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Lost Books

Dec 8, 2022


Writing books with ChatGPT

Here’s how we used it to create 3 books in a week.

As an AI publisher , Lost Books makes a point of trying out the latest AI tools to see how they fare in the creation of fictional narratives and world-building. If you’re into this space, you’ve certainly already heard — or tried — ChatGPT, the latest offering from OpenAI. Here’s a quick review of our experience using it to write books.

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Carl's Sims 3 Guide - Skills, Traits, Careers, Rewards, and Lifetime Wishes for Ambitions and World Adventures

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The Sims 3: Writing Guide - Learn to Be a Great Writer

Write books and become a master author.

Writing a novel in a beautifully decorated room in the Sims 3

This Sims 3 Guide was originally written for the PC and Mac versions of the game, but also will help owners of the console versions - PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii. Please remember some info or numbers may have changed.

Learning the Writing Skill is a great way to make money in the Sims 3. You can expect a steady stream of Royalty checks later in your Sim's career. Writing is also the primary skill of the Journalism career track. The opportunities and wishes associated with Writing are very easy to complete, so it's a nice career to choose for stay-at-home Sims who need lifetime reward points. Writing can easly be the career of your household breadwinner. It is, in fact, one of the easies ways to make money in The Sims 3.

Writing Skill Self-Employment Table The Sims 3 Ambitions brought us the ability to label Sims self-employed in any of the money-making professions. To register as self-employed, simply gain a level in the skill and head to city hall. Here are the levels for this skill:

Getting Started as a Writer All that you need to get started writing books in the Sims 3 is a computer. It doesn't even have to belong to your Sim, as you could use the computer at the public library. Certainly, you'll want to own your own computer if you intend to pursue writing seriously, but if you just want to try it out this is an easy way. How to write: click the computer and select write. A list of novel types will appear. All the books you can write, based on writing skill level, will be listed here.

An Even Earlier Start - Toddler Sims 3 Skill Books Toddlers can learn intro writing skills by reading Bluish Eggs With a Side of Pastrami, Frank I'm Not, and Oh the Destinations You'll Briefly Visit.

Learning Writing in the Sims 3 The best way to learn writing is to be write novels. You can also send your Sim to a writing class at the business building in town. I never use refine writing skills, because the Sim could be working toward that wonderful 25 total book mark. Refine may actually increase the rate at which your Sim learns writing though, so if your Sim is only a level or two away from writing a particular type of book, you could use it.

Practice makes perfect. The best way to raise writing is to skip the refine writing skills and go straight to hammering out Novels.

The earnings from a book are primarily based on the diffulty rating of that book. Looking at the list of novel types you can write, more simoleon symbols under the expected royalty column means more money. The harder books will also take longer to write, but are generally the best route for profitability. I recommend every Sim write four of each type of book so they can later specialize in vaudeville or children's books, while still working toward the prolific author writing challenge's completion.

Writing Specialization: Choose a Book Type The first type of novel that you make five books of will be your Sim's writing specialization. Writing masteries can change, but you'd have to write more total novels of another type to change it. If I wrote twenty-five non-fiction novels, I'd have to write 26 of another book type later to change my specialization.

A beautifully decorated room will keep your Sim happy, and help them write better books.

There are lots of factors that can boost the odds that your Sim writes a best selling book: mood, genre experience (number of books written for that genre), how many books the author has read, etc. Yep, reading books helps, so bookworms should definitely take this into consideration. There are plenty of wish opportunities for books read, so this will help get those lifetime reward points.

Profit Per Page simone23 at our forum pointed out to me that I had some old info here. Masterpieces were never the best to write on a profit-per-page basis. Vaudeville and Children's books outperform them, so these are the two most profitable book types to choose for your writer.

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How to Write a Book (with Tactics from Bestsellers)

What’s the secret formula to tapping into your creativity and writing a book? Some authors would tell you there is no single path to authorship , as every writer’s journey is unique. However, almost every bestselling author will have highly effective writing patterns and habits that help them reach their goals. In this post, we'll share some of their most commonly used tactics for starting and finishing a book.

How to write a book:

1. Start with an idea that you love

2. research by reading books by other writers, 3. outline the story, 4. plan the opening sentence of your book, 5. write the messy first draft, 6. set a schedule with achievable goals, 7. find a good writing space, 8. pick a "distraction-free" book-writing software, 9. give yourself incentives to finish your draft, 10. edit the manuscript once you've finished, 11. publish your book for readers to buy.

There's a long, exciting road ahead. So let's get started.

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The one thing you absolutely  need  to write a book is, of course, an idea. If you don't have that, you'll never get past the first page of your draft.

You may already know what you want to write about, or you may be at a total loss. Either way, you can settle on a “big book idea” by asking yourself a few simple questions:

Your answers to these questions will help you narrow it down to your best options. For example, if you have several different ideas for a book, but only one that you're truly passionate about and feel you can pull off, then voilà — there's your premise!

On the other hand, if you  lack  ideas, these questions should steer you in a firmer direction. Think about the kinds of books you love to read, as well as books that have made a significant impact on you. In all likelihood, you'll want to write a book in a similar vein.

Tools to help you find an idea

If you're grasping at straws, consider using creative writing prompts or a  plot generator  to get the ball rolling! You might stumble upon an interesting concept or story element that sparks a “big idea” for your book. (And if you're still uninspired even after trying these tools, you may want to reconsider whether you really want to write a book after all.)

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Once you've found your big idea, the next step is to research your genre. Again, if you're writing the book you like to read , you already have a leg up! Reading books in your genre is by far the best way to learn how to write in that genre yourself.

But if not, you'll want to select a couple of representative titles and analyze them.  How long are they  and  how many chapters do they have ? What does the  story structure  look like? What are the major  themes ? Perhaps most importantly, do you think you can produce a book with similar elements?

Find out what people are reading

You should also conduct market research on Amazon to determine the most  popular  books in your genre. If you want your book to succeed, you'll have to contend with these bestsellers. Go to the  Amazon Best Sellers page  and find your genre in the lefthand sidebar:

How to write a book: what you need to know about bestsellers in your category.

Then read those books' blurbs to figure out what really sells. What do they all have in common, and why might readers find them appealing? Does your book hold up to these standards?

Finally, think about how your book can offer something NEW. For example, if you're writing a psychological thriller, will there be a particularly sneaky  unreliable narrator , or maybe a  series of twists  that the reader never sees coming? If you're  writing a nonfiction book , do you have a unique take on the subject, or a particularly deep well of knowledge? And so on.

Going above and beyond is the only way to give your book a chance in today's hyper-competitive market. So don't skimp on the genre research, because this will tell you where the bar is and how you can surpass it.

Before you write a book, you need to write an outline.

If you want to write a great story , you need to outline it first. This is especially important if it's your first book, since you need a solid blueprint to rely on when you get stuck! (Because believe us, you will  get stuck.)

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Use this template to go from a vague idea to a solid plan for a first draft.

So how do you go about creating that outline for your book? We actually have a  whole other post on the subject , but here are the essentials:

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Reedsy’s Character Profile Template

A story is only as strong as its characters. Fill this out to develop yours.

Let's get into the actual writing and make a dent in your first draft. One of the most important parts of writing a book is  starting the story ! It's no exaggeration to say your first few pages can make or break your book — if these pages aren't good enough, many readers will lose interest, possibly never returning to your book again.

