Imagine if you could write a book in 30 days. Even if you haven't written a book before, publishing a non-fiction book is possible, as most people have specific skills and wish to share their knowledge with the world. The passion for sharing is the most crucial element for completing a book.
Let's discuss what you need to have beforehand and how to actually approach the writing process to ensure that the milestone is achieved within the timeframe.
First things first, let's clarify what "30 days" means. It means 30 days flat; it doesn't mean 20 workdays in a month. Thus, if you're taking weekends off, it would take more than a month to cover 30 full writing days. However, after you've been successful with 30 days, you can choose to write a book within 20 days or even faster. Many writers write a short book within a week or two.
The Preparation: What You Need to Have
1. Entrepreneurial mindset
It's not about having a keen business sense. Having an entrepreneurial mindset is more about internalizing the notion of being your own boss with the objective of making things happen. After all, after you've written the book, you'll need to have it published and promoted, regardless of the publishing path chosen. Whether you have the book self-published or published by a conventional publisher, you'll still need to promote it the best you can.
2. Decent language skills
To be a writer of books, you must have decent language skills, especially written skills. You must know how to write proper sentences that make sense to readers. But let's not be too caught up about this, because you'll be using help from an editor later down the road.
3. Decent logic
Good logical thinking distinguishes a great book from the mediocre ones. For instance, you can't just create statements out of thin air in a non-fiction book. (You might be able to do so in a fiction book, but that's another story!) You've got to have it backed up with facts and opinions that genuinely make sense. And by "making sense," it must follow universal logic principles. There are at least 15 logical fallacies that you should know before convincing anyone of anything.
4. Dedicated hours
It goes without saying that to write a book in 30 days, you'll need actually to have those 30 days. Begin with calculating how fast you write per hour and per day. For instance, if the book requires a lot of ongoing research and verification, you'll probably need at least 4 hours per day reviewing materials and another 4 hours actually to write them down. Depending on the topic and thesis statement, you can spend 2 to 4 hours on research and 4 to 6 hours on actual writing.
5. Accountability tools
How can you be accountable for the writing project and sticking to your hours? There are many online tools to use, including Pomodoro timers and other productivity apps. Approach it as if it's a project done by a team and you're the project leader. As a team member, you're accountable to your leader (you) and the stakeholders (the publisher or yourself and future readers).
The Execution: How to Write the Book in 30 Days
1. Create a calendar
Use a calendar to mark down your writing plan based on the outline and required research. Take notes whenever needed, so you can better manage your time efficiently.
2. Decide on the total word count
A good length for an e-book is anywhere from 10,000 to 25,000 words, while a trade paperback usually starts from 30,000 to 75,000 words. Decide early and then stick to the target.
3. Write the thesis statement
Be clear about the thesis statement. It's basically a statement stating what the book will cover and discuss. Since most, if not all, non-fiction books provide solutions to problems, ideally this statement will include the underlying problem and a high-level view of the solution provided.
4. Write the outline
Once you have your thesis statement, an outline can be created quickly. In journalism, the most popular framework to use is what-who-when-where-why-how (or 5W and 1H). Use this when developing the outline. Have at least these 6 elements covered. Most likely, the "why" and the "how" are much longer than the other 4 elements.
5. Write the first draft freely
Write the first draft freely without feeling forced to write perfectly, because nobody can. Not even the most professional writers out there. Let your mind flow within the framework of the outline. This way, you won't ramble about unrelated information.
6. Review, edit, and rewrite
Every writer is a re-writer. You're not writing something that hasn't been written before, especially when it comes to favorite topics in non-fiction publications. If you write about how to be productive, most likely there are tens or even hundreds of people who have written about it. All you need is finding a different angle and introduce new things.
7. Collaborate with an editor or editors
There are several types of book editors to consider, such as developmental editor, line-editor, copy-editor, and proofreader. Each of them has distinctive roles, so familiarize yourself with them.
If you're a new author, you'll definitely need a human developmental editor. However, you can also use the ProWritingAid app to help you redraft. Decide on which editor(s) to hire and utilize early in the writing game so the overall process can flow smoothly.
8. Decide on the publishing path
If you want to have your book published immediately after editing, Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) is a good choice, as it gives you the flexibility and control over the manuscript file. Make sure you have a good marketing plan in place before you launch, though.
9. Publish and promote
When you have your book self-published, uploading the final manuscript to the system itself deserves a happy dance. Promoting it is another matter, however. And since many writers are introverts, they find promoting themselves is a much bigger task than writing the book.
Regardless of the publisher, be it yourself or a conventional one, as the author you'll need to be ready to appear online and face-to-face. Be active on social media networks, do some readings, and give away free copies. Of course, if you have the budget, you can hire book publicists and social media managers to work on your behalf. However, when it comes to a face-to-face book signing and reading, you must do it yourself.
Writing and publishing a non-fiction book in 30 days is definitely do-able. You'll need, however, to carefully plan your calendar, thesis, project execution, and the publishing and promotion side in advance. Take good note of each task as this will determine the level of success of the book. Best of luck!