How to Write and Publish Your First Book 1: The Secret of Agile Development

publish your book

Have you wondered how to write and publish your book?

So when are you going to do it?

After all, 82% of all Americans think they have a book in them, but less than 1% actually write it. I expect statistics are similar in other countries.

What group do you want to belong to – the huge group that dreams about writing a book, or the select group that actually does it?

A few months ago, I decided this year would be the time to finally write the book I’d been thinking about for a while. And I’m planning to do a series of case studies for you t0 see the ups and downs of my journey and follow along with your book so that you learn how to write and publish your book.

What is the key to getting going?

Last year, I was dithering between writing a novel and writing a nonfiction book. As a consequence, I got stuck in no-mans-land. And I was held back by fears of not being good enough.

But I found a way through the dilemma by using a strategy that cleared the way forward. Watch the short video below:

As you can see, finding out what you really want to write is crucial. Once you’re clear on that front, it’s time to develop strong goals that will carry you through the project.

Tip: Think of writing a series of books around a central focus.

If you want to write a novel, think about creating a protagonist who can be the focus of multiple novels. (To find out how to go from idea to plot of a novel, check out the series, Fire up a Stalled Novel.

As a blogger, it’s easier to write nonfiction books, so I decided to write a series about Youthful Aging. It’s something I’m passionate about and I can think of a whole lot of sub-topics, like fitness, nutrition, health, vitality, and so on.

But how to get a handle on the process of writing and publishing a book?

I must admit, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the huge mountain in front of me. What helped me was reading an article about software development.

Waterfall Development versus Agile Approach

When you develop software, there are two different approaches. One is called waterfall and the other agile. According to experts, waterfall is a traditional approach —where development is handled as a linear series of events from conception to production.

If we translate the waterfall process into writing a book, it means spending a year or two on creating a substantial book, publishing it and only then getting feedback from readers.

The agile development model focuses on producing minimum viable products (MVPs) over set periods of time while improving each iteration. A sprint, in agile software development, is a set period of time during which specific work has to be completed.

In terms of writing books, this model can mean breaking up a big topic into sub-topic and creating multiple shorter books as sprints, instead of putting effort into creating one larger book.

There are many advantages in using the agile development framework:

  • Shorter books are more manageable to write
  • Feedback from readers occurs directly after each publication and can shape the following book in the series.
  • New research can be incorporated as the series evolves.
  • Shorter books are getting more traction on Kindle.
  • Multiple books on Kindle are a way to increase sales and income.
  • As the series evolves, you can develop a dedicated readership.

As you can see, agile development can work well for nonfiction books. However, it can also work for novels. I have recently read quite a few novels which were created in a similar way, where each book is like an installment of a grand story.

Once you have created a series of shorter book, you can also compile them to create a longer book.

My plan is to write a series of books with about 12,000 words each. This means that each draft will have about 18,000 words and then be edited down to 12,000 words.

Are you going to write and publish YOUR book?

If you are keen to get going and know how to write and publish your book, here are your next steps:

Step 1: Make a decision on whether you want to write a nonfiction book, novel, or memoir.

Step 2: Make notes on how to break up the topic or story into parts, according to the agile method.

I’ll be back soon to continue this case study and write about the next steps.

Click here to write about your plans on our Facebook page

How to Write and Publish Your First Book 2: Beat the Mid-Way Slump

About the author

Mary Jaksch

Mary Jaksch is best known for her exceptional training for writers at and for her cutting-edge book, Youthful Aging Secrets. In her “spare” time, Mary is also the brains behind, a Zen Master, a mother, and a 5th Degree Black Belt.