First off, you need an opening hook that grabs the reader's attention and makes it impossible for them to look away. Take a look at the first lines of these hit bestsellers:

“Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
“Renowned curator Jacques Saunière staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum's Grand Gallery.” — The Da Vinci Code
“If all the Saturdays of 1982 can be thought of as one day, I met Tracey at 10 a.m. on that Saturday, walking through the sandy gravel of a churchyard, each holding our mother's hand.” — Swing Time

All of these books fall into different genres, yet all their opening lines do the same thing: capture the reader's attention. You can imitate them by making a similarly strong, slightly furtive statement in  your  opener!

From there, your job is to maintain the reader's interest by heightening the stakes and  inciting the plot . You should also make the reader care about the main characters by giving them distinct personalities and  motivations . (Note that “main” is a key descriptor here; never introduce more than a couple of characters at a time!)

Of course, there are infinite ways to write your first chapter. You might have to experiment with lots of different opening lines, even opening scenes, to find the right balance — but it's worth the effort to set the stage perfectly.

Ever wonder which contemporary writer you are? Now's your chance to find out. Just take our 1-minute quiz below!

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how to write a book - plot, story and theme arae like an iceberg

Many writers believe that the key to writing an amazing book is style: impressive vocabulary, elaborate sentences,  figurative language  that would make Shakespeare swoon.

We're here to dissuade you of that notion. While style is great (as long as your prose doesn't  start to become purple ),  substance  is far more important when writing a book — hence why you should focus primarily on your plot, characters, conflict(s), and themes.

Make sure your book is all killer, no filler

Of course, that's easier said than done, especially once you've already started writing . When you get to a patchily outlined section, it's tempting to  keep  writing and fill out the page with literary gymnastics. But that's exactly what this content is: filler. And if you have too much of it, readers will become frustrated and start to think you're pretentious.

This is another reason why outlining is so important. You need to KNOW your story in order to stay on track with it! But besides outlining, here are a few more tips for making substance a priority:

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Keep readers in mind while writing

Want to write a book that people will  really  enjoy (and buy)? Well, this is pretty much the cardinal rule: you should always be thinking about your audience and trying to write “reader-first.”

For example, sometimes you'll have to write scenes that aren't very exciting, but that  serve the overall story arc . Don't rush through these scenes just to get them over with! Even if they don't seem interesting to  you,  they contribute to the reader's experience by building tension and preserving the pacing — and the reader deserves to relish those things.

Create 'fake' people who will want to read your book

When considering your readership, you should also  keep a proto-persona in mind  for marketing purposes. These are constructed personalities that marketers use to better understand their target customers. The more your book can cater to this hypothetical reader, the easier it will be to sell!

Maybe you're writing a true-crime account for zealous  true crime readers . Such readers will have pored over countless criminal cases before, so you need to include unique details to make  your  case stand out, and craft an extra-compelling narrative to engage them.

How to write book: Focus your writing time with a daily word count goal.

Let's move on to practical ways that you can improve your writing habits. Word count goals play a huge part in creating an effective writing process, especially if you're trying to finish your book  in a certain amount of time .

You should create word count goals for both your individual sessions and per week — or per month, if that's how you prefer to think about your writing output. For relatively novice writers, we'd recommend the following word count goals:

These goals are based on a pattern of 3-4 sessions per week, which is reasonable for a beginner, but still enough to make commendable progress. Even if you only follow our  minimum  recommendations — 500 words per session at 3 sessions per week — you can still easily finish your book in less than a year!

Speeding up the writing process

If you're looking for how to write a book  as fast as possible , your word count goals should look a little more like this:

The figures above adhere roughly to  NaNoWriMo , the event in which participants write an average of 1,667 words/day to complete a 50,000-word book in  one month . It's hard work, but it's definitely possible to write a book that quickly; hundreds of thousands of people do so every year!

But as any author who's done NaNo can attest, it's also a pretty grueling experience. Most authors find it exhausting to write such great quantities for so many days in a row — and they still have to  edit copiously  once they're done.

If this is your first book, make sure you take your time, set manageable word goals, and gradually build to bigger goals.

Use writing sessions to establish a schedule

Having a healthy writing routine is the only way you'll actually hit those word count goals — not to mention it fosters a better relationship with writing overall! To establish a healthy routine, ask yourself these baseline questions first:

The best way to set up your routine is to take advantage of your pre-existing schedule and natural patterns. So for example, if you already go to the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays, perhaps the best time to write would be on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Or if you find yourself most creative late at night ( many of us do! ), you can plan late-night sessions over the weekend/before your day off, so you can sleep in the next day.

Ultimately, you just want a well-balanced writing routine that facilitates productivity, yet keeps you from burning out. If you find that writing for several days in a row is too much for you, space out your sessions more or try to shake things up by moving to a new writing space. If you can't keep up with your goals, it's okay to reduce them a little.

Yes, writing a lot is important, but it's not more important than your mental health! Remember that writing a book is a marathon, not a sprint, and that a consistent, healthy approach is absolutely vital. Here are some tips for making the most of your writing routine.

Don't skip more than one session in a row

Life happens, and sometimes you won't be able to make a planned writing session. However, unless it's a serious emergency, you should try to get back in the saddle for your next session. Otherwise, you'll lose too much progress and feel discouraged, which typically leads to skipping even  more  writing sessions, and eventually giving up.

Track your progress

Screenshot of the Reedsy Book Editor showing daily progress bars and an overall wordcount

With our free writing app, the Reedsy Book Editor , you'll see the numbers update automatically depending on your activity: you'll see how many words you added  and deleted on any given day. Depending on the overall goal you set for your manuscript, you'll also see your daily targets adjust depending on how much you've written so far.

Use a site blocker to stay focused

Distraction is the enemy of routine, and the biggest distraction in our modern world is the Internet. To that end, download a site-and-app blocker to use during your writing sessions so you won't be enticed by social media or adorable cat memes. We'd recommend  Freedom , as you can schedule block sessions in advance and even keep track of your productivity   within  the app.

writing 3 books


How to Build a Solid Writing Routine

In 10 days, learn to change your habits to support your writing.

Another major component of how to write a book is  where  you write, hence why it gets a separate section. If you want to complete an entire book, you absolutely must find a calm, focused space for your writing.

This may be in your house, a coffee shop, a library, a co-working space — wherever you can work productively and without interruptions. It should also be a place that you can access easily and go often. Working from home is the most convenient option in this sense, but it may be difficult if you have family around, or if you don't have a designated “room of one's own” (i.e. an actual office, or at least a desk).

What does a good writing space look like?

Try out different locations to see what works for you. Indeed, you may find that you like to rotate writing spaces because it keeps you energetic and your writing fresh! But wherever you go, do your best to make the space:

We've already talked about a few different pieces of software to help you with writing a book. But if you haven't found the right app or program yet, never fear — there's plenty more where those came from!

Book writing software is a topic we've actually  written an entire post about , but it's worth touching on a few of our favorite writing tools here:

Scrivener 🖋️

Scrivener is  the  downloadable writing software of choice for many writers, and for good reason: it has an exceptional interface and tons of useful features. You can outline chapters with its drag-and-drop system, create labels for elements you want to track, and use various templates to plan AND format your book. If you want to feel like a true professional, you can't go wrong with Scrivener — and it's even free to try for 30 days.

