excited about this as I worked on this last book, how quickly it came. I was a little disturbed about how confusing my words sounded as I was reading the original transcription, but I was really pleased with how well it refined out.
As you're going through the refining process, it's going to take you to identifying some visual aids. Is there an image that would help express this concept that I am trying to teach here?
The other thing that I do at this point is I start lacing in my text message call to actions. It should be no surprise to you that I would put a text message call to action in my book, but that's because I look at my book as a little salesman.
You should do the same. It should be selling somebody on some concept. I want people to be able to communicate with me. I want to deliver to them resources that I can't put in a book.
In the book, I can't put a video training where I go really in depth on how to actually execute on a strategy I'm describing. But I can give someone a keyword and a phone number and have them text that in.
Wherever I see, "Hey, I've already got a training. In fact, I pulled it together as I was getting this book ready. I want to give that to somebody who reads this book." That's going to be an SMS call to action.
As I'm going through the refining process, I'm going to identify these natural places where I've got some more content I want to deliver to them. Or, it doesn't make sense for me to try and describe this in words, it would make a lot more sense for me to give them a video or an audio file or a worksheet.
As you go through and identify these natural resources that you would want to give to somebody that you want to learn this concept, then you're going to place in an SMS call to action. And I don't have to explain to you why that's such a big deal. Hopefully you already understand why it's so critical.
If you don't, then you're going to get my latest book and you're going to understand exactly why it's such a big deal.
Once I've done all this, now I'm going to give it to some people, if you have a team, you can give it to members of your team, and have them read through it and point out a few things.
You're looking for awkward wording. I thought I'd done a really great job my first time through, and I was surprised at how many awkward wordings I had left behind. So you can have the people that are reading your book identify awkward wordings.
You can have them look for bad grammar that maybe you missed because you're going through it and you were focusing on higher level stuff. Help them identify that.
Then phrases and concepts that aren'r clear. This is a really important part.
For me, I don't want to disrupt the flow of my book having to explain a phrase or concept that might not be familiar to all my readers. So what I do is I do a footnote.
I put a little footnote in and then, in that footnote, I'll go ahead and explain this far as I need to the concept that maybe wasn't clear for other people.
Sometimes the concept will be one I just need to add a new section book on to explain, so I will do that.
But if it's like they're not really familiar with the word, like CRM, that's a phrase that a lot of people aren't familiar with. If that's the case, then what I'm going to do is I'm just gonna simply do a little footnote and explain that there and that will be enough.
All right, once you've done all nine of these steps, you're ready for the second to last step, which is: give your book a name.
I don't believe in titling a book early on because if you title a book early on, I feel like you're going to paint yourself into a corner. And even though I said at the beginning I want to establish a destination of where I want to take this book, that doesn't mean that I have to be cornered by that.
As I go through the process of refining and creating and doing all this stuff, I may identify, "Hey, this really should be taking people somewhere else." It's okay if you have that progression as you're going through the process. That's why I don't like to title it early on. I give my book a topic, but I don't want to title it until I've really seen as I refined the content and sculpted it, what should it be called?
At that point, I feel like the name will come out a little easier.
But, run the name by a few people. Get their thoughts on it just so that you can get some feedback on what people say.
If you really want to be scientific and you feel like this book has a lot of hinging on it, you could run Facebook ads with the titles and see what people respond to most. But for me, I don't feel like that's necessary. I just want to get my own title on it. That'll be good enough.
Have a cover made.
For having to cover made, go ahead and just send that off to Fiverr or one of those $99 design things. Have somebody else create that, unless you're an artist or a book designer or a topographer. If you're none of those things, then just have somebody else making for you.
Once you know the spirit of what your book is about, I don't stress too much about that, because the truth is, there's a lot of people that spend too much time worrying about stuff that really doesn't make any difference. As long as it looks professional to you, that'll probably be good enough.
That's how I create a book in a nutshell.
Yeah, there are some little nuances, one I thought of just as we're finishing up here that might be valuable to you is because I'm using Mac and I'm using Pages, what I'll do is I'll use the collaboration tool in there. I'll turn on tracking edits.
And what that does is that will allow me to see any changes that people recommend or comments that they have. It's really nice because of the way that Apple has done it, if they have an Apple device and they have access to Pages, they will be able to do that.
If you're not in that environment, then you can use a Google doc to do the same thing, and just not pull it out of the Google Doc and put it into the formatting document until you're done with the whole process of getting the book laid out.
For me, I like to do it in Pages because I get a feel for it, I can start looking at the formatting, and I like to do all that stuff myself because of my writing experience. I really want to make sure I've built in a duel readership path.
A duel readership path is the process of pulling people back into the the copy or the book. It's using titles and bold and italicized and quotes and stuff like that to capture people's interest and bring them back into the book.
Maybe someone is just flipping through it, and if I can capture them as they're flipping through it, then I've got a chance of grabbing them into the book and pulling them all the way in and taking them on the journey that I've got designed for them in the book.
We use this transcription software, it's a Mac software, but there's lots of services you can use out there.
I really feel like one of the best things you can do for yourself is position yourself or your business properly. When you position yourself or your business properly, everything else is easier. When you fail to position yourself properly, everything's harder. You can be doing the exact same things, but positioned well, and they'll be much more fruitful, much more rewarding, because you're actually going to get to have the revenue to make the business fun.
I really encourage you, if you don't already have a book, to to make one, create one, use this process I outlined. You can go pay somebody 25 grand and they'll do this whole process for you, or you can just follow the process and do it yourself.
It does take a little bit of time. If you've got a full-time job and you've got to be working on that, you don't have the luxury of being able to spend full days working on this.
I spent about four full days of work on this over the course of those two weeks and I had that luxury.
If you don't have that luxury, you can do an hour at a time following this process in the evenings and you can get to where you need to be.
Whatever the case may be, I encourage you to try the process, create a book. Even if you don't feel like you can publish it, I would encourage you just to go for it.
This is Ryan Chapman with Fix Your Funnel and, as always, keep moving forward.