10 Steps to Writing a Successful Book
I’ve analyzed hundreds of books that have made a difference and discovered they all share the same attributes of success. That’s why I want to share these steps with you, because they help you ensure your book has them, too.
I call this The D.I.F.F.E.R.E.N.C.E. Process, and you can use it to write your book with authenticity, ease, and certainty that you will be effective in writing a book that matters.
1. D – Define your Audience. It’s a bit of a paradox, but by narrowly defining who you want to help, you exponentially increase your chances of reaching that audience AND people beyond that audience.
2. I – Identify your Voice. Agents of change have one thing in common – they don’t create change from a place of force. To avoid this common temptation, it’s essential they are super clear about who they are. And that’s what you need to do too. So you need to establish your most authentic voice (and consequently leave both forceful and manipulative behind) before you start writing.
3. F – Frame your Outcome. In Stephen Covey’s, highly influential work, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he talks about beginning with the end in mind. He explains the principle that all things are actually created twice – there is a mental (first) creation, followed by a physical (second) creation. In order to guarantee your book will make a difference, you need to begin with the end in mind. By doing so, you get super clear about what outcome you want for your book, right out of the gate.
4. F – Focus Your Author Mojo. There are ALWAYS reasons to NOT work on your book. In order to get your book done, you need to clear your schedule to clear the path for your future. Tapping into your Author Mojo is all about being honest and authentic about what works for you, right now. Not what worked in college, what works for your sister, or what you think SHOULD work for you if only…things were different. By being honest with yourself about your work style and productivity patterns, we can create a schedule that supports you to reach completion.
5. E – Envision Your Success. While “Framing your Outcome” is about visualizing the impact you will have in the world, “Envisioning your Success” is about clearing your mind to write the book you were born to write, and removing the common obstacles that keep most people back.
6. R – Release Your Blocks. I’ve said this before and you will definitely hear me say it again. The biggest mistake most first time authors make is starting their book by writing. If you skip every other part of the DIFFERENCE process, this is the one I want you to focus on. Start by writing an outline that’s organic and authentic, not forced.
7. E – Establish your Author Feeling State. Did you see that movie Like Water For Chocolate? In it, the main character cooks. The food she makes takes on the emotions she had while she was cooking it, so everyone who eats the food feels the same feelings. The same is true for your readers. Whatever emotional state you are in while you are writing will be – on some subtle level – transferred to your reader. That’s why you need to write your book from a place of joy and freedom, because this energy fuels creativity and attracts more positive emotion. You want to feel, as you write, how you think you’ll feel when the book is done.
8. N – Nurture your Manuscript. You started with the end in mind by framing your outcome. But you can’t stop there. Once your manuscript is complete, you need to check back in with it. Does it meet the goals you identified in your planning process? Ensure your editor, publisher, and every early reader understands what you are doing with your book, so the feedback you get from them is as relevant as possible. Make sure every adjustment is in line with your desired outcome. This may be a time to adjust or clarify your desired outcome. That’s fine, but don’t fall into the trap many authors do – getting sucked into other people’s goals or opportunities for your book.
9. C – Create your Masterpiece. How, and with whom, you publish your book will be a substantial determining factor in the impact your book can have in the world. Pick a publishing option that you are sure supports your goals.
10. E – Expand your Reach. While it’s essential to define the group of people you want most to help, once the book is published, you will be able to expand your reach beyond that group – but not sooner. Writing a book that makes a difference is all about doing the hard work of marketing before a word is written on the page. It’s perfect for folks who don’t want to have to sell or promote themselves. If you do it right, you’ll expand your reach and market your book in a way that doesn’t feel like you are marketing at all.
The DIFFERENCE Process is detailed – but it’s simple, and proven. It breaks down each of the elements that every book that makes a difference does well. If you follow this process, you WILL absolutely end up with a book that matters.