Or if you're not much for outlines because your thoughts are all over the place, Milanote can help. The super-flexible interface allows you to “mind map” just as you would longhand, and rearrange different sections as you please. When writing, you can see all your notes at once, so you don't have to stress about forgetting things. It's a very refreshing, intuitive way approach that's worth a try for all disorganized authors.

FocusWriter ✍️

Speaking of intuitive, what's more intuitive than simply writing on a piece of paper, no distractions — just like the old days? Meet FocusWriter, which allows you to do exactly that. The full-screen default interface is a sheet of paper on a wooden desk: no bells, no whistles, no distractions whatsoever. Seriously, this one will get you in the zone.

The Reedsy Book Editor 📖

We couldn't leave out one of the coolest word processing, editing, and formatting tools on the market! All jokes aside, the RBE lets you cleanly format your book  as you go,  so you can watch it take shape in real-time. You can also add sections for front matter and back matter and invite collaborators to edit your text. Plus you can toggle on goal reminders to make sure that you're on track with your writing schedule. Once you finish writing, you can export the files of your book. But don't take our word for it: you can try the RBE for free right here .

Reedsy's #1 Writing Software

We designed a writing app for authors and it’s free to use. Sign up now and start writing your book.

Learn how Reedsy can help you craft a beautiful book.

how to write a book: start writing and stay motivated

Getting into the groove of writing a book can be difficult. When there are a million different things to distract and discourage you, how can you keep going with your writing routine and finish your book?

Based on ours and other writers' experience, here are a few motivational strategies for you to try:

For even more advice on how to staying motivated through the writing process, check out this Reedsy Live from author and writing coach Kevin Johns!

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Don't give up

Remember how we said you'd inevitably get stuck? Well, that's what this step is all about: what to do when you hit a wall. Whether it's a tricky plot hole, an onslaught of insecurity, or a simple lack of desire to write, all writers experience setbacks from time to time.

There are countless ways to  overcome writer's block , from freewriting to working on your characters to taking a shower (yes, that's a legitimate tip!). However, here are some of the most effective techniques we've found:

Most of all, remember to take setbacks in stride and not let them get you down. As platitudinous as that might sound, it's true: the only thing that can stop you from writing a book is if you, well,  stop writing . So keep calm and carry on — every day brings new opportunities and you'll get through this.

Your aim at this point is not to emerge with an instant masterpiece. The quality almost always emerges in the edit.

how to write a book, step 14: get feedback

You can write all day, all night, to your heart's content... but if no one else likes what you've written, you might end up heart broken  instead. That's why it's crucial to request feedback on your book, starting early and from as many sources as possible.

Begin by asking your friends and fellow writers to read just a few chapters at a time. However, apply their suggestions not only to those chapters, but wherever relevant. For example, if one of your friends says, “[Character A] is acting weird in this scene,” pay extra attention to that character to ensure you haven't misrepresented them anywhere else.

Once your book is finished, you're ready for some more intensive feedback. Consider  getting a beta reader  to review your entire book and provide their thoughts. You may want to hire an editor to give you professional feedback as well. (Find out about the different types of editing, and which type your book might need,  in this post .)

Finally, it might sound obvious, but we'll say it anyway for all you stubborn writers out there: feedback is useless if you don't actually listen to it. Separate yourself from your ego and don't take anything personally, because no one wants to offend you — they're just trying to help.

You’ve persevered to the end at last: brainstormed, outlined, and written a first draft that you've edited extensively (based on feedback, of course). Your book has taken its final form, and you couldn’t be prouder. So what comes next?

Well, if you’ve taken our advice about catering to your target readers, you may as well give publishing a shot! We have a  full guide to publishing right here  — and if you’re thinking about traditional publishing,  read this article  to decide which is right for you.

Get help from publishing professionals

Publishing is another rigorous process, of course. But if you’ve come this far to find out how to write a book, you can pretty much do anything! Invest in  stellar cover design , study up on  marketing , or start writing an  irresistible query letter  that will get you an offer.

Whichever route you take, one thing will remain true: you’ve written a book, and that’s an incredible achievement. Welcome to the 0.1% — and may the next book you write be even greater than the first. 📖

13/12/2019 – 15:33

thank you for helping me find a new way to write my book

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Writing Spaces

Readings on Writing

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Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing , Volume 3, is a collection of Creative Commons licensed essays for use in the first year writing classroom, all written by writing teachers for students. 

Download the full version of the book (PDF):

You can also select a link below or visit our  Essay Sequences or Essay Clusters  to to learn how you can use Writing Spaces in your course design work. Because of the Creative Commons licensing, you can upload these texts to your personal website, share them with colleagues and students, or put them on your institutional learning management system class website.

Purchase a print version through our partner,  Parlor Press .

Topics in Volume 3 of the series include punctuation, visual rhetoric, peer response, style, multimodal composing, discourse communities, ethos, usability, personal experience in academic writing, exigency, and assessment.

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180 Days of Writing for Third Grade - An Easy-to-Use Third Grade Writing Workbook to Practice and Improve Writing Skills (180 Days of Practice) 1st Edition

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For over 40 years, TCM’s resources have been used by educators across the U.S. and in 89 different countries. Offering a broad range of innovative curriculum resources, TCM’s products support reading, writing, mathematics, social studies, science, technology, test preparation, and professional development for Grades K-12.

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Language Advisor

Great Writing 3

writing 3 books

Great Writing 3 is a six-level series that helps students develop their academic writing with expanded vocabulary building, sentence development, and National Geographic content to spark ideas

writing 3 books

The new edition of the Great Writing series provides clear explanations, extensive models of academic writing and practice to help learners write great sentences, paragraphs, and essays.

With expanded vocabulary instruction, sentence-level practice, and National Geographic content to spark ideas, students have the tools they need to become confident writers.

Updated in this Edition:

Clearly organized units offer the practice students need to become effective independent writers.

Each unit includes:

Part 1: Elements of Great Writing teaches the fundamentals of organized writing, accurate grammar, and precise mechanics.

Part 2: Building Better Vocabulary provides practice with carefully-selected, level-appropriate academic words.

Part 3: Building Better Sentences helps writers develop longer and more complex sentences.

Part 4: Writing activities allow students to apply what they have learned by guiding them through writing, editing, and revising.

Part 5: New Test Prep section gives a test-taking tip and timed task to prepare for high-stakes standardized tests, including IELTs and TOEFL. The new guided online writing activity takes students through the entire writing process with clear models for reference each step of the way.

New Test Prep section gives a test-taking tip and timed task to prepare for high-stakes standardized tests, including IELTs and TOEFL.

Updated National Geographic content sparks ideas for refined academic writing.

The new guided online writing activity improves students ability to outline, draft, revise, and finalize their work.

Expanded Building Better Vocabulary highlights academic words, word associations, collocations, word forms, and vocabulary for writing.

Expanded Building Better Sentences helps writers develop longer and more complex sentences.

Now in the fifth edition, Great Writing is a six-level series that helps students develop their academic writing with expanded vocabulary building, sentence development, and National Geographic content to spark ideas.

Great Writing provides clear explanations, academic writing models, and focused practice to help students write great sentences, paragraphs, and essays.

Great Writing 3: From Great Paragraphs to Great Essays

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The Sims Wiki

Writing (The Sims 3)

The Sims 3

Writing is a skill in The Sims 3 .

