How To Write A Book That Sells
How To Write A Book That Sells

How to write a book that sells. That’s the most important question for every author. Because no matter what they say, every writer would like to publish a book that has sold at least several thousand copies.

And if you are a new writer, your friends and family wish you this kind of success as well.

That's why they've given you over 100 ideas to write about.

But before we talk about how to write a book that sells, let’s look at how not to do it. The wrong way of how to write a book that every writer, including myself, has tried and failed at.

For example, let’s say you want to write a book about your town’s local history. A book based on public court documents, trial proceedings and military records. Along with a series of salacious small-town newspaper articles, and a personal diary from the county museum. And then let’s throw in a few local legends and some spooky folklore for good measure. A reportedly haunted historic mansion? Perfect. This will all make for a fascinating book. Because these are all good book topics and good ideas to write about. And because this is all just too juicy and jaw-dropping not to be true.

And can you believe it?

No one has ever considered how to write a book about it.

Every once in a while, I run across someone who is working on how to write a book like this. A person who seems like they are gifted and organized enough to write it. Plus, with free self-publishing, I think, “I wish I had thought of how to write a book like that. It’s an already-written story. And there are so many good ideas for a novel there.”

But now that I think about it some more, I have to ask myself something about these book writing projects. These ready-made but random topics to write about.

What I have to ask myself is, “Why I have I never seen a completed book from any of these people? They should be finished writing these things by now. Surely they know how to write a book. Especially with so many ideas to write a book on hand.”

And you may be saying to yourself, “Well, tell me about the project and tell me where the records are. If no one else will write it, I will.”

Which means that like me, and like many other hopeful writers before the both of us, you have also been seduced by the ready-made book idea that will never make it into popular books.

This is because “the ready-made book idea that will never make it” is a trap we all fall into as aspiring writers when it comes to publishing a first-time book with no following, no relevance, and no plan or logic. And although aspiring to complete this kind of project is admirable, it is not at all realistic for reasons that you cannot ignore.

The first thing you will find is that writing a full-length book or novel from scratch will soon become a cumbersome and lengthy process. And while it’s an exciting announcement to make to your friends and family that you have decided to learn how to write a book, how do you feel after a few months when no one hangs around anymore to encourage you on a daily basis?

And the hope of publishing the book dies somewhere on a random late-afternoon. When you have run out of ideas to write about. And you are looking around at tips for writing a book. And then, after a day of searching for just the right way to word a sentence, writing the book becomes so tediously boring that you just put the work aside for a few days to take a break.

Then a few days becomes a few weeks, which then becomes a few months. And no fiction writing advice will help you.

Which makes finishing the book a challenge later on. When your enthusiasm to restart your writing efforts is non-existent. But even if you finish the manuscript, the biggest challenge is looming on the horizon.

This will be the editing of the book when you are so tired of it.

And then actually getting it to a phase where it is readable by an uninterested literary agent. Which means that now you have to find a publisher on your own. A publisher who has already probably been presented with this book idea. All about another historic haunting in another small town.

From another author. Whose ideas to write a book are coincidentally very similar to yours.

But the publisher decides to go with the other book because it has been written by a college professor. A professor who has the backing of an entire university. Along with a lecture tour in the works, complete with their own story writing tips and fiction writing advice. And a ready-made audience of students who have  to buy the book to take the class.

So all of your work is for nothing.

And even if you even got this far, you’re not surprised when you get rejected. (Someone will be there now  to comfort you and tell you that all first-time writers get rejected. And then tell you how to write a book the right way.) But in your heart you know that this book will never be finished. Because there is simply too much defeat involved in this lonely process. And whether anyone wants to admit it or not, every unpublished writer will have several of these incomplete and unedited books in the works. Along with some other good ideas to write about, and some more good ideas for a novel.

I had twenty-three good ideas for books until I finally deleted them from my computer.

In addition, recommending a full-length book from an unread author is too much unpaid work for a literary agent. After all, they have to make a living, too. And if they are promoting an unknown author, they have to have some kind of evidence that this is going to pay off for them. Especially with a non-fiction book from an unpublished writer with no following or promise of sales.

So sadly, even good ideas for books and well-written book proposals just don't cut it in the publishing world. When these ideas to write a book come from unknown writers.

But that’s not the whole story of how to write a book.

Because if you are a reader, you also want to read something from a writer you know. Someone you have read before. You are eager to read something by an author who is trending online. An author you can tweet about to everyone in your social media circles. So they know you a part of the current trends. Forget about scoffing at the high retail price of a book. As a reader, you won’t waste your valuable social media time on an unproven author.

Much less take the advice of an author who isn’t trending.

