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The Beginner’s Guide to Writing a Book for the First Time

December 29, 2021 (Last Updated December 29, 2021)

Marcy G.

Writing a book for the first time can be quite an invigorating experience. After all, being able to effectively translate a captivating plot from your imagination to paper that draws your audience in, is a level of success that every author dreams of achieving. But, if there is one thing for sure, writing a book for the first time takes a lot of focus, planning, discipline, and a solid book template structure to make it happen. Since starting your self-publishing journey is often the most challenging part, below is a step-by-step guide that can help make your first published book a powerful (and profitable) one.


Choose a Subject/Genre You’re Passionate About

When writing a book for the first time (or any time for that matter), always be sure that it is on a genre or topic you are passionate about. It can be tempting to write a book in a genre that sells faster, such as romance and science fiction, but it is going to be extremely hard to finish if it is something you are not 100% passionate about. This profit-only approach can also lead to messy writing, rather than taking the proper time to construct a compelling piece.


In short, writing is a labor of love. Write something you can find joy in from start to finish. Readers can notice the difference between an author who is passionate about their work and ones who are not. 


Study Similar Books

If you know exactly the type of book you want to write, consider reading others that are in the same wheelhouse. Read through their content and study how they portrayed their characters and painted the plot picture. Of course, don't copy these books, but use them as a way to see how you can apply similar approaches in your own writing to help attract readers and pull them in. You can also examine pitfalls in these books to potentially improve your own storyline.


Create Your Character and Plot Outline

Next, and likely the most important prewriting step, is creating your character and plot outlines. During this phase, write out what type of characters you want to have in your story, including their personalities and features. Then, make a start to finish plot outline that includes major events and twists so you can use it as landmarks to stay on track when you begin writing.


Keep in mind that this outline step is here to keep you motivated and on the right path to make a seamless story flow. However, as you begin writing you are more than free to adjust it as you see fit if something doesn’t line up the way you were hoping it would.  


Develop a Writing Space and Routine

Now for the fun part; writing. For this, the best advice that any seasoned author would give is to develop a writing space that does not have any distractions and create a writing routine/goal to meet each day. For example, aim to write 500-1000 words per day (or more) so you can stay on track with your publishing date objectives. Another thing to be mindful of is to steer clear of verbosity and remind yourself that your first draft doesn't have to be perfect.


Bonus Tip: To avoid the frustration of structural editing and adjusting, consider using one of our free book templates to help you along. Not only will this make your cover-to-cover story much more organized, but it will also save you an abundance of time on manual restructuring once you’re ready to print.


Hire an Expert Editor/Proofreader

Again, your first draft does not need to be perfect. However, your final book does and that is where hiring an expert editor and proofreader comes into play. Naturally, you should proofread and edit your own work, but having fresh and professional editing eyes adds an extra layer of confidence that nothing has fallen through the cracks. Check out our book editing resources and contact a professional editor directly. Having your book professionally edited can give you peace of mind knowing that your first book will be error-proof by the time it reaches the shelves. 


Remember, the story content itself is the heart of your book and what will help it become successful. So, an investment like this is well worth it and can increase your chances of making your first book a statement-making one.


Create a Good Book Cover

The old saying is true - people really do judge a book by its cover. Because of that, be sure that you put time and attention into the aesthetics of your book cover. You can do this yourself or optimize your results by hiring a professional designer to work on it with you. Whatever you choose, just be sure that your book cover accurately reflects the storyline you have just written and is unique enough to make it stand out from others around it. An attention-grabbing cover can be one of your best marketing tools.   


Establish a Solid Marketing Plan

Last but not least, don't forget to create a marketing plan. This should include your budget, where you are going to market your book, and if you are going to do any free giveaways or host book events pre/post-publishing to help gain initial sales. You could have the best and most amazing book out there, but no one will know about it if you don’t market it properly. If you need some tips on how to market your book, we have marketing resources you can reference to help curate your strategy.  


Summary – Every Successful Author Started Somewhere

All in all, writing a book for the first time takes an unimaginable amount of motivation, determination, and resources to ensure that your final product is publish-worthy. No, there are no “rules” on what you can or cannot write, but these fundamental guidelines and processes above are things that every self-publishing aspirer should follow to create the best foundation.


In summary, books certainly don’t write themselves and every reputable author had to start somewhere. As long as you have the drive to pursue this passion to the end and know the right approaches to follow along the way, then you can be confident that you are already miles ahead of those that do not.


Are you ready (and slightly eager) to finally take your saleable work of art to the shelves? If so, don’t hesitate to contact 48 Hour Books today to ensure that the next leg of your self-publishing journey will be nothing but successful.

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