How to Write a Book in 13 Amazingly Simple Steps

For many people, writing a reserve is a lifelong dream. indeed, as we reveal in our print podcast Bestseller, roughly 80 % of Americans have wanted to write and publish a ledger at some bespeak — but fewer than 0.1 % have actually done it .
so what ’ s the mysterious formula that will unlock your creativity and show you how to write a book that will make your dreams come true ? Some authors would tell you that there is no one path to authorship, as every writer ’ s journey is singular .
We ’ five hundred anticipate with this : about every bestselling writer will have highly effective write patterns and habits that help them reach their goals. If you want to write a book of your very own, all you have to do is emulate them !
here ‘s the simple bit-by-bit work to write a book :

Let ‘s get started .

1. Start the writing process with a strong book idea

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The one thing you absolutely need to write a book is, of course, an mind. If you do n’t have that, you ‘ll never get past the first page of your draft .
You may already know what you want to write about, or you may be at a full loss. Either manner, you can settle on a “ big book theme ” by asking yourself a few childlike questions :

  • What do I want to write about?
  • What do I feel is important to write about?
  • Who will want to read about this story/subject?
  • Will I be able to carry out this idea effectively?

Your answers to these questions will help you narrow it down to your best options. For exercise, if you have respective different ideas for a book, but only one that you ‘re sincerely passionate about and feel you can pull off, then voilà — there ‘s your precede !
On the other hand, if you lack ideas, these questions should steer you in a firmer direction. Think about the kinds of books you love to read, a well as books that have made a significant affect on you. In all likelihood, you ‘ll want to write a record in a similar vein .
If you ‘re very grasping at chaff, consider using creative write prompts or even a plot generator to get the ball rolling ! You might stumble upon an matter to concept or report chemical element that sparks a “ big mind ” for your reserve. ( And if you ‘re hush sterile evening after trying these tools, you may want to reconsider whether you very want to write a bible after all. )

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2. Read books by other authors for research

once you ‘ve found your big idea, the future step is to research your genre. Again, if you ‘re writing the kind of book you like to read, you already have a leg up ! Reading books in your writing style is by far the best means to learn how to write in that genre yourself .
But if not, you ‘ll want to select a couple of representative titles and analyze them. How long are they and how many chapters do they have ? What does the fib structure expect like ? What are the major themes ? possibly most importantly, do you think you can produce a book with alike elements ?

Find out what people are reading

You should besides conduct market research on Amazon to determine the most popular books in your writing style. If you want your book to succeed, you ‘ll have to contend with these bestsellers. Go to the Amazon Best Sellers page and find your genre in the lefthand sidebar :
How to write a book: what you need to know about bestsellers in your category.
then read those books ‘ endorsement to figure out what truly sells. What do they all have in common, and why might readers find them appealing ? Does your book hold up to these standards ?
finally, think about how your script can offer something NEW. For example, if you ‘re writing a psychological thriller, will there be a particularly furtive unreliable narrator, or possibly a series of twists that the lector never sees coming ? If you ‘re writing a nonfiction book, do you have a alone take on the subject, or a particularly deep good of cognition ? And so on .
Going above and beyond is the only way to give your book a casual in today ‘s hyper-competitive market. so do n’t skimp on the music genre research, because this will tell you where the bar is and how you can surpass it .

3. Outline the story

Before you write a book, you need to write an outline.
You don’t have to structure it as a rollercoaster, but your outline should look something like this.

If you want to write a great report, you need to outline it beginning. This is particularly important if it ‘s your first book, since you need a solid blueprint to rely on when you get stuck ! ( Because believe us, you will get stick. )

Get our Book Development Template

Use this template to go from a obscure idea to a solid plan for a first draft .

so how do you go about creating that outline for your book ? We actually have a whole early mail on the subject, but here are the essentials :

  • Pick a format that works for you. There are so many different types of outlines: the free-flowing mind map, the rigorous chapter-and-scene outline, the character-based outline, and so on. If one approach doesn’t work for you, try another! Any kind of plan is better than none.
  • Have a beginning, middle, and end. Way too many authors go into writing a book with a strong notion of how their story should start… yet their middle is murky and their ending, nonexistent. Take this time to flesh them out and connect them to one another. Remember: the best books have endings that feel “earned,” so you should try to be building toward it from the start!
  • Consider your conflict points. Conflict is at the heart of any good book — it draws in the reader, conjures tension and emotion, and ultimately reflects the themes and/or message you want to convey. You don’t have to know exactly where your conflict will manifest, but you should have a pretty good grasp of how it works throughout your book.
  • Get to know your characters. If you haven’t done much character development yet, your outline is the perfect opportunity to do so. How will your characters interact in the story, and how will these interactions demonstrate who they are and what matters to them?

