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Authorship Fiction Marketing Nonfiction Time Management Writing

Your Author Tool Kit

A collection of books to help you prep, begin, or enhance your writing project.


If you’re one of those people who has been talking about writing a book, but never started, there is a new collection available that’s got your name on it! This set of works can event guide you as you start or if you’re in the middle of your literary project.

The Author Tool Kit is a collection of works by experienced literary professionals like myself who want to help you transition into the world of being a writer as smoothly as possible. 

The main thing most new authors are lacking is knowledge. They have the desire, they have the drive, they’ll make the time, and they have the hardware (keyboard, laptop, tablet, etc.) and software (word processor) to get their book done. They just need the insights of someone who has been through it all before to help them with some of the details. 

Included in this collection: 

  • Ditch the Fear and Just Write It!
  • The Newbie’s Guide to Book Development
  • The Indie Writer’s Handbook
  • Do Less, Write More
  • Time Management for Writers
  • Top Ten Tips for Enhancing Your Creativity 
  • Writing as a Business: Production, Distribution, and Marketing
  • Pantsers Plotting and Planning Workbook
  • Writing Day In and Day Out
  • Write Like a Boss

and twelve more helpful pieces on everything from following the “show, don’t tell” rule to writing sex scenes. 

Take a look at the collection now and choose your buys based on where you are in your writing journey! 

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Fiction Nonfiction Time Management Writing

Should I create a book outline?

Now that you’ve come up with your book premise (see our post on this topic, if you haven’t), you may be wondering if an outline is your next step. You have a lot of options when it comes to creating a book outline (including not creating one at all). Here’s a quick overview of what an outline does and why you may or may not want to use one.

Point One: Outlines Take Time To Create

One downside of using an outline is that it adds to your book creation time. If you’re on an insanely tight schedule for some reason, you may shy away from creating an outline, especially if you’ve never done it before. But outlines can be created in as little as ten minutes, depending upon how detailed you want them to be. With the amount of benefits outlines have to offer, you’re likely to find that this small inconvenienceis worth the “trouble.”


Point Two: Outlines Help You Create a Cleaner First Draft


You create your book outline by considering the setting, characters, and plot points you want included in the piece. Because you have done this in list form, it is easier to see when something doesn’t make sense. An outline gives you a bird’s eye view of the plot. This allows you to recognize everything from plot holes to character inconsistencies before you even start creating the narrative. That means these mistakes never make it into your first draft (which means they won’t need to be edited out later).


Point Three: Outlines Help You Finish Your Manuscript More Quickly


When you’ve already charted the course of your writing before you get started, it becomes nearly impossible to get lost, write yourself into a corner, or feel stuck. When you remove these time-consuming issues from writing, it becomes a faster, easier, less-frustrating task. The idea of shaving hours, if not weeks, off of your writing schedule is nothing to sneeze at. You’re likely excited about the prospect of having your published book in your (and other people’s) hands. So getting to that point in the process more quickly, while increasing the quality of your work, is a win-win!

Point Four: Outlines and Synopses are BFFs

If you have created an outline for your book, you have everything you need for a summary or synopsis. Summaries and synopses are used all throughout the book promotion process, whether you’re submitting a query letter or creating a description for your product page. Because you have essentially done this up front, once you’re done writing the book, the blurb, summary, and synopsis (with a few adjustments to the wording) are pretty much complete.


In Conclusion: Should I Create a Book Outline?

The answer is “maybe.” If you’ve been finishing and publishing manuscripts at a steady pace that you’re satisfied with, as well as a level of quality that your readers appreciate, creating a book outline isn’t something that’s strictly necessary for you. If you have struggled to complete a manuscript (for example, you’ve been working on the same one for more than a year with little or no progress), I would encourage you to at least give outlining a shot. Other than taking a little extra time to develop, there’s no heinous downside to creating a book outline, and the benefits may be just what you need to finally finish your manuscript.

Categories
Authorship Time Management Writing

How long does it take to write a book?

There are a lot of variables that go into figuring out how long is “too long” to take to write a book. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but understanding some of these considerations can help give you a better idea of how close you are to being finished (or how far behind you are).