Sims can only write by using a computer . The skill is augmented by Artistic and Bookworm traits , and Acclaimed Author lifetime reward (Some other traits are also useful for several types of writing). Finished books will be mailed to the Sim after completion free of charge with the exception of articles which simply appear in the Sim's inventory . They can be read just like any other book. The books can also now be found in the library, and be bought from the Bookshop in town. Income is paid once a week, at 12 pm on Sunday, for 6 weeks per book. Small payments are also received for every 20% of the book that is completed. If the author dies, payments will stop for any books they have written. With The Sims 3: Ambitions expansion pack, players can register as a self-employed writer. Being a writer is very hard compared to other skill careers, as many, and possibly all, of the Sim's wish slots will be taken up by wishes related to the career.

Statistics [ ]

Challenges [ ]

Prolific Writer

Specialist Writer

Useful Writer traits [ ]

Along with the traits that provide a bonus to individual writing genres, the following are traits that might generally be useful:

Additionally, for each bonus trait that a Sim possesses upon completion of a novel, the book royalty is increased by 25%.

Opportunities [ ]

A history of one [ ].

Write a Biography of (Sim).

Your Autobiography [ ]

Write an Autobiography.

Correcting Past Mistakes [ ]

Book donation [ ].

Donate three books at City Hall.

Add a Little Drama [ ]

Write a Drama.

To Boldly Go [ ]

Write a Sci Fi novel.

Hopefully You Like Orks [ ]

Write a Fantasy novel.

A Masterpiece [ ]

Write a Masterpiece.

A Few Pages of Satire [ ]

Write a Satire.

The Glory of Vaudeville [ ]

Write a Vaudeville novel.

Descriptions of each skill level [ ]

Can words move another Sim to cry? To laugh? To fall in love? [Sim] has begun the literary path, one that is not always the less traveled, but perhaps one in need of excellence. Will the next bestseller be penned by [Sim]?

Congratulations! [Sim] has just improved [his/her] Writing Skill to level 3! [Sim] now understands how to write drama novels. Don't hold back the sappy dialogue and deep plot-line -- readers will eat it up!

Congratulations! [Sim] has just improved [his/her] Writing Skill to level 5! [Sim]'s fingers may be a tad sore, but the calluses will heal and key replacements for keyboards are cheap. Keep typing away, and that masterpiece will be within [Sim]'s grasp. [Sim] now possesses the touch to pen Humor Novels. The neighborhood can always use a little more funny.

People have no doubt wept from the telling dramas written by [Sim]. Readers have no doubt laughed until their stomachs hurt, and it can most definitely be said that the most vivid tales were created by none other than [Sim]. Enjoy the royalties - they are well deserved.

writing 3 books

writing 3 books

How to Write a Book in 12 Simple Steps [Free Book Template]

BY Justin Champion | Nov 19, 2020 | Writing

You're ready to learn how to write a book…

And as a first-time author, you're nervous about this new journey because you want first-time success (who doesn't?).

But today's publishing industry has become noisy . There is endless information out there on writing a book, and with the rise of self-publishing , it can be overwhelming, to say the least.

Here's how to write a book step-by-step:

If you’re ready to take the leap, become an author , and learn how to write a book the right way, start with this resource to get your wheels in motion.

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Get Our 6″ x 9″ Pre-Formatted Book Template for Word or Mac

We will send you a Book Template for US Trade (standard paperback size).

writing 3 books

As a first-time bestselling author, I can tell you that writing my first book was one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences of my life.

I experienced a lot of growth and pushed through many hurdles, in my mind and process, and being able to learn how to publish is something I am truly proud of.

And I'm ready to share the steps with you, so that you can go on to write a book of your own, and find success as a first-time author.

Ready to start writing your book? Let's get to it!

Part 1: Successful Foundations When Learning How to Write a Book

In Part 1 of this article, we'll start with the basics. While the steps in this phase may seem to be unrelated to actually writing a book, they are very important.

In fact, setting yourself up for success will help you build the foundation needed to start , and finish, your book.

We'll talk about developing a writer's mindset to get you in a frame of mind that's conducive to writing. Then, we'll discuss how to create a writing space that will boost your writing productivity , and how to choose the best writing tool for your needs.

Tips for success as you write a book:

Step 1 – Develop a Writer’s Mindset

Writing a book takes time, work, and dedication. It’s easy to romanticize being a well-known bestselling author like J.K. Rowling or Octavia Butler. However, every author has a story on how they started out just like you or me and overcame adversity to get where they are today.

For example, Rowling, who had no job and was on welfare at the time, would take her children to a coffee shop and write.

Butler, who was a dishwasher and potato chip inspector at the time, would wake up at two or three in the morning to write and wrote herself mantras to keep her focused on her goals.

The first step in learning how to write a book is learning how to overcome mindset blocks, deal with self-doubt as a writer , and develop a healthy frame of mind that will help you achieve your goals .

write a book mindset quote graphic

Let’s review three things you can do to circumvent roadblocks and crush challenges to keep you focused on your goal — writing your book .

1 – Hold yourself accountable to writing your book

It’s not good enough to write only when inspiration strikes. There will be days where writing is the last thing you want to be doing.

But you have to treat your writing as if it were a job, or a duty. This means holding yourself accountable, taking action, and showing up every day.

Here's how to hold yourself accountable to writing:

I write early in the morning before I do anything else for 1-2 hours. I find that as I go throughout the day and work on other projects my mind isn’t as fresh or sharp by the end of the day. However, sometimes I have ideas throughout the day that I jot down in Evernote to jump-start the next morning with a working outline.

2 – Give yourself permission to be a writer

This might sound silly, but it's true: you need to give yourself permission to be a writer. Many aspiring authors get stuck in their mindset, which prevents them from initiating and completing their writing projects.

Even successful authors feel like they aren't good enough. Acknowledge your feelings, but then shake them off, and move on with your day.

Hear this: You don't have to be an expert to get started. You don't have to feel 100% confident to be a good writer. You don't even have to be all-knowing to teach others about your experiences or knowledge.

Here's how to give yourself permission to be a writer:

3 – Announce your intention to write a book

The best way to hold yourself accountable for your work is to let others know your goals . Is there someone you trust or a group of people in your network you can appoint to check in on progress?

Perhaps there is someone else you know who is trying to write or someone who is a seasoned writer who can serve as a mentor. If so, try to have regular check-ins with this person.

One way to keep these meetings consistent is to schedule a lunch or coffee date. Talk about your progress and perhaps any challenges you’re facing. They may be able to bring a fresh perspective.

I told my wife, Ariele, and several of my closest teammates from work about my intentions to write my first book. We had regular check-ins to talk about progress. Everyone helped keep me motivated and had different feedback that helped progress the book. Without them, it would have been a lot more difficult to write Inbound Content in the timeframe I did.

Step 2 – Create a Book Writing Space

The second step in how to write a book has to do with your environment. Where you choose to write will have a major impact on your writing productivity.

Find creative spaces where you can produce your best writing.

Sure, some might argue that they can write anywhere as long as they have the tools to write . But where we choose to write play a huge role in our writing motivation and focus.

Questions to think about: Where do you work best? What surroundings inspire you most? Identify them and make it a best practice to work there consistently.

creative book writing spaces graphic

Here are creative writing spaces to write your book:

My main writing location is the dinette in my Airstream. I do my best work when traveling; I wrote the manuscript for my book in six weeks as I traveled the U.S. and  worked full time from the road .

Step 3 – Choose your Book Writing Software

The next step in how to write a book has to do with writing tools .

