How To Write A Book Using Articles: Part 1

book writing, article writing, how to write a book

How to write a series of articles to make up a book
Imagine you wanted to write a book in December. And right now it’s January. When do you begin to write the book?
Should you start in August? Or is July a more auspicious month? And wouldn’t it be better to outline the whole book in advance?
And is there a way to get this book planning absolutely right so you write a series of articles that make up a book?

Yes there is a way to get this absolutely right and get that book out in the shortest time possible
To begin this exercise you must first take a visit to the library, or if you’re feeling too lazy fire up that computer and go online.
What you’re looking for (either at the library or online) is the Contents Pages of books that have topics just like yours.

So if you’re writing a book on Yoga, you’ll get a whole bunch of books.

Some of them will be about Tantric Yoga.
Some of them will be about Yoga for pregnant women.
Some of them will be about Yoga for pets.
Some of them will just be the generic yoga book.

It doesn’t matter what the cover says: As long as it’s Yoga it will do.

Then get a sheet of paper out, and create a mindmap or a bunch of notes on paper.
On that mindmap, you’re going to put all the possible angles you found from the Contents pages of the Yoga books.
Well not all the possible angles, but the ones that seem interesting to you.

So because I’m too lazy to go to the library today, let me go online
And from an assorted number of books I got the following broad topics:
1) Yoga History
2) Yogasanas
3) Hints and Caution

Now you may pull up as many as seven-ten broad topics. And once you have your topics, here’s what you do next.

You simply write down in point form all you can think of under those points.
So if you’ve done your homework, you now have a list that looks like this:
1) Yoga History
-  Subtopic 1
-  Subtopic 2
-  Subtopic 3
-  Subtopic 4
-  Subtopic 5
2) Yogasanas
-  Subtopic 1
-  Subtopic 2
-  Subtopic 3
-  Subtopic 4
-  Subtopic 5
3) Hints and Caution
-  Subtopic 1
-  Subtopic 2
-  Subtopic 3
-  Subtopic 4
-  Subtopic 5

Goody! Now you’ve got your list of articles. They’re all stacked up. You know the angles you’re going to write about.

But what if you can’t come up with the sub-topics?
What you do is the following:
1) Either ask for help in a forum/or through your blog/ or Twitter/Facebook.
2) Take each of those main topics and do a random search in Google and you’ll come up with sub-topics.

But isn’t this technique breaking some copyright law?
No it isn’t. All you’re taking are the topics and the sub-topics. You’re not using anyone’s brand names or methodology. The contents within your sub-topic based article is going to be your own. But now you have a direction. You know that you’re moving ahead steadily to that book.Ê And yet, it’s more than likely you’re not going to finish the book.

Why won’t you finish the book when it’s all so well planned?

It’s because you’ll fully intend to write an article, but never get down to it. You’ll do other stuff that’s more important. You’ll make excuses, and the book will get postponed.

Of course there’s a way around this, and that’s to get a coach (it needs to be an outsider), or use the chocolate system, or join a course to getÊ moving. Or yo can pre-sell the book to your audience (even if ten people buy it, you’ll be forced to write the articles).

The other reason you’ll get derailed is because you may not want the outside world to seeÊ your work.
If for instance you had about 40 sub-topics, you could write one article a week and post it on your blog, but you may not want your audience to see it in advance because you’re afraid they won’t buy. Well, get over it. An audience always looks for complete information, and they will indeed buy yes even when it’s more than apparent that they can get it free. And even if your current audience won’t buy, your future audience will indeed buy. So not only are you creating enormous credibility with your current audience, but also able to produce an outstanding piece of work within the time period. Plus there’s the added bonus of getting feedback as you go along.

I’ve personally written several books this way. I actually get my customers to participate. Sometimes there’s no cost to the participation. Sometimes there is. And the books get done in a systematic fashion.

But won’t my style be different at the end of the book?

Sure it will. As you keep writing, you’ll learn more and your style may change a bit. Or a lot. It doesn’t matter. You’re not a pro-writer just yet. Your job is to finish the book. And finish it on deadline. Pro-writers would take the same job and do it in three-four weeks. That’s why their style doesn’t show so much variation. If you wanted to put your nose to the grindstone and turn out an article a day, you could quite easily finish an entire book in a little over a month and get into the exalted world of pro-writers.

So to summarise:

1) Get several books on your topic.
2) Get even more topics from their contents pages.
3) Now that you have a list of 5-10 topics, it’s time to get sub-topics.
4) These sub-topics can come from sitting down and working things out yourself. Or the easy way through a forum or even Google.
5) All you’re getting are the topics and sub-topics. If you copy brand names, ideas and text then you’re in the con business and not the book-writing business.
6) Then it’s a matter of writing the articles. I’d even recommend you write it on a blog week after week. You can password protect the blog but you’re better off having readers egg you on.

And then spring will be gone, summer will be but a memory and Santa will bring you a complete book for Christmas.
The journey of a forty-article book starts with a single visit to the library.
And a series of swift kicks to make sure you don’t get derailed.

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Comments

  1. says

    Brilliant Sean, I love it.

    I love it even more because yesterday (before I read this article!) I did pretty much this to flesh out a structure for an e-book I have been putting off writing for the last…. let’s not say how long!

    A suggestion – if you have a good keyword analyser you can do a lot of research online. This gives you the added confidence of knowing that your book contains info people actually want – because they have told you that by searching for it already.

    Then its a matter of coming up with your own content for the topics in a holistic fashion.

    And making it worth paying for ;-)

  2. says

    Very pleasing to have these lists around.
    I’ve used other lists in order to rapidly write down a straight ‘dynamite’ forward movie plot some time ago: a short story incorporating a hero through five acts – tiny ones one can guess.

    This will serve nicely as a template for me writing a book on ‘Markenhass’ (‘Hating Brands’).

    You can pay me a visit on my site,
    if you want to be even with the latest bangs!

    *thumb

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