DEFINING “FINISHED”

When is your book manuscript complete? Some say the moment the first draft is completed. Others don’t count a book manuscript as being “finished” until it has been self-revised, developmentally edited, fact-checked (if applicable), line edited, and copy edited, with a title, query letter, synopsis, and author bio to match. Just about any definition is valid, you just need to choose what your personal finish line looks like. For most people, considering your manuscript finished once you’ve reached your goal word count for the first draft is an appropriate definition. 

Preventable Delays

There are people who take as little as a week to write a 40,000-word (novel-length) manuscript. There are people who have been working on the same manuscript for over a year. There are a lot of “justifiable” delays to completion, but most people run into issues with the easily preventable delays. So let’s go over those first.

Hating to write

I know it sounds bizarre (🤯) but there are people in the world who absolutely loathe writing. I have a couple of them in my own family (though I’m pretty sure I wasn’t adopted). If you hate to write, but are excited about the idea of writing and publishing a book, delays are bound to ensue. This is likely because every time you sit down to write, it feels like a huge burden. Therefore, you do it less often than you could and it takes longer to get finished.

Possible fixes include:

► Hiring a ghostwriter

► Speaking your manuscript into a voice recorder and sending it to a transcription service for typing.

Diddling (yes, diddling)

Going around in circles over one thing or another appears to be a common preventable delay for authors. Once you realize and accept the fact that there is no such thing as a perfect manuscript (and therefore no such thing as a perfect book) you can rest a little easier. Trying to get every aspect of your book to meet some random standard you’ve created for yourself is exhausting. The attempt itself is a great way to pass time without producing anything of value (a.k.a. diddling). And because perfection (and often simple satisfaction with what you’ve written) can never be achieved, you’re ALWAYS “writing a manuscript” and never “wrote a book.

Possible fixes include:

► Putting a finite limit on when you will move forward to the next step in the process (after two rounds of self-revisions, at 75,000 words, May 15th, etc.).

► Daily affirmations that your <<INSERT ISSUE HERE (plot, cover, characters, world-building, etc.)>> will be ready to move to the next step as soon as you hit whatever limit you set in the first bullet. “I’m sending it to the editor in two days because I’ve done all I can and it’s ready to move forward (as am I).” 
“I’m sending it to the editor tomorrow, no matter what.” “Developmental editing begins in 10,000 words and that’s a good thing that I’m excited about.”

Not making time to write

In The 12-Month Manuscript we outline how you can complete a first draft of your book within less than a year writing only five minutes each day. If you don’t have five minutes of down time on a daily basis, you have much bigger problems than not finishing a manuscript (and you should probably address those first). Otherwise, your issue is likely not that you don’t have time to write a manuscript, but that you haven’t put any effort into making time to write a manuscript. Even if it means taking a fake bathroom break at the same time every day and using those five minutes to type a couple of hundred words on your phone, that’s doable for nearly everyone who claims they want to be an author.


Possible fixes include:

► Setting up a designated writing time each day (five minutes or more).
► Scheduling a dedicated writing hour each week (on your least busy day).
► LAST RESORT: Hiring a ghostwriter.


Standard Delays

Depending upon the kind of book that you’re writing, it may be necessary to take what seems like a long time to write it. In situations like this, it’s most helpful to (1) understand and accept the idea that it will take however long it takes and (2) be as patient as you can.

Research

Research can include investigating a crime, interviewing a series of celebrities, or even engaging in an experiment of some kind (think Supersize Me or Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead). Research can delay manuscript completion by months or even years because you have to wait to get the information you need so you can use it in the book. If you thought it was necessary to get this information in order to write the book, it will likely be worth the wait. Practice patience and know that it will all come together in the end to create your unique vision for the piece.

Legal Stuff

You may be writing a book that involves getting permission to use certain photographs, transcripts, likenesses, etc. Unfortunately, this can often mean submitting a request for something and waiting weeks or months to get a response. And if said response is negative, you must either rework your plan for the book, or appeal the decision if you can. Either way, it adds to the length of time it will take to finish your writing.


How long does it take to write a book? It depends.

The genre and scope of your book have a lot to do with how long it takes to finish. But it’s helpful to recognize which delays you have control over and which you don’t. Do all you can to prevent delays if possible. When you’re forced to sit back and wait, do that with the knowledge that the pause in progress will be worth it in the end.