Reedsy ’ s Character Profile Template

A floor is alone a potent as its characters. Fill this out to develop yours .

4. Plan the opening sentence of your book

Let ‘s get into the actual write and make a dent in your first gulp. One of the most significant parts of writing a book is starting the history ! It ‘s no exaggeration to say your first few pages can make or break your book — if these pages are n’t good enough, many readers will lose interest, possibly never returning to your book again .
First off, you need an open hook that grabs the reader ‘s attention and makes it impossible for them to look away. Take a look at the first lines of these hit bestsellers :

“ Mr and Mrs Dursley, of total four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. ” — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer ‘s stone

“ Renowned curator Jacques Saunière staggered through the vault arch of the museum ‘s Grand Gallery. ” — The Da Vinci Code

“ If all the Saturdays of 1982 can be thought of as one day, I met Tracey at 10 ante meridiem on that Saturday, walking through the arenaceous gravel of a churchyard, each holding our beget ‘s hand. ” — Swing Time

All of these books fall into unlike genres, yet all their opening lines do the lapp thing : capture the subscriber ‘s attention. You can imitate them by making a similarly firm, slightly furtive statement in your undoer !
From there, your job is to maintain the subscriber ‘s concern by heightening the stakes and inciting the plot. You should besides make the proofreader manage about the chief characters by giving them discrete personalities and motivations. ( note that “ main ” is a key descriptor here ; never introduce more than a couple of characters at a time ! )
Of path, there are space ways to write your first chapter. You might have to experiment with lots of different open lines, even opening scenes, to find the right balance — but it ‘s worth the campaign to set the stage perfectly .
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5. Write the first draft

how to write a book - plot, story and theme arae like an iceberg
Like layers of an iceberg, these elements build on each other, even if you can’t always see them.

many writers believe that the key to writing an amaze reserve is style : impressive vocabulary, elaborate sentences, figural terminology that would make Shakespeare faint .
We ‘re here to dissuade you of that impression. While expressive style is big ( vitamin a long as your prose does n’t start to become imperial ), substance is far more crucial when writing a book — hence why you should focus primarily on your plot, characters, conflict ( mho ), and themes .

Make sure your book is all killer, no filler

Of course, that ‘s easier said than done, specially once you ‘ve already started writing. When you get to a patchily outlined section, it ‘s tempting to keep compose and fill out the page with literary gymnastics. But that ‘s precisely what this content is : filler. And if you have besides much of it, readers will become thwart and start to think you ‘re ostentatious .
This is another reason why delineate is so authoritative. You need to KNOW your story in order to stay on track with it ! But besides draft, here are a few more tips for making kernel a priority :

  • Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action. This advice comes straight from Kurt Vonnegut, and it’s 100% true: if a sentence doesn’t accomplish one or both of those things, try removing it. If the passage still makes sense, leave it out.
  • Be conscious of your pacing. Slow pacing is a symptom of excess description. If the events of your book seem to move like molasses, you’re probably using too much style and not enough substance.
  • Use a writing tool to reduce flowery language. Speaking of great American novelists, Hemingway is a fantastic tool to help you write like the man himself! Simply paste your writing into the app and Hemingway will suggest ways to make your prose more concise and effective.


Tell us about your book, and we’ll give you a writing playlist

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Keep readers in mind while writing

Want to write a bible that people will truly enjoy ( and buy ) ? Well, this is pretty much the cardinal principle : you should always be thinking about your consultation and trying to write “ reader-first. ”
For case, sometimes you ‘ll have to write scenes that are n’t identical stimulate, but that serve the overall story discharge. Do n’t rush through these scenes merely to get them over with ! even if they do n’t seem interesting to you, they contribute to the proofreader ‘s experience by building tension and preserving the pace — and the reader deserves to relish those things .

Create ‘fake’ people who will want to read your book

When considering your readership, you should besides keep a proto-persona in mind for market purposes. These are manufacture personalities that marketers use to better understand their target customers. The more your book can cater to this conjectural subscriber, the easier it will be to sell !

possibly you ‘re writing a true-crime account for avid true crime readers. such readers will have pored over countless condemnable cases before, so you need to include unique details to make your case stand out, and craft an extra-compelling narrative to engage them .

