Today marks the beginning of the fourth annual Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN) challenge and blog. All over America and possibly the world, nonfiction writers are starting a variety of projects—books, e-books, booklets, articles, essays, information projects, book proposals—with the intention of finishing them in 30 days.
However, while a few WNFIN participants may simply write for the sake of writing, most write to be read. That means they don’t want to simply finish their nonfiction projects; they want to publish them. Some of them may want to self-publish their work or become independent publishers, producing more than one book or e-book. Others may want to create a business revolving around a book or around selling a variety of information products on the Internet. And still others may want to publish their work through traditional channels, finding an agent and then a publishing house to produce what they write.
It doesn’t really matter what publication path WNFIN participants prefer, the first step everyone takes involves writing. And to meet the 30-day deadline they have to write fast—especially if they plan on not only getting a draft finished but editing it as well.
On this first day of WNFIN, I’d like to kick off the month with a post about how to write nonfiction books quickly while also building author platform and handling book promotion. I’m writing about this topic first because it covers the two topics I feel are most important to aspiring authors. This post will be followed by a few more by myself and about 28 guest blog posts written by some of the most highly regarded experts I know.
So, here are four ways to write a book, e-book, article, or any other piece of nonfiction fast while building author platform and promoting your work.
4 Ways to Write Books Fast AND Build Platform and Promote Them
By Nina Amir
Many writers take years to compose their nonfiction books. Most nonfiction entails getting details down on paper. This doesn’t take that long if you know what your book is about, have done your research, and have a handle on what you want to say.
Let’s assume you have taken care of these initial steps. With your research or information in hand and a good thesis or summary statement and outline ready, you can proceed to write your book.
While you are doing so, though, you need to build author platform and promote your work. If you don’t, your chances of selling your book—to readers or to publishers— decrease significantly. An author’s platform is a built-in readership for your book. Publishers expect you to have a platform; they want to know readers are ready and waiting to purchase your book when it is released. If you self-publish your book, you serve as the publisher. Therefore, you want to know you have a platform as well. In both cases, you want to begin promoting a book prior to publication. This helps create “buzz.” Buzz helps sell books.
Here are three fast ways write a book fast while building platform and promoting your work at the same time.
Blog your book. Blogging a book represents the fastest and easiest way to write a book today while building an author’s platform and promoting your book at the same time. The people who read your blog will, in turn, buy your book when published because they liked your blog. As your blog gains in popularity, this promotes the upcoming book.
To blog a book, you begin writing short posts (20-500 words) that consists of small bits of your chapters. You start with your introduction or first chapter and continue moving on through your book. If you write for even 30 minutes, you’ll quickly write a post a day. If you write a 250-word post every day for 30 days, you’ll have written 7,500 words in a month. In six months, you will have composed a 45,000-word book. If you want to finish the book faster, write or publish more posts per day (but not longer posts). You can also schedule the posts so they publish over a longer period of time. For more information on how to blog a book, visit www.howtoblogabook.com.
Write your book with e-zine articles. Much like blogging your book, you can set up your book as small e-zine articles that you can publish in e-zine directories like EzineArticles.com or SubmitYourArticle.com, a service that will submit your article to many directories at once. These services provide content to other content providers. When you post articles to these services, your articles get picked up and republished by bloggers and newsletter publishers who need content. In this way, your content gets read by many people. Additionally, this provides you with a lot of back links, which increases your Google ranking, which means you will be found more easily if someone searches for you on Google.
Each article posted to an e-zine directory has a resource box at the bottom. This allows you to direct readers to your website or blog, so you get additional traffic or readers. You can send readers wherever you like. For example, you can use it to build your mailing list; a large mailing list, like many blog readers, is one spoke in an author’s platform. Or you can use it to fill up your teleseminars on the topic of your upcoming book.
To write your book with e-zine articles, simply outline your book with chapters that answer questions. Then break these down into subheads consisting of other questions. Break these down into sub-sub heads made up of even more questions. Begin answering the questions in 500-600 word articles. Some directories will allow you to write even shorter articles. In this way, you will write your book in short “answers.”
If you write one 500-word article a day, you will write 15,000 words in one month. In just three months you will have written a 45,000-word book. Again, if you want to finish this many words in one month, increase the number or articles you write in one month; sixty 500-word articles in one month equates to a 30,000-word book. That’s enough for a small book.
String articles together into a book. This method actually takes a bit longer, but works just as well. Write a series of articles on the same topic, and get them published on line or in a popular magazine. In this way you will gain expert status. The by lines you receive become part of your author’s platform, and the exposure in the publications promote your upcoming book.
If you create an outline for your book and then write articles that follow that outline, your book naturally flows out of those articles. Here’s how it works: Compose each chapter as an article. Write full chapters and use them as articles. You can break them down into smaller pieces for magazines, if need be. If this feels difficult or seems to take too long, chunk your chapters down into smaller pieces, or articles. Write shorter articles and then string them together into longer chapters. You can definitely write these in shorter time periods.
Speak your book. For those people who feel they aren’t writers but who want to write a book, I suggest they speak their books. You still need to begin by knowing what your book is about, and you must have a format or outline. You can also use the Q & A format mentioned above. Stick to one of these formats, and speak your book using a voice recognition program. Then hire someone (like myself) to edit your transcript into a book or to help with a little ghostwriting to fill in the gaps.
To add in the promotional and platform building elements, use a digital recorder to offer audio clips on your website and blog. Get a digital video recorder and start posting YouTube videos as well. Don’t forget to add them to your blog, or simply create a video blog, one comprised totally of video posts. These can gain many followers quickly, thus providing you with the platform and promotion you need.
About the Author
Nina Amir is a speaker, author, editor, and writing and author coach, and the founder of Write Nonfiction in November. She has five blogs, including Write Nonfiction NOW, How to Blog a Book, and As the Spirit Moves Me, and an on-line Examiner.com column, plus two of her blogs are carried at VibrantNation.com. She uses her 30+ years of experience in the publishing industry to help aspiring authors turn their passion, purpose and potential into publishable products and to navigate what can feel like the long and arduous path to getting published. Join Nina’s mailing list and get a FREE special report (a $10 value), “What’s an Author’s Platform & How Do You Build One?” For more information on Nina’s products or services or to hire Nina as a coach, editor or speaker, go to CopyWright Communications.
Joy Stubbs says
I believe your challenge applies to family history writers as well as other nonfiction writers. I’m taking the challenge and highlighting it on my blog (http://www.familyhistorywritingservice.com/), Thanks, Nina.