Be Productive By James Hall Have you ever felt overwhelmed when pondering your next book project? The feeling of overwhelm is no joke. It can take a serious toll on our happiness and wellbeing, impeding our creative work and making every other part of our life difficult at the same time. When you’re stuck in the middle of feeling overwhelmed, it can be hard to see a way out. This can lead to us feeling unable to cope, abandoning our book project altogether. This is a serious shame. Books are too important to give up on. Every unwritten book represents countless lives that could have been touched. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, this post is for you. I want to make your book writing project manageable. With that aim in mind, here are the main stages of writing a book, broken down for you, along with some tools to help at every stage. Stage 1 – Book Idea and Planning Phase While a successful book requires a lot more than just a great idea, without one, it stands no chance! The first stage of the book creation process is coming up with a worthy idea and researching to support that idea. Of course, coming up with a book idea is a highly personalized, creative process. Draw upon your own experience. Do what works for you. However, there are a few ideas that have been proven to help writers of every type during the initial stage of their book creation project. Here they are. Small chunking. Small chunking is the process of making even the biggest project manageable by breaking it down into small pieces. It’s a little like that old story of eating an elephant one bite at a time! Before you do anything else, take the time to break down your book creation project as a whole. This will allow your subconscious mind to get to work. Collect ideas. If you’re anything like most creatives, you’ll have times where ideas hit you in great numbers. It’s important to capture these ideas before they are lost. Using some kind of idea collection software like Google Keep or Evernote can help preserve your moments of inspiration. Project planning software. Depending on how you like to work, you might find it useful to break down all of your book project steps on a planning app like Trello or Asana. If you don’t work well this way, consider using a whiteboard or a set of post-it notes stuck to a wall. Taking the time to map out your book writing process as a whole makes it manageable, allowing you to prepare strategically and creatively for every phase. Laying this firm foundation for your book’s project success at the start is a smart move. It means when times get tough along the way, as they inevitably will, you don’t feel out of your depth. Surely that’s worth doing? Stage 2 – Book Production Process After determining your initial book idea, researching it, and putting a plan in place for the rest of your book project, it’s time to get down to the actual process of creating your book. Of course, as self-publishers, we are required to do a lot more than just write. Depending upon the team you have in place, you might be carrying out various degrees of editing, marketing, graphics work – almost anything you can think of! Given all the various tasks we are responsible for when creating our books, it’s useful to seek out specialist tools to make the process more efficient and effective. If you’re looking for help with the actual writing and production phase of your book, here is some guidance just for you. Devices. Before you start editing and writing your book, why not give some thought to the devices you will use? Will you do everything on one device, or do you want the flexibility to work on different devices? For example, you might want to write on your laptop, but self-edit on your tablet at your favorite coffee place. Thinking about the devices you will use, and the environment in which you will work helps you with the rest of the book creation process. Apps. Some writers prefer to use very simple tools for writing their book, including longhand writing in some cases! Others prefer to use cutting edge book writing software or even dictation. Think about the book writing software that best suits your way of working and the book you want to create. Editing. The experience and skill set of a professional editor cannot be replicated. However, not all of us have the luxury of being able to afford an editor. Even those of us who can afford one should respect our editor’s time by carrying out some self-edits initially. No matter the level of editing you will be carrying out, consider using a state of the art editing tool to catch your mistakes and improve your work. While self-published authors have more responsibility than authors in the past, we also have access to more powerful tools. Taking the time to proactively consider the devices you will work on, the tools you will use, and the level of editing you will carry out will make the task of producing your book far smoother. Stage 3 – Marketing Your Book If you’re like a lot of authors, marketing is the part of the book creation process you enjoy the least. This can be for several reasons. Some authors are naturally introverted, and would rather do focused, creative work rather than getting their book out there into the world. Others simply don’t find marketing necessary. No matter how you feel about book marketing, you can’t deny it’s importance. With a large number of new books entering the market, marketing is the key to helping yours find its way into the hands of readers who will love it. Here are some tools and tips for the marketing phase of your book creation project. Social media. If you’re worried that book marketing requires a monetary investment, don’t be. Social media is a way you can market your book by investing your time rather than your money. However, if approached in an ad hoc way, social media can turn into a time drain that doesn’t offer a return on investment. Approach social media in a careful, proactive way, using an app such as Hootsuite to market your book efficiently. Book promotion sites. Book promotion sites are a great way to get your book in front of the right readers. Both free and paid options exist, so there is something for everyone. Just consider the track record of any given site for marketing your type of book. Author website. In the long run, you might not want to rely on external platforms to market your book. It can be nice to have something that is totally under your control. Consider starting an author website, so you can connect directly with your readers, without having to go through the middleman of a social media platform or book promotion site. While it’s essential to feel OK about building a platform for yourself as an author, you don’t need to become a master marketer to succeed at self-publishing. However, getting a grip on the basics is vital to get your book out there into the world and help you enjoy the success as an author you deserve. Taking a proactive, strategic approach to book marketing, and making the most of the best tools out there, can help you get better results with less effort and frustration. Beating Book Overwhelm In 3 Simple Steps Hopefully, the advice you’ve just read has made the book creation process a little more manageable and less overwhelming. In a nutshell, it all comes down to – Proper planning at the startEfficient book creation using the best toolsMarketing activities that are proven to get results Of course, nothing beats the experience of getting stuck in, making mistakes, and learning from them! What’s stopping you from getting started? Life is short, and books are too important to leave for tomorrow. Don’t feel overwhelmed at the thought of writing a book. Get started now, and you’re a step closer to realizing your dream and changing lives in the process!