6. Set word count goals for direction

How to write book: Focus your writing time with a daily word count goal.
Make sure your word count goals are realistic and reachable. (Image: Unsplash)

Let ‘s move on to hardheaded ways that you can improve your writing habits. Word count goals play a huge part in creating an effective write process, specially if you ‘re trying to finish your book in a certain amount of prison term .
You should create bible count goals for both your individual sessions and per week — or per calendar month, if that ‘s how you prefer to think about your publish end product. For relatively novitiate writers, we ‘d recommend the follow give voice count goals :

  • 500-750 words per day
  • 1,500-2,500 words per week
  • 6,000-10,000 words per month

These goals are based on a pattern of 3-4 sessions per week, which is fair for a founder, but still enough to make admirably progress. evening if you alone follow our minimum recommendations — 500 words per seance at 3 sessions per workweek — you can still easily finish your book in less than a year !

Speeding up the writing process

If you ‘re looking for how to write a reserve equally fast as possible, your word count goals should look a short more like this :

  • 1,500-2,000 words per session
  • 9,000-15,000 words per week
  • 35,000-50,000 words per month

The figures above adhere roughly to NaNoWriMo, the event in which participants write an median of 1,667 words/day to complete a 50,000-word book in one calendar month. It ‘s heavily work, but it ‘s decidedly possible to write a book that quickly ; hundreds of thousands of people do then every year !
But as any generator who ‘s done NaNo can attest, it ‘s besides a reasonably arduous feel. Most authors find it exhausting to write such great quantities for so many days in a course — and they hush have to edit abundantly once they ‘re done .
If this is your first book, make sure you take your time, set accomplishable word goals, and gradually build to bigger goals … which is where our future point comes in .

7. Use writing sessions to establish a schedule

Having a healthy writing act is the only way you ‘ll actually hit those give voice count goals — not to mention it fosters a better relationship with writing overall ! To establish a goodly act, ask yourself these baseline questions first :

  • When do I have the most free time in the day/week?
  • What time of the day do I tend to be most productive?
  • How can I space out my writing sessions effectively?
  • Will I realistically be able to balance my writing goals with other responsibilities?

The best way to set up your routine is to take advantage of your preexistent agenda and natural patterns. sol for exemplar, if you already go to the gymnasium on Tuesdays and Thursdays, possibly the best clock time to write would be on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Or if you find yourself most creative deep at night ( many of us do ! ), you can plan late-night sessions over the weekend/before your day off, so you can sleep in the adjacent day .
ultimately, you precisely want a well-balanced write everyday that facilitates productiveness, however keeps you from burning out. If you find that writing for respective days in a row is besides much for you, space out your sessions more or try to shake things up by moving to a modern writing space. If you ca n’t keep up with your goals, it ‘s o to reduce them a little .
Yes, writing a set is significant, but it ‘s not more important than your mental health ! Remember that writing a book is a marathon, not a dash, and that a consistent, healthy set about is absolutely critical. here are some tips for making the most of your writing routine .

Don’t skip more than one session in a row

Life happens, and sometimes you wo n’t be able to make a design writing session. however, unless it ‘s a good emergency, you should try to get back in the saddle for your future session. otherwise, you ‘ll lose excessively much progress and feel discouraged, which typically leads to skipping even more spell sessions, and finally giving up .

Track your progress

Screenshot of the Reedsy Book Editor showing daily progress bars and an overall wordcount
With our free write app, the Reedsy Book Editor, you ‘ll see the numbers update automatically depending on your natural process : you ‘ll see how many words you added and deleted on any given sidereal day. Depending on the overall goal you set for your manuscript, you ‘ll besides see your casual targets adjust depending on how much you ‘ve written then far .

Use a site blocker to stay focused

distraction is the enemy of act, and the biggest beguilement in our modern world is the Internet. To that end, download a site-and-app blocker to use during your writing sessions so you wo n’t be enticed by social media or adorable computerized tomography memes. We ‘d recommend Freedom, as you can schedule blockage sessions in boost and even keep racetrack of your productiveness within the app .

How to Build a solid Writing Routine

In 10 days, learn to change your habits to support your writing .