In 1882, Mark Twain sent to a publisher the first manuscript to be written on a piece of technology that would transform the writing industry: the typewriter.

Nowadays, we have computers with word processing and the internet where you can find an endless assortment of useful book writing software and apps that are meant to help you be an efficient and effective writer. If you're writing a novel, check out this guide to novel writing software .

You may be tempted to overload on apps because you think it’ll help elevate your writing. But honestly, less is more . The truth is that the right tools and even self-publishing companies make writing and publishing easier and more enjoyable.

Instead of overwhelming you with all the possible apps in existence, below is a list of three tools I recommend adding to your writing toolkit today (and they’re free).

1 – Google Drive

Google Drive is one of the most versatile cloud storage services available today. But Google Drive is so much more than cloud storage. Here’s a list of ways you can use Google Drive to help you write your book:

Plus, Google will give you 15GB of free storage just for signing up.

If you’re new to Google Drive, here’s a list of resources that can turn you into a pro. (FYI, if you have a Gmail account, you have a Google Drive account.)

2 – Grammarly

Grammarly is an editing tool that helps you identify grammatical errors, typos, and incorrect sentence structure in your writing.

Download the web extension and Grammarly will edit most anything you type in a web browser (yes, it will work with Google Docs).

You can check out this Grammarly review if you're on the fence about this one.

3 – Evernote

Inspiration can strike at any time. Capture those thoughts and ideas as they happen in Evernote. You can even sync Google Drive and Evernote . I recommend doing this, especially on your mobile device.

4 – A Notebook & Pen

Don't underestimate the power of good ole' fashioned pen and paper when it comes to writing a book, which is arguable the only essential writing tool out there.

Even if you write your entire manuscript on a trusty writing software program , you'll still want to have a dedicated notebook available for the times when inspiration strikes and you can't access a computer.

Every writer should have a notebook handy for random ideas and thoughts. You can jot these down in your notebook, then revisit them and digitally store them in your book writing software when you're back at the computer.

how to write a book step-by-step infographic

Section 2: How to Write A Book

Now we'll move on to how to actually start writing a book. This is the part that seems simple, but can be more difficult than you realize.

However, once you get through the process of actually writing your book, you will gain momentum to finish it, and eventually publish it.

We'll show you how to write a book in these steps.

Step 4 – Determine Your Book Topic

It all starts with an idea. What's your book idea ?

Maybe you already know exactly what you want to write about. Or maybe you have a million ideas floating on in your head, but you don't know exactly where to start.

One of the most common pieces of advice for aspiring first-time authors is “write what you know.” A simple phrase that’s meant to be helpful, yet it begs so many questions.

If you're struggling with a book idea, try jumpstarting your creativity by experimenting with these writing prompts.

Whether you’re writing a non-fiction how-to guide or a fictional post-apocalyptic thriller, you need to form a connection with your audience and you can do that through emotion. The best way to create emotion with your reader is to understand them.

Here's how to determine what you want to write about and how to write it in a meaningful way.  

1 – Identify your target reader

The key to producing meaningful content is understanding your reader. You can do this by creating a reader persona — a semi-fictional representation of your ideal audience.

To get started with your reader persona, consider answering the following questions:

The more you know about your reader, the better experience you can create for them.

When you set out to write a book, you have to think about your reader wants to know more than what you want to say. Make your book about the reader: what do they need to know in order to learn what you have to say?

My main audience is marketers and business owners at small- to medium-sized businesses . They’re strapped for time and don’t need another theoretical resource. They value real-world examples to help visualize what tips and strategies look like in action.

2 – Write about something that intrigues you

You need to write about something that spikes your curiosity, something that keeps you coming back day after day. Something that lights you up and that you're invested in.

I can’t stress the importance of this enough. If you choose a topic to write about for the wrong reason, don’t expect to create something that people will love.

You need to be able to stick with it through dry spells and bouts of non-inspiration. Your own desire to hear the story will be what drives you through.

I’m a practitioner at heart and curious about finding ways to use content marketing to stand out and compete online. It energizes me to explain complex problems in an easy-to-understand way. Inspiration for this project is what kept me coming back to work on it day after day.

3 – Research potential topics

In our digital age, we can conveniently research topics from the comfort of our own home.

Google makes it easy to research just about any topic. Have multiple ideas for your book? Do a search on Google to learn more.

Here’s a list of ways to research your book concept on Google:

I performed extensive research before writing the manuscript for Inbound Content. It was important for me to understand what content was already out there, which content was performing well, and most importantly, how could I make my book unique. This is exactly why I included homework after each chapter to help my readers build an action plan that they could implement immediately, something I noticed wasn’t typical in other marketing books.

4 – Choose a topic you can write about quickly

Writing your first book is invaluable because it's a serious learning experience. The process of actually writing a book and completing it will make this book a personal success for you, because of how much you will learn about yourself and your craft in the process.

Don't get hung up on a topic. If you're struggling with deciding what to write about first, go with the topic that you know best. Choose a topic or experience that you can write about quickly, with limited resources.

Here's how to find a topic you can write about quickly:

Step 5: Write A Book Outline

Once you know what you want to write about, you’re probably eager to start writing.

Keep in mind these words from Mark Twain: “The secret to getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”

Let’s review what you can do to create a clear book outline for your book that you can use as a roadmap.

1 – Create a mindmap

You have an idea, now it's time to hone in on just exactly what that idea is. With a mindmap, you can drill your topic down into sub-topics. It will help you get all of your ideas out and onto paper.

Here are the steps to mindmap your book's topic:

Once you have mindmapped your idea , you should have a full page of brainstormed thoughts, ideas, and concepts. You can then review what you've written, and begin to organize them. This will come in handy when it comes time to actually start plugging in content for your book outline.

2 – Write a purpose statement

In one sentence describe the purpose of your book. A strong purpose statement will explain to readers why they should consider reading your book.

This will also help you stay focused as you begin drafting your outline and writing your book. It will prevent you from straying from related topics, and going off on tangents.

When you have trouble solidifying what your book is about , review your purpose statement.

Inbound Content‘s purpose statement: People who read this book will learn a step-by-step process on how to do content marketing the inbound way.

3 – Create a working title

A working title is a temporary title used during the production of your book. Identifying your book by giving it a name can help set the direction.

Once you finish your work you can revisit the title and update accordingly. Don't get too hung up on this step; think of the title as a placeholder. It isn't permanent, but it will be helpful to begin with one in mind.

If you need help thinking of a working title, use our Nonfiction Book Title Generator .

Inbound Content’s working title was Content Marketing Simplified. Once I completed the content, I updated it to something more fitting based on the content I created.

4 – Write an elevator pitch for your book

An effective elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 30 seconds. For context, 30 seconds equals about 65-70 words.

Having a prepared elevator pitch will come in handy throughout your book-writing process. It will help you nail your book's purpose and topic, and it will help the concept become crystal clear not only for yourself as the writer, but for your potential readers, too.

As you ask family and friends to hold you accountable to writing, and as you connect with fellow writers, authors, and mentors, you will be asked about your book. Having a prepared elevator pitch will help you nail the answer without hesitation, each and every time.

Pro tip: Take the time to nail your elevator pitch. You want to be ready to have a clear, confident answer when people ask about your book.

how to write a book outline infographic

5 – Draft a working outline for your book

It's time to draft a working book outline! Just like the working title you created, this outline is a work-in-progress. The outline can change throughout your writing process, and that's okay!

