Posts from the ‘Book Writing Prompts’ category

Writing Prompt #8: Define Your Themes

While core message and promise clarify the main idea and purpose of the book, great books also present a handful of well-developed core themes that create cohesion throughout the book and connect topics to the core message. Read this post on the importance of clarifying themes and then do the following: 1. Review the work you’ve done on message and promise and pull out the themes that will act as through-lines for the book. 2.…

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Writing Prompt #7: Start Outlining

You may be tempted to skip this step in the process. I encourage you not to. On the other hand, you may love outlines and lists. If that is the case, your challenge will be to stop outlining and start writing. Either way, read this post on different approaches to book outlines and then take it step by step: 1. Create an environment that is conducive to big-picture thinking about the book. For you, that might…

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Writing Prompt #6: Your Publishing Path

What does your publishing path have to do with your writing process? A lot. Most important, if you plan to try to publish your book traditionally, you’ll need to develop a strong query letter to send to agents and work on a formal book proposal. If you plan to self publish, neither of these writing steps is necessary, although the underlying work of the proposal is still necessary to produce a good book. See Writing…

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Writing Prompt #5: Message and Promise Redux

Why all this work on message, promise, and differentiation? If these foundations are weak, the entire book will be weak—unfocused, not engaging or memorable, and unmarketable. Continue with Writing Prompt #3 on message, promise, and differentiation. 1. Based on your research into competitive titles (see Writing Prompt #4), refine your message and promise to improve or reflect your book’s differentiation in the market. 2. Test your message and promise on some people who could realistically be…

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Writing Prompt #4: Competitive Titles

If you want readers to pick up your book rather than somebody else’s, you need to be able to communicate how your book is better suited to their needs. Understand and build on your market differentiation. That’s a businessy phrase, but you need to get comfortable with it, because agents and editors are hungry for it. To make sure your book is marketable, do your research. 1. First, read this post on genres and identify your genre.…

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Writing Prompt #3: Message and Promise

Message and promise communicate what your book is about and why readers should care. Read my post on how promise and message are different, consider the analysis you did on your audience (or go back to Writing Prompt #2), and and then: 1. Describe the core message of your book in fifty words or less. 2. Describe the promise of your book in fifty words or less. I can almost guarantee that what you first write down…

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Writing Prompt #2: Defining Your Audience

Yes, I’m putting an analysis of your audience before a discussion of your idea, your core message, or what you think your readers need to hear. You need to understand your audience deeply before you can consider how to craft a promise to the reader that will be compelling. Always, always write with your reader in mind. So, read this post about understanding your core audience, write answers to the questions below, and discuss your answers with…

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Writing Prompt #1: Goals and Platform

Begin with the end in mind. This is the advice of the late Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which has sold more than 25 million copies since it was first published in 1989. If it worked for him . . . Read my post on four questions to help you determine your writing goals. Then consider the following questions and discuss your answers with somebody who knows you and your ambitions well:…

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