8. Find a good writing space

Another major part of how to write a bible is where you write, hence why it gets a branch section. If you want to complete an entire book, you absolutely must find a calm air, focused outer space for your publish .
This may be in your house, a coffee bean patronize, a library, a co-working space — wherever you can work productively and without interruptions. It should besides be a place that you can access well and go often. Working from home is the most convenient choice in this sense, but it may be difficult if you have kin around, or if you do n’t have a designated “ room of one ‘s own ” ( i.e. an actual office, or at least a desk ) .

What does a good writing space look like?

Try out different locations to see what works for you. indeed, you may find that you like to rotate write spaces because it keeps you energetic and your writing fresh ! But wherever you go, do your best to make the space :

  • Quiet (noise-canceling headphones can be very helpful)
  • Clean (no clutter, especially if you do chores to procrastinate)
  • Non-distracting (nothing too fun around to tempt you away from writing; turn off your phone so other people won’t bother you)
  • Your own (cultivate a nice atmosphere in your home office with posters and plants, or simply take the same seat at your local café every time — truly carve out a “dedicated writing space”)

9. Pick a “distraction-free” book writing software

We ‘ve already talked about a few unlike pieces of software to help you with writing a koran. But if you have n’t found the right app or broadcast even, never fear — there ‘s plenty more where those came from !
Book writing software is a subject we ‘ve actually written an entire post about, but it ‘s deserving touching on a few of our favored write tools here :

Scrivener 🖋️

Scrivener is the downloadable writing software of choice for many writers, and for good reason : it has an exceptional interface and tons of utilitarian features. You can outline chapters with its drag-and-drop system, create labels for elements you want to track, and use assorted templates to plan AND format your ledger. If you want to feel like a true professional, you ca n’t go wrong with Scrivener — and it ‘s even free to try for 30 days .

Milanote 💭

Or if you ‘re not much for outlines because your thoughts are all over the identify, Milanote can help. The super-flexible interface allows you to “ mind map ” barely as you would longhand, and rearrange different sections as you please. When writing, you can see all your notes at once, so you do n’t have to stress about forgetting things. It ‘s a identical bracing, intuitive way overture that ‘s worth a attempt for all disorganized authors .

FocusWriter ✍️

Speaking of intuitive, what ‘s more intuitive than plainly writing on a man of composition, no distractions — equitable like the old days ? Meet FocusWriter, which allows you to do precisely that. The full-screen default option interface is a sheet of newspaper on a wooden desk : no bells, no whistles, no distractions any. seriously, this one will get you in the zone .

The Reedsy Book Editor 📖

We could n’t leave out one of the coolest password process, editing, and format tools on the market ! All jokes aside, the RBE lets you cleanly format your book as you go, so you can watch it take human body in real-time. You can besides add sections for front man matter and back matter and invite collaborators to edit your text. Plus you can toggle on goal reminders to make sure that you ‘re on track with your writing schedule. Once you finish writing, you can export the files of your book. But do n’t take our bible for it : you can try the RBE for free right here .

Reedsy’s #1 Writing Software

We designed a write app for authors and it ’ s loose to use. Sign up now and start writing your book .



Learn how Reedsy can help you craft a beautiful reserve .

10. Trust your writer’s instinct 

how to write a book: start writing and stay motivated
Writing buddies can be incredible motivation when writing a book. (Image: Unsplash)

Getting into the groove of writing a reserve can be difficult. When there are a million different things to distract and discourage you, how can you keep going with your writing everyday and finish your book ?
Based on ours and other writers ‘ experience, here are a few motivational strategies for you to try :

  • Make a list of reasons why you want to write a book. Having a tangible reminder of your true purpose is one of the best ways to motivate yourself, so think hard: Do you want to send an important message? Reach a certain group of people? Or do you simply yearn to tell this particular story? Write down all your reasons and keep them as an ace in the hole for when your motivation dwindles.
  • Find someone else to write with you. Getting a writing buddy is another great way to stay motivated! For one thing, you get some camaraderie during this process; for another, it means you can’t slack off too much. So ask your writer friends if they’d like to meet up regularly, or join an online writing community. With the latter, just make sure you exchange progress updates and proof that you’re actually writing!
  • Reward yourself at important milestones. Sometimes the best motivation is the prospect of treating yourself. If you respond well to this kind of motivation, set a goal, a deadline, and a reward for meeting it: “If I can write 10,000 more words by the end of the month, I’ll go out for an amazing, fancy dinner with all my friends.” This kind of goal is also helpful because you can tell your friends about it, and that very act will hold you accountable.

For even more advice on how to staying motivated through the write summons, check out this Reedsy Live from author and writing coach Kevin Johns !