However, it's super helpful to start with an outline so that you know where to begin, and have a general roadmap for where to go as you start writing.

Use the related concepts and sub-topics you organized in your mindmap, and start plugging in some content into your outline.

If you want to create a solid foundation for your book in just a few hours, consider this BookMap method . It’s a template you can follow to quickly pull together all the subjects you want to write about and organize them into topics that will become chapters of your book.

Your outline will do wonders for you once you start writing. It can help you avoid writer's block , and increase your writing momentum and productivity . Instead of wondering what to write about in the next chapter of your book, you'll already have an idea of where to start with your book's outline.

6 – Fill in the gaps with more research

After your working outline is completed, it's important to do further research on your topic so that you can fill in any areas that you missed or forgot to include in your original outline.

Research is important, but writing is more important when it comes to completing your book. So, make sure you balance time for research wisely.

Do not get too caught up in your research that it prevents you from writing your book. Take some time to research, but set a limit. Always go back to writing.

nonfiction book research infographic

Here's how to research when writing a book:

7 – Frameworks on how to write your book

If your book can follow a framework, this will make it easier to keep your writing organized and relevant.

By choosing a format or structure for your book's topic, you'll be able to align your outline in a way that will be helpful when you start to write each chapter.

Most nonfiction books can fall into a specific framework, or a blend of frameworks. It's better to start with a specific framework, then tweak it as needed as you continue writing.

Here are common nonfiction book frameworks to consider when writing a book:

Step 6 – Finish Writing Your Book Draft

For many, the hard part isn't getting started with how to write a book… it's in actually finishing it !

Commit to finishing your first draft, and you're already succeeding!

Here are our top tips to keep the momentum going as you start taking action after learning exactly how to write a book.

1 – Break your book writing into small chunks

Now that you have your book's outline and framework, it's time to get started with writing.

Like a marathon, your manuscript is essentially a puzzle made up of many smaller like-themed pieces. Your finished book may be 262 pages long, but it’s written one word or thought at a time. Pace yourself and stick to your consistent writing schedule .

If you approach your book writing by focusing too much on the larger picture, you can get overwhelmed. Write chapter-by-chapter.

Start with baby steps by chunking your writing into small pieces. Set milestones, and celebrate the small wins.

Here are some tips for breaking your writing into small pieces:

Pro tip: Set deadlines to complete the chunks of writing you need to meet your goal . This will help you better prioritize your blocks of writing time and word count goal.  

2 – Build the momentum to finish writing your book

Writing is difficult. Writing an entire book is even more difficult.

When you're in the weeds with writing your book, there will be days you want to give it all up.

There will also be times when you have writer's block, and even though you know what you should be writing about, it all sounds wrong as you re-read what you've written in your head.

Here's how to fight writer's block and increase your writing momentum:

3 – Collaborate with others

There's strength in numbers when it comes to accomplishing a huge task.

And, more importantly, it can help you feel less isolated in what can be a very solitary act. Writing a book can be lonely!

Let’s review three things you can do to collaborate with others when writing your book.  

1 – Connect with your original accountability partner or group

A great example of finding accountability partners is through a group or self-publishing company much like what Self-Publishing School does with their Mastermind Community on Facebook.

2 – Attend a writer's conference

Sharing space and networking with other writers can do wonders for your own writing habits and momentum. By attending writer's conferences , you'll be in a room full of people just like you.

Not only will you be able to network with and learn from expert authors who have been where you are, but you'll also be able to meet fellow aspiring writers going through the same process as you.

writers conference infographic

3 – Collaborate with thought-leaders on your subject

Ideal for non-fiction writers , this collaboration could mean asking well-known people in your industry to write a quote that brings value to your content.

create value quote dharmesh shah

Pro tip: When promoting your book launch on social media, consider creating a buzzworthy piece of content like an engaging blog article and have your audience share it.

Section 3: Bring Your Book to the Finish Line

Now it's time to put on your marketing pants and spread the word about your book!

Step 7: Include Front & Back Matter

There are elements outside of your book’s content that you’ll need to write, such as a preface, foreword, notes, etc. I suggest waiting until after you’ve written your book. This way, not only can you better connect them to your story, but you won’t waste time editing them in case you make changes to your manuscript.

Let’s review eight final touches you may or may not need to wrap up your book.

1 – Preface or Introduction

Draw in your readers with a compelling story. This could be a personal anecdote related to your topic. Tell them what the book is about and why it is relevant to them (think of your reader persona from earlier).

2 – Foreword

A foreword is typically written by another author or thought leader of your particular industry. Getting someone credible to write this can add a lot of value to your readers.

3 – Testimonials

Just like with the foreword, try and find respected, well-known people in your space and have them write a review about your book. The best way to promote yourself is to have someone else speak on your behalf.  

how to write a book back cover blurb photo

4 – Author Bio

How do you want to be portrayed to your audience? Readers love knowing personal details of an author’s life, such as your hobbies, where you live, or what inspired you to write this book.

Pro tip: The author bio on the flap of your book might be one of the first things people read when deciding whether or not to read our book. Keep it short, but make sure it packs a punch (just like your elevator pitch).

5 – Glossary

A glossary is an alphabetical list of terms or words relating to a specific subject, text, or dialect with corresponding explanations. If you are writing nonfiction, especially a topic that uses a lot of lingo or uncommon words, make sure to include a glossary to create a better experience for your readers.

6 – Notes

If you are writing nonfiction , keep track of your sources as you research and write. A clear bibliography will only add to your value and credibility.

Being nonfiction that was based on a lot of research and experiments, I made sure to include a notes section in Inbound Content. It included citations, stats, image sources, etc.

how to write a book notes

7 – Images

Using images is a nice addition to your content. Images can create a more engaging experience for the reader while improving the communication of hard-to-grasp concepts.

how to write a book with images

Pro tip: Include a figure number on each image. This way you can easily reference it in your text. You can organize images by leading with the chapter number first, then image number after the bullet point. For example, the above image is image 22 in chapter 11 of Inbound Content.

8 – Edit Your Book

Once your manuscript is completed, it's time to edit your book, which involves self-editing first, then having a thorough professional edit done.

The success of your book will depend on its quality, and a thoroughly edited book is a solid way to increase your book's quality.

Even the best writers require editing, so don't feel discouraged by this process. In the end, you'll be glad you followed the editing process, and will have a completed, error-free book that you can be proud of.

1 – Self-edit your book

Remember when we told you not to edit your book as you wrote? Well, now's your time to shine in the editing department.

Once you're book is written, it's time to go through and read it line-by-line.

We recommend printing your entire manuscript out on paper, then going through each page and making edits. This will make it easy to spot errors, and will help you easily implement these changes into your manuscript.

There's a specific strategy to self-editing ; if you start this process blindly, it can be overwhelming, so make sure you understand how it works before diving in.

You'll want to read for structure, readability, and grammar and word choice. There are a few different ways to self-edit book, and it will depend on your own preferences.

Here's some tips to self-edit your book successfully:

Once you complete your self-edit, you can make your revisions on your manuscript, then get ready for the next round of edits.

2 – Hire a professional book editor

Now, it's time to hand your book off to a professional editor.

As meticulous as you may be, there are bound to be some grammatical or spelling errors that get overlooked. Also, a professional editor should be able to give you feedback on the structure of your writing so you can feel confident in your final published draft.

