10 Steps to Writing a Book

Laura Beauparlant signing her book Brand Chemistry

I’ll be honest, writing a book was never something I thought I would do. It wasn’t something I dreamed of doing as a kid and in fact, up until a few years ago, I wouldn’t have even described myself as a writer.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you are constantly creating new content. Whether it’s for your clients, your social media, a blog post, etc…So, in essence, you are a writer.

It’s time to see yourself as one.

After creating Brand Camp, honing the process over about 2 years, and seeing how much it helped our clients, I realised that I need to be able to share my methodology with a broader audience and have a greater impact on the entrepreneurs I want to help.

I knew the best way to accomplish this was through speaking and a book – and the two go hand in hand.

Speaking and writing a book provide credibility and open doors for many opportunities.

I wanted my book to be the best book it could possibly be and for that, I knew I needed help.

Working with the amazing team at Barlow Books – lead by Sarah Scott – helped me created the best book it could be. The entire process took about 10 months from start to finish.

Do you have a book you want to write? Below are the steps I took to write my book – I hope this helps you in your book writing journey!

THE 10 STEP PROCESS OF WRITING A BOOK

Write a Statement of Purpose + Book Title

To write the statement of purpose I needed to answer these questions:
– What is my book about?
– What am I trying to say?
– Who is my target audience and why will they buy my book?
– What do they want to get out of it?
– Why am I the one to write this book?
– Why now?

This was actually harder than I thought it would be. It required some deep thinking and once I answered these questions, I realised just how important they were to ask.

There are many books on branding out there so doing this work helped to see how my unique perspective was not just relevant but needed. This knowledge helped me to craft a more impactful and meaningful book for the right audience.

The name for my book came from our brand essence at Lab Creative which is “Creating Brand Chemistry” – we shortened it to Brand Chemistry with the subtitle How to attract the right clients and keep them. In this process, I discovered how important and powerful a book subtitle is – the subtitle is meant to tell people what they will get out of the book.


Chapter Outlines and Purpose of Each Chapter

Working with my editor Kendra, we drafted the outline and purpose of each chapter together. This gave me the framework I needed to write the first draft.

We spent hours talking through my ideas and sharing my many stories to give her a deeper understanding of me; how I speak, my philosophy and my personality. From here we created a collection of stories and case studies to build the chapters around.

Draft Each Chapter

I had previously scripted and recorded videos for my online Brand Camp course and was able to pull many things I had written already. This gave me chunks of content I could work from which made the writing feel less daunting. Nothing worse than staring at a blank page, amirite?

Each week I spent focus time working on each chapter and if I got stuck I reached out to my editor. I’m a concise writer and often needed encouragement to expand on my ideas, and add more details. Having a guide through this process was extremely helpful.

Substantive Edit

I went through several rounds of revisions with Kendra. Deleting stories that didn’t seem to fit, adding in new ones that worked better and weaving elements throughout the book. We created the equations (ie. Awareness = Your best teacher), determined what would make the best pull quotes, and mapped out the questions to include at the end of each chapter.

It’s funny because there were times I remember getting an edit back from my editor and reading a section and thinking “wow, that’s really good!” Only to discover that it was something I had written and that she hadn’t edited a word.

I’m far from perfect but this process helped me feel more confident in my writing!

Copy Editing

Once I was satisfied with the final draft of my book, it was sent to the copy editor for the final sweep through with an eye for the details. Punctuation, spelling, grammar etc…

There were many changes she recommended that I approved, however, there were a few that didn’t fit my voice so we left it as it was. It was really important to me that the book sounded like me.

I wanted people who knew me to hear my voice in their head as they read it. Which is exactly the feedback I got… so we nailed it!

Cover and Interior Design

I was a unique case for Barlow Books because I have a background in design. I had some clear ideas on what I wanted the interior to look, including for it to be in full colour! I am thrilled with how the designer brought it to life.

The cover artist and I had some creative differences in the design process, however, I’m thrilled with the outcome and couldn’t be prouder of how the book looks. It completely aligns with me and the brand for Lab Creative and Brand Camp.

Production — Turning the Manuscript into a Book

This is when I decided a hardcover book, choose the paper stock for the inside of the book (the colour, the weight (thickness) and smoothness). I also decided to add in the black end pages – just because I wanted to make it a bit more special (and yes this did cost more).

As a designer and branding expert, I knew my book needed to look and feel amazing. It was going to be an expensive one to produce.

My goal was to produce the most beautiful business book you’ll ever read.

I think I totally nailed it! What do you think?

Printing

Printing and delivery are about a 2-month process. Maybe not for all books, but because of the design of my book this was the timeframe. I was sent proofs to approve to make sure the colours were coming out as expected.

Once the books were printed, I had some shipped to me and the rest divided between a Canadian and American Amazon fulfilment centre.

Prep to sell on Amazon

Getting ready to sell on Amazon was tricky. There is SO much work behinds the scene and I am really glad that I had the support of my publisher for this. The most complex part was the paperwork required by the IRS to sell the books on Amazon.com.

Understanding the legality and making sure I filled out the paperwork correctly required the help of a tax lawyer.

Marketing/PR + Book Launch

You need to let people know that you’ve written a book and entice them to buy it and share it with their friends and colleagues.

In the lead up to my book launch, I hired a digital marketing expert to help me create a marketing and content plan to help build excitement and spread the word. I planned a book launch party and sent advanced copies to media and influencers.

I did not invest in an aggressive marketing and PR plan for my book. I’ll be honest and say it was mostly bootstrapped. There are so many different ways to do this and I am by no means an expert so you have to determine what will work best for you.

I will say that I am thrilled that I’ve sold my first print run of books, it has opened many doors for speaking engagements, podcast interviews and has positioned me as an expert in my field.

And just ordered another 2000 copies… You can still order a copy from Amazon.com if you are in the US, however, Amazon.ca is sold out. In the meantime, you can order from sarah@barlowbooks.com

“It was our great pleasure to work with Laura and make sure that the brand of the book matched her thinking about how businesses should be branded accurately so that you’ll get the clients you really want. What will Laura write for an encore?”
– Sarah Scott, Publisher – Barlow books

 

 

 

 

 

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