12 Steps To Writing A Non-fiction Book In 30 Days



Write a book

Many people dream of writing a book. Do you? 

You’ve come to the starting line but then panic sets in. You realise that you have no idea how to start writing your book. You stare at that blank page and you freeze. Is this familiar?


Where do you begin? How do you begin? You feel that the idea of writing your first book is so daunting.

To help you out I have identified 12 steps to assist you with creating your book.


Step 1: Research

Do your research and have this information at your finger tips. As you do your research take note of your sources and document these because you will need to acknowledge the sources in your manuscript.


Step 2: Define your target market

Define your market because it helps to know who you are writing for?

To be a professional writer, get to know everything about your prospective readers and understand what it is they are looking for. What are their needs and problems and how you as their author can provide a solution.


Step 3: Word count

Make a decision on how long your book is going to be. If crafting a book for the first time consider writing a straight forward, short book. It could be just 10,000 words.

If typically a non-fiction book is 60,000 to 80,000 words and you want to write a book in 30 days then make it a short book. An A4 page can easily fit 200 words so a 10,000 word book is 50 pages.

But if you factor in the size of the font, physical size of the book – the trim size – adding illustrative matter, and book’s layout it is possible that a 10,000 word book can be as long as 100 pages.

Step 4: Set milestones

Set milestones. Decide the date for completing your manuscript and make a commitment to having it finished within 30 days. 

To help you reach that deadline decide on a daily word count. It could be 500 or 1000 words a day. If you produce 500 words a day you first draft would be completed in 20 days but by increasing your word count to 1000 words then your first draft would be done in 10 days.

Step 5: Mind Map

Get started by creating a mind map to brain storm your ideas. A mind map helps you to organize your thoughts and to generate fresh ideas. 


Step 6: Write out your thoughts quickly

After working through the visual exercise of creatively generating ideas spend half an hour quickly writing out these thoughts. Set the alarm on your phone to make sure no longer than 30 minutes is spent on this exercise.


Step 7: Draft title

Knock up a draft title for your book because this helps you to crystallise and narrow down your subject matter.


Step 8: Outline

A non-fiction book consists of an introduction, chapters and a conclusion, so create an outline for your book. Transform the ideas you generated in the mind map together with your fast notes into chapter headings. 

Think in terms of 10 chapter headings and allow 1000 words for each chapter. Break the book down into even smaller units with sub-headings under each chapter heading.


Step 9: Bullet points


Once you have a rough outline, set out the book’s content in the form of bullet points. Estimate the number of words you will need for each bullet point. 

So if you have 5 sub-headings in the form of bullet points each sub-heading could be 200 words. That will give you a 1000 word chapter.


Step 10: Frame a question


One tip for coming up with your sub-headings is to frame each sub-heading in the form of a question and then answer that question.


Step 11: Start writing

Having completed the outline for your book start writing.

Step 12: 1000 words a day


If you can maintain your schedule for writing 1000 words a day the first draft of your manuscript will be finished in 10 days. This then allows you time to rewrite your book and produce multiple drafts.


Chunk it into small bits


These 12 steps for writing a book in 30 days may seem very mechanical, even mathematical, but as an author who has produced many non-fiction books I find it an excellent productivity method. It is far less overwhelming to do your planning and to chunk the contents of the book down into small bits.

Will this method work perfectly for you? Maybe, maybe not.

The important take on this is to have a plan of action that will help you focus and provide you with direction. 

Sure, you may not be perfect and you may deviate at times from the plan. But this gives you a course to follow, and like a sailing boat the sails can be adjusted.


Marji Hill

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