The total freedom of being an independent author isn’t without its drawbacks.
While you have the liberty of being able to carry out each part of the book creation process in your own way, you also have the responsibility of making sure it’s all carried out on time.
Authors with traditional publishing deals have a whole team of people keeping an eye on them to make sure projects stay on track. Heck, Douglas Adams was locked away in a hotel room so he could finish his work!
Although you can team up with accountability partners and other support systems, it’s still mostly down to you to make sure your book gets created in the right way.
To lighten your load and help your book make it across the finish line, check out these four efficiency-boosting steps.
Step 1 – Start with the end in mind
Although a creative mind can be prone to distraction, you can’t afford for this to happen when it comes to your book project.
So how do you stop your energies being diverted from place to place?
Start with the end in mind.
In the words of the late Stephen Covey, “all things are created twice”. By this, he means that we initially envision our desired outcome mentally, and then go on to manifest it physically.
This principle certainly applies to book creation.
Before you embark on the epic journey of creating a new book, you need to take the time to think through your eventual outcome.
This doesn’t just mean picturing your finished book, although you should certainly do that as well.
It also means picturing the elation and other emotional rewards you will feel after it is complete.
By doing this, you condition your brain to not only anticipate the end of the project but to also expect positive feelings from completing it.
After getting into this positive, forward-thinking state, it’s important to write down your intended outcome as well as the positive feelings that will come with it.
- “It’s Christmas Day and I’m a published author. I’m feeling immense pride as my loved ones unwrap a copy of my book.”
- “I’m doing a book reading in my favorite indie bookstore, and it feels great to have people show up to listen to it.”
- “I’ve just got my first proof copy of my book back from the press, and the feeling of opening the package is incredible.”
After you’ve contemplated your eventual positive outcome, it’s time to take the next step.
Step 2 – Move from the brain to the page
Now that you’ve engaged in what Covey would call the “first creation” of your book, it’s time to begin the process of the second.
Sometimes, when we begin a brand new book project, it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of starting.
The enthusiasm you feel at this point isn’t a bad thing, but you should channel it to plan properly and ensure your creation process is as efficient as possible.
Thankfully, there are planning techniques you can use to keep your project moving forward smoothly.
Consider these three stages:
- Mindmap your book to identify key topics and themes and the way they will link together.
- Produce a full outline from your mindmap.
- Use your outline to factor into a detailed project plan outlining every step needed to finish your book along with timelines and resources needed.
At this point in the process, you not only have a solid outcome in mind, along with a powerful emotional payoff but also a detailed plan of how to make that happen.
It’s now down to you to take massive action and follow through on your plan.
Step 3 – Finalize production and launch
A lot of authors are fairly comfortable carrying out the act of book creation itself.
However, after the final word has been written, things might get a little more tricky.
That’s because while many of us have been writing for joy and pleasure for the majority of our lives, we’ve been publishing books for a far shorter time.
You don’t need to worry though. Publishing is always going to be a journey of growth and gaining new knowledge and skills.
Even though there are a lot of parts to the publishing process, it’s crucial to not make any of them harder than they need to be.
You can make this stage of the journey a whole lot easier by drawing on the following resources:
- Book templates. While writing your book is often a little bit difficult, formatting it properly is more like outright torture! You can save yourself a lot of frustration by downloading a premade book template that’s compatible with the software you use and the type of book you are creating.
- Cover templates. If you can afford the investment, a book cover designer is always a smart choice. However, if you’re going the DIY route, you can save yourself a lot of time by using a premade cover template.
- A full launch guide. Learning to launch your book will inevitably involve a certain amount of trial and error, but you can reduce the learning curve by following a proven launch process from the get-go.
It’s important not to lose momentum at this stage of the process. Be kind to yourself by using any resource that helps you complete your project as quickly as possible.
Step 4 – Look back and learn lessons
At this point, you should be done and dusted with the practical part of your book creation journey.
Remember in step 1 where you set your positive eventual outcome and the emotions you would feel alongside it?
Hopefully, you’ve now made that vision a reality, having achieved what Stephen Covey calls the second creation.
Now you should not only bask in the positive feeling of realizing your outcome but also stop and reflect.
Take the time to ponder the following questions:
- What was the most enjoyable part of the entire book creation process?
- Which stage of your book did you find the most challenging in terms of efficiency, and what did you do to overcome that?
- Which tools and techniques were the most helpful?
- If you had to teach another author three key lessons about creating a book, what would they be, and how would you teach them?
Being efficient while you work on your book doesn’t in any way mean sacrificing the spontaneity and joy of creation.
Instead, it simply enhances it by letting you do more of what you love in a shorter space of time.
Books are valuable and change lives. Respect that value by creating yours in the best possible way.