10 Tips for Writing a Book In a Year: A Guide For New Authors

A new year is a time for setting taking risks and setting goals. If one of your goals this year is writing a book, you’re not alone. Roughly 80% of Americans say they want to write or publish a book during their lifetime. Giving yourself a year to write your book is the perfect amount of time to develop a concept, create a writing schedule, meet your daily word count goal, and find a publisher.

To help you write (and finish) that book that’s been begging you to be written, here are ten practical tips for writing a book that people will want to read.

Tips for writing a modern-day book

1. Be a rebel (with a cause)

By that I mean don’t be afraid to challenge current standards. Believe me, the same old storyline has been done a million times, so if you are truly committed to writing a book, try to stand out as much as you can.

2. Define your audience

 Technology advances in book publishing have created platforms that make it easy for almost anyone to create a book. The resulting influx of books on the market these days is creating fierce competition. It’s imperative that you know exactly who you are writing this book for, and how you can reach that audience.

3. Get social

Having an active and consistent presence on social media is crucial for growing your audience. Social channels create an opportunity to tap into a community of fellow writers and readers who will help support your book launch and post glowing reviews after they’ve read your book.

4. Create evergreen content

While it’s always good to stay up to date with current events, you don’t need to get too bogged down in the trends. Remember, books can take a while to get published, so deriving your content from a very niche fad will make it become dated before it could even be considered for publication.

5. Be open to feedback

Authors need to have thick skin and a brave heart when putting a book out in the world, so when you seek out advice, you don’t shy away from championing your work. While you might not always hear what you want to hear, remember that all feedback is a gift. 

Tips for writing your book in a year

1. Clarify your vision

A large part of the book publishing process is editorial. If you arrive at the table with a clear vision and precise content to support it, your editor can focus on refining the book’s structure according to best editorial practices.

2. Start with these two things

All authors should start with a table of contents and a fully written chapter. This will give your editor a clear understanding of your content, structure, tone, and writing style. It also gives you a map for writing the rest of the book, making your work easier and faster.

3. Writing is a practice

Most people think of writing as an art. But I beg to differ. Even the most talented “artists” have to practice their skills to keep them honed. Taking even short periods of time to exercise your writing brain, will improve your overall skill set when it comes to writing a book.

4. Consider the format

Before you start planning your book, ask yourself how is this book actually going to be sold? Publishers usually follow general formatting guidelines based on the type of book it is, so don’t expect to write a 60-page picture book or base your self-help writing around full-color illustrations.

5. Do your research.

This should go without saying but every agent is different, as is every publisher. When it comes to getting your manuscript in the right hands, find out how people want to be approached. Taking your time to do this tiny step will make it much easier for those influential people to help you out.

Let’s make this year, the year you finally write your book! It will take time, determination, and courage. But if you follow these ten tips, you will have what it takes to get the job done. Just imagine: a year from now, you could be holding your first manuscript or even your first published book!

10 Tips for Writing a Book In a Year: A Guide For New Authors

This guest post was authored by Angela Engel

Angela Engel grew up in Minneapolis, MN, and now lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and three daughters. She worked in traditional publishing for many years, at award-winning presses such as Chronicle Books, Ten Speed Press, and Cameron + Company, but launched her own publishing company in 2019. With The Collective Book Studio, Engel has the opportunity to provide authors the support they need to get a book out into the world, from start to finish.

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