We all want to write a book, don’t we? After all, that’s what makes us experts, right? If there’s one thing that successful entrepreneurs should want to know is how to write a book. If you’ve never completed a book project but want to, you may be stuck in the “where do I start” phase. In fact, that phase could last forever if we ignore it, and we simply don’t want that to happen.
No checklist . . . yet
Rather than provide you with a menacing checklist, I’m going to start a series of posts describing the project management disciplines or management buckets you can expect to tap into to get it done. After that, we can talk about checklist. By then, you’ll have some meat on the bone and the motivation to complete the process.
The Management Disciplines
So, what are these management buckets? They are the management disciplines recognized by most project managers. I will build them out from a writer’s perspective. Each article in the series will be titled accordingly. We’ll get the first bucket, Integration Management, out of the way today since it’s a great introduction to Project Management. But first, here’s the list of buckets with links to each article:
- Integration Management-Understanding the project view.
- Scope Management-How big should your book be?
- Time Management-How long will it take to write my book?
- Cost Management-How much will it cost to write my book?
- Quality Management-How perfect does my book need to be?
- Human Resources Management-Can I publish a book by myself?
- Risk Management-What happens if something goes wrong with my book?
- Procurement Management-How do I get the help I need with my book?
- Stakeholder Management-Who has an interest in the book?
I will then wrap up the series with a bonus article about Lessons Learned-How to avoid repeating mistakes on your next book?
And, so we begin. Integration Management is not a term that most authors would use or understand. But looking at the overall landscape of your idea is essential to knowing how to start a writing project—more specifically, how to start writing a book and get is published.
If you’re contemplating the idea of how to start the process of writing a book, you’ve got all these random thoughts running through your mind anyway; you may as well capture them in some written form—a project plan. The project plan is where we capture all aspects of the task at hand. For authors, that task is writing a book. Also, authors don’t typically refer to it as a project plan. If you’ve been around the writing industry at all, you know we refer to this plan as a book proposal.
If you plan to pitch your book to agents or publishers, your book proposal will need to be a formal document, formatted to the preference of the recipient. But I suspect most of us are indie authors and won’t require the formality. A simple checklist will do. Here is a list of the data (whether structured or not) you should capture during the process of brainstorming your book.
Book Proposal Template
- Title (or working title)
- The Content
B. Unique Selling Proposition
- Manuscript Status
- Special Features
- Anticipate Length
- Anticipated Completion Date
- Demographic Description
- Psychographic Description
- Affinity Groups
- Previous Writing
- Personal Marketing
- Chapter-by-Chapter Synopsis
- Sample Chapter
Again, if you intend to be an indie author, there’s no requirement to address all of this. But it gives clarity you might not otherwise get. It certainly makes you think through your book and may even inspire or affect the content of the manuscript.
But having said all that, never let the planning get in the way of the writing. We often get so involved in getting ready to write, we forget to sit our butts down and write. Let’s not do that.
If you would like more details about the book proposal template above, check out my book, Project Management for Writers at Amazon.
If you are an experienced writer, what are some of the ways you gather your thoughts before starting the project?