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Don’t give up

Remember how we said you ‘d inescapably get stuck ? Well, that ‘s what this dance step is all about : what to do when you hit a wall. Whether it ‘s a slippery plot hole, an onslaught of insecurity, or a dim-witted lack of desire to write, all writers experience setbacks from fourth dimension to time .
There are countless ways to overcome writer ‘s pulley, from freewriting to working on your characters to taking a exhibitor ( yes, that ‘s a legitimate tip ! ). however, here are some of the most effective techniques we ‘ve found :

  • Revisit your outline. This will jog your memory as to planned story elements you’ve forgotten — which may help you find the missing piece.
  • Try writing exercises. It’s possible you just need to get the words flowing, and then you can jump get right back into your book. Luckily for you, we have a whole host of great writing exercises right here!
  • Share your experience with friends. This is another great role for your writing buddy to fill, but you can easily talk about writer’s block with your non-writing friends, too. If you’re struggling, it always helps to vent and bounce ideas off other people.
  • Take a short break to do something else. Yes, sometimes you need to step away from the keyboard and clear your head. But don’t take more than a day or so, or else you’ll lose momentum and motivation.

Most of all, remember to take setbacks in stride and not let them get you down. adenine bromidic as that might sound, it ‘s true : the only thing that can stop you from writing a book is if you, well, stop write. thus keep calm air and have a bun in the oven on — every day brings fresh opportunity and you ‘ll get through this .

11. Finish writing the first draft

Ending a bible is no easy tax, and poor third-act plot is one of the most common authorial pitfalls. ( Cough cough, Stephen King. ) hopefully, you came up with a solid ending, or at least a few possibilities, back when you were outlining your koran ! But that wo n’t prevent you from another ending-related endanger : rush through the ending .
The fact is, tied if you ‘ve got a great ending for your book, you ‘re going to be exhausted by the time you get there. You ‘ll probably precisely want to dash it off and be done .
Resist the urge to do sol ! Just as your readers deserve thoughtful write and consistent pace throughout the narrative, they deserve the lapp hera, even if it ‘s about over .
On that notice, take your clock with the ending. Again, ideally, you ‘ve been building to it this wholly time ; if not, consider how you might go bet on and add some bode. Try tacking on a few different endings to see which fits best. And if you ‘re calm at a loss, see what other people say about how your bible should end ( which segues perfectly into our future topple ) .

12. Edit the manuscript

how to write a book, step 14: get feedback
Don’t take feedback too personally; it’ll improve your book in the long run. (Image: Unsplash)

You can write all day, all night, to your heart ‘s capacity … but if no one else likes what you ‘ve written, you might end up heartbroken rather. That ‘s why it ‘s crucial to request feedback on your book, starting early and from as many sources as possible .
Begin by asking your friends and chap writers to read fair a few chapters at a time. however, apply their suggestions not only to those chapters, but wherever relevant. For example, if one of your friends says, “ [ Character A ] is acting eldritch in this scene, ” wage extra attention to that fictional character to ensure you have n’t misrepresented them anywhere else .
once your book is finished, you ‘re ready for some more intensive feedback. Consider getting a beta proofreader to review your entire ledger and provide their thoughts. You may want to hire an editor program to give you professional feedback american samoa well. ( Find out about the different types of edit, and which type your book might need, in this post. )
last, it might sound obvious, but we ‘ll say it anyhow for all you stubborn writers out there : feedback is useless if you do n’t actually listen to it. separate yourself from your self and do n’t take anything personally, because no one wants to offend you — they ‘re fair trying to help .

13. Publish your book for readers to buy

You ’ ve persevered to the end at last : brainstormed, outlined, and written a first draft that you ‘ve edited extensively ( based on feedback, of course ). Your book has taken its final form, and you couldn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be prouder. So what comes following ?

well, if you ’ ve taken our advice about catering to your target readers, you may equally well give publishing a shoot ! We have a fully scout to publishing right here — and if you ’ re thinking about traditional publication, read this article to decide which is right for you .

Get help from publishing professionals

publish is another rigorous procedure, of class. But if you ’ ve come this far to find out how to write a reserve, you can pretty much do anything ! Invest in leading cover design, study up on market, or start writing an irresistible question letter that will get you an offer .
Whichever route you take, one thing will remain true : you ’ ve written a book, and that ’ s an incredible accomplishment. Welcome to the 0.1 % — and may the adjacent book you write be even greater than the first. 📖

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