And yes, you can name a lot of successful writers who published their first book as an unknown author. But there are many more examples of those who had to start somewhere else. Let’s go all the way back to one of America’s iconic novelists and essayists, Mark Twain.

He worked only as a typesetter and printer operator for many years. But he had to wait much longer before he was even allowed to contribute the occasional article to local newspapers.

He eventually became a regular reporter and wrote short stories. And learned how to write a book.

Finally, he used all of his regional research to publish his first novel, “The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.” Ever heard of it? Probably not. And yet you can be assured that Mark Twain, of all people, started as a budding journalist with access to all kinds of court records, salacious small-town newspaper articles, local legends, spooky folklore, and personal diaries. Clearly fascinated by all of them and obviously more than competent in knowing how to write a book.

Yet still unsuccessful with his ideas to write a book for so many years.

But these days, you don’t have to take the path of Samuel Clemens in learning how to write a book. (Paying his dues for years, only to write an unmemorable first book.) Or the path of the college professor. (Years of college education and years of lecturing for a run-of-the-mill publishing deal.) Because now that you have so many self-publishing opportunities available to you for so little cost, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel on how to write a book.

First-time authors with good ideas for books don’t need to struggle anymore to find an audience.

Because they no longer need to learn how to write a book in isolation.

Instead, consider the alternative and arguably more reliable path of learning how to start a successful blog. By learning how to write blog posts on good book topics you know people want to read.

And then turning your website content writing into a best-selling book.

How To Write A Book By Starting with Blog Posts.

By learning how to write a good blog, you have the opportunity to learn how to write a book for a commercial audience who also likes to read and buy books.

Your future books.

By learning how to write blog posts that people want to read, you will build a popular brand with a following. And, you’ll have the added value of a loyal fan base to bring to a publishing company, which is critical if you ever decide to submit a manuscript to a literary agent.

Also, if you are a novice writer, new readers don’t mind skimming through a blog post if it’s short. Which means they have already given you a chance – because you didn’t ask for them to make any effort.

Next time, they’ll read more, now that they know you a little bit better. They may also want to give you feedback on your blog or on Facebook. This will give you more ideas to write about. Maybe 100 ideas to write about. And may even take your writing in a new direction.

Fun topics to write about that people want to read.

Written over a period time, website content writing and blog posts also give you the opportunity to thoroughly develop and explore many good ideas for books. And throughout this entire process, you will be making clear and measurable progress. Learning how to write a book as you garner more followers and feedback.

This will help keep you motivated. Since you will have consistently measurable successes to encourage you as you learn how to write a book.

And if you are not a professor, or a reporter, or a retired lawyer, positive outside feedback is something you need to have in order to finish your book.

Now, let's go back to the example of the person with the idea of writing this homegrown, historical think-piece.  Based on public trial court documents and military records, along with a series of salacious small-town newspaper articles and personal accounts and letters they have collected from the various local sources where they live.

But let’s say that instead of spending a year in isolation and suffering, this writer starts with learning how to be a successful blogger. Now armed with 100 story starters about resident hauntings, cemetery plots, or the supernatural. Which is backed up by court documents and family trees. It could actually could be very popular with any fans of the Horror or Gothic genres.

How To Write A Book You Weren’t Expecting.

As this author expands their website content writing to include more historical facts and more local folklore, they expand their target audience. Not what the author was anticipating.

But exactly what a literary agent is looking for.

After writing and publishing a series of articles written about this folklore, based on historical facts, the writer could invite fans to share similar stories.

For more ideas to write a book.

The whole thing could snowball into a bona fide paranormal sighting website, with so many book ideas to write about. And this book will be something that is much more fun to write - and much more engaging to read. But completely different from what the author originally set out to write.

Eventually, as the writer becomes a leading collector of popular paranormal stories of historical hotspots from around the United States, a book deal would be imminent. And their readers will widely anticipate the release of the book, which will keep any writer motivated to finish it.

With all of this encouragement while learning how to write a book at the same time, who wouldn’t be excited?

And as the author improves their writing skills through feedback and exposure, the book is sure to be well-written. And since it will be popular, it will probably only be the first in a series of increasingly successful books about local folklore, history, and hauntings.

This way of how to write a book works better than writing a book in a vacuum (with no exposure or feedback), for several reasons:
  • You will introduce many new people to your writing. Once they know you, they will recommend you to others.
  • You will develop a loyal following, one who feels like they are part of your ongoing story.
  • You will learn what people want to read as you learn how to write a book. And get a feel for what strikes a chord with your followers and what doesn’t.

And this logical and interactive approach will lead you to finish your first successful book. Which a publishing company is much more likely to pick up. And when you know how to write a book that sells, you can focus more on your writing. Which is how you can publish a whole series of successful books.

I know you can do it.

How To Write A Book

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