3 – Re-write sections of your book's draft using your editor's feedback

Now it's time to improve your book using your editor's feedback. Don't be discouraged when you get your manuscript back full of edits, comments, and identified errors.

Think of these edits as opportunities to improve your book. You want to give your reader a polished, well-written book, and to do this, you need to edit and re-write.

This doesn't mean you have to re-write your entire book. You simply have to go through your editor's feedback, and make any revisions you think are necessary.

If there is something you don't agree with your editor on, that's okay. In the end, it is your book, and you are in control of what you want to add or take out of the manuscript.

Just be sure your revisions are coming from a place of sound reasoning, and not pride.

4 – Finalize your book title

If you haven't done so already, it's time to revisit the working title you created for your book earlier in the process.

You need to finalize your book's title before you move on to the next steps!

If you need help deciding on a title, cast a vote with your target readers and mentors in your author network. Send an email out, post a social media announcement , or reach out through text with people that are considered your book's ideal reader.

Get feedback on your title by asking people vote for their favorite. Include the top three choices, then use the crowdsourced results to narrow it down even more.

Once you have a title selected, don't worry too much if you're not 100 percent sold on it yet. Even if the title turns out to not be effective, you can always change the title depending on the publishing platform you select.

9 – Choose a Compelling Book Cover

Don’t judge a book by its cover? Please.  People are definitely judging your book by its cover. 

The cover design is generally the first thing that will pique a reader’s interest.

You can find freelance graphic designers to create a compelling book cover for you on many online marketplace sites like Upwork, Reedsy , and Snappa . You can even check with a local graphic design artist for a more hands-on approach.

Tips for creating an effective  book cover :

Keeping these best practices in mind, I chose a cover for Inbound Content that was simple but made the title pop and let the subtitle provide the promise to the reader.

book cover of inbound content by justin champion

Step 10 – Format Your Book

Now that you’ve written your manuscript, it’s time to format it so you can visualize the final product — your book!

Formatting your book is an important step because it has to do with how your book will appear for the reader. A successfully formatted book will not cut-off text, incorrect indentations, or typeset errors when printed or displayed on a digital device.

If you've already decided to go with self-publishing versus traditional publishing , this is all on you. But if you're not tech-savvy and don't have the time to learn how to format your own book, you can hire a professional to do this part for you.

If you know how to format a book correctly and to fit your book distributor's specification, you can do so in Word or Google Docs. You can also use a program like Vellum Software .

Otherwise, we recommend hiring someone to do this professionally, as it's one of the most important aspects to get right. Check out Formatted Books if that's the case for you.

Step 11 – Prepare to Launch Your Book

Before you hit “Publish” it's time to do the groundwork to start prepping for your book's launch, and your ongoing book launch and book marketing strategy.

There are a few steps involved in this process, which we'll outline below.

1 – Build your book's launch team

This is an ongoing step that you can start doing when you are finished with your rough draft. As you send your book to the editor, designer, and formatter, you can organize a launch team in the meantime.

Your book's launch team is essentially a group of individuals that are considered your target readers. They will help you promote your book, and will be actively involved in the launch process of your book.

2 – Develop a marketing mindset

It's time to start shifting your mindset from writing to book marketing . Think about your strengths and areas of growth when it comes to sales and marketing.

Acknowledge any fears or self-limiting thoughts you have, then push past them by remembering your book's purpose. Know that the power of sharing your knowledge and experience through your book is stronger than any fear that might hold you back.

It's important to understand in the marketing phase that your mindset has a huge role in the success of your book. You can write the best book in the world, but if you don't channel some energy towards marketing, no one will know it exists.

3 – Create a book launch strategy

There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to your launch strategy, so it's important to draft up a plan before you publish your book.

Your launch strategy is basically how you plan to create momentum with your book. Think of it like a business launch. There's always a big celebration to announce the launch of the business. It's the same for your book.

Step 12 – Publish Your Book

The self-publishing process steps will vary on whether you are publishing your book as an eBook only, or whether you plan to publish it as a print book.

It will also vary depending on which self-publishing companies you plan to work with. There are many self-publishing platforms to choose from, including Amazon's KDP and IngramSpark .

If you plan to work with a different book publisher , you'll want to follow their guidelines.

Once you've hit publish on your platform, you can start implementing your launch strategies and marketing strategies, which we'll cover in the next section.

Step 13 – Market Your Book

Now that your book has been published, it's time to sell it and get your words into the hands of as many readers as possible.

This is where your marketing strategies come into effect, and this is how you can really leverage your book sales and build a book business.

Here are six ways to market your book:

FAQ: How To Write A Book

If you read through this guide and have specific questions, here are some other Frequently Asked Questions we get often.

How long does it take to write a book?

The time it to write a book depends; on average, it takes self-published authors anywhere from 1-6 months, but that can be shorter or longer depending on your writing habits, work ethic, time available, and much more.

How much do authors make?

There is no set amount that an author can make. It largely depends on so many factors, such as the genre type, book topic, author's readership and following, and marketing success.

For a full report on this, please read our report on Author Salary

Writing a book is not a get-rich-quick strategy by any means. While a book can help you grow your business through techniques like a book funnel , unless you sell hundreds of thousands of copies of books, you likely will not earn six figures from book sales alone.

How much money does an author make per book?

The money an author makes per book sold is calculated by the royalty rate. The royalty rate varies depending on the publishing medium, and company.

Use this Book Royalties Calculator to get a better idea of your potential earnings.

How much does it cost to write and publish a book?

With Amazon self-publishing and other self-publishing platforms, the cost to publish is actually free. However, it costs money to hire professionals that actually produce a high quality book that you will be proud of.

For full details, read this guide on Self-Publishing Costs .

Can anyone write a book?

Yes, anyone can write a book and thanks to the rise of technology and self-publishing, anyone can publish a book as well.

Traditional publishers used to serve as the gatekeepers to publishing, holding the power to determine which books would be published – preventing many stories from not being shared, and many talented authors from not being recognized.

Thankfully, this antiquated system is no longer the only option. This also means that because anyone can technically publish a book, it is extremely important that you create a quality, professional book that's of the highest standard.

You Wrote A Book!

And that’s it! Those are the steps to take to learn how to write a book from start to finish.

You can and will write your first book if you put forth the effort. You’re going to crush this!

Trust the process, create a consistent writing schedule, and use this practical guide to help you through the journey.

Are you ready to write your book?

writing 3 books

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How to write chapters: Create a compelling Chapter 3

We’ve written about how to structure a chapter generally, writing good opening paragraphs and pages, and developing Chapter One’s intrigue in your second chapter. Writing a good third chapter is equally important. Your early chapters hook readers and build interest you can sustain. Read ideas and tips to write the best third chapter you can, along with examples from books that show effective story development:

writing 3 books

We’ve written about how to structure a chapter generally , writing good opening paragraphs and pages, and developing Chapter One’s intrigue in your second chapter . Writing a good third chapter is equally important. Your early chapters hook readers and build interest you can sustain. Read ideas and tips to write the best third chapter you can, along with examples from books that show effective story development:

What should a third chapter do?

While there are no exact ‘shoulds’, there are different functions great authors’ third chapters often fulfill. When we examine these functions, they help us understand how we can make our own third chapters more effective. [The sixth week of our Kickstart your Novel course is devoted to writing an effective third chapter.]

Some common functions of third chapters:

Some of the core ways you can build or sustain intrigue and interest in Chapter 3 are by changing one of the ‘5 W’s’ – who, what, why, where and when.

Let’s explore each of these ways you could develop your third chapter further:

1. Share relevant details from main characters’ histories

If the beginning chapters of your story throw your reader into action, Chapter 3 is a good opportunity to go back to origins. You could show the formative experiences that made your characters who they are today.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez does this expertly in Love in the Time of Cholera . The first two chapters describe the death of Dr Juvenal Urbino. Marquez tells of the arrival of Urbino’s widow’s long-lost lover, Florentino Ariza. Florentino proclaims his undying love to the widow, Fermina Daza, at the funeral, to her anger.

Chapter 3 opens by hurtling back to the early history of this love triangle, detailing the early days of Urbino and Fermina Daza’s love:

‘At the age of twenty-eight, Dr. Juvenal Urbino had been the most desirable of bachelors. He had returned from a long stay in Paris, where he had completed advanced studies in medicine and surgery, and from the time he set foot on solid ground he gave overwhelming indications that he had not wasted a minute of his time.’ (p. 105)

Marquez develops the deceased doctor’s character in chapter 3, showing him as a desirable man of action. This character history is relevant  to the story so far, showing:

Thus Marquez develops a secondary character to show the complexity of love. He shows how the light, practical kind of love and the obsessive, all-consuming kind both have their problems, and comforts, too.

Indeed, further on in the first page of Chapter 3 Marquez writes of the young Dr Urbino’s choice of Fermina:

‘He liked to say that this love was the result of a clinical error. He himself could not believe that it had happened, least of all at that time in his life when all his reserves of passion were concentrated on the destiny of his city…’ (p. 105)

Thus the third chapter deepens the complexity of Marquez’s characters, showing us the crucial ways they differ from each other.

Writing chapters - Jane Smiley quote for writers | Now Novel

2. Create new tensions or challenges

After you’ve introduced your story scenario in chapters one and two, your third chapter is an opportunity to create new tensions . What could go wrong, or simply test main characters’ courage or affect their emotions?

Margaret Atwood creates an effective third chapter in The Blind Assassin that does exactly this.

In the first two chapters of the book we learn that the main character Iris’ sister killed herself by driving off a bridge. This is of course already an extremely difficult situation. Yet in the third chapter, Atwood explores the aftershocks, how Iris has to deal with further trouble:

Atwood’s third chapter opens as Iris narrates:

‘This morning I woke with a feeling of dread. I was unable at first to place it, but then I remembered. Today was the day of the ceremony.’ (p. 37)

From this mysterious opening (we wonder what ‘ceremony’ Iris is talking about) we learn she’s attending a graduation ceremony. Iris’ sister-in-law Winifred has set up a literary prize in her late sister’s name. Over these early chapters we learn Iris and Winifred have a difficult relationship, due to Winifred’s manipulative, ‘social climber’ personality.

As Iris sits at the award-giving, she narrates this tension further:

‘Then the Alumni Association man cleared his throat and gave out a pious spiel about Winifred Griffen Prior, saint on earth. How everyone fibs when it’s a question of money […] She knew my presence would be requested; she wanted me writhing in the town’s harsh gaze while her own munificence was lauded.’ (p. 41)

Atwood thus uses the events unfolding surrounding Iris’ sister’s death to show the tensions and hostilities in her main character’s other familial relationships. Family betrayals and hostilities play a big part in Laura’s path, as Atwood later reveals. Thus these tensions are relevant to the preceding, and continuing, story . We see how (from Iris’ viewpoint) the sister-in-law uses the painful situation to make herself look generous. We see how callous this feels to Iris, who is called to speak publicly about her sister at a difficult time.

The third chapter thus develops existing hostilities and tensions, slowly unpacking more of the issues underlying Laura’s choice.

Another way to write an interesting third chapter is to switch to a new viewpoint:

3. Switch to a new viewpoint character

After chapters one and two, you’ll likely have introduced your story’s main players. This is a good opportunity to bring in a new character, one who develops your premise further or takes your story to new, intriguing settings.

David Mitchell handles a switch like this well in his epic adventure, Cloud Atlas .

In the second chapter of the book, a young music composer, Robert Frobisher, writes letters to a mysterious friend, addressed by his surname as ‘Dear Sexsmith.’

Frobisher describes his life living with an elderly, respected composer who is going blind, for whom he notates music. The next chapter opens with a switch to Sexsmith’s point of view. It opens thus:

‘Rufus Sixsmith leans over the balcony and estimates his body’s velocity when it hits the sidewalk and lays his dilemmas to rest. A telephone rings in the unlit room. Sixsmith dares not answer.’ (p. 89)

Immediately, Mitchell has taken the character from being the secondary recipient of letters to a main character . What’s more, he’s seemingly in a tense, dangerous situation. Sixsmith not daring to answer the phone, coupled with his thinking about whether he would die if he were to jump, suggests he’s in grave personal danger.

This switch in pace and focus creates immediate suspense, filling us with questions. Who really is Sixsmith? Why is his life so full of tension? How does this relate to the chapter that came before?

When changing viewpoint character from chapter two to three, ask:

How to write chapters - book chapter quote Karin Slaughter | Now Novel

4. Develop further setbacks or complications

In learning how to write a third chapter, you notice how many third chapters involve setbacks or complications. Closing some doors for your characters means others can open. In The Goldfinch , Donna Tartt opens her third chapter with her main character Theo’s fears from the previous chapter: He’s just been suspended from school:

‘I like to think of myself as a perceptive person (as I suppose we all do) and in setting all this down, it’s tempting to pencil a shadow gliding in overhead. But I was blind and deaf to the future; my single, crushing, worry was the meeting at school.’ (p. 14)

Yet by the end of the third chapter we have foreshadowing that there is worse to come. (A bomb blast at a museum that claims his mother’s life.):

“Oh, drat! ” cried my mother. She fumbled in her bag for her umbrella – which was scarcely big enough for one person, let alone two. And then it came down, cold sweeps of rain … there was something festive and happy about the two of us, hurrying up the steps beneath the flimsy candy-striped umbrella, quick quick quick, for all the world as if we were escaping something terrible instead of running right into it.’

Thus one of the main tensions in Chapter 3, Theo’s fear and frustration surrounding school, is interrupted by a bigger setback – the loss of his mother in a blast at the museum.

Your characters’ setbacks might not be anything as life-altering or devastating as this. Yet the third chapter is a good point to introduce new hurdles that either defer earlier ones or dwarf them by comparison.

Exploring characters’ backstories that explain their choices or dilemmas, creating new tensions, setbacks or complications, and changing POV are just some of the ways you can keep your story intriguing and full of enticing unknowns.

Create structured chapter outlines using the Scene Builder tool in the Now Novel dashboard and brainstorm what could happen in your third chapter.

Related Posts:

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Jordan is a writer, editor, community manager and product developer. He received his BA Honours in English Literature and his undergraduate in English Literature and Music from the University of Cape Town.

8 replies on “How to write chapters: Create a compelling Chapter 3”

In my book I’m putting a lot of action in the fourth chapter. The woman who my main character (named Lilly) had been staying with get’s shot, and Lilly has to go on her own. Could you perhaps make a post on how to write action realistically? And I’ve been having trouble making my character react realistically as well.

Hi Misha, thank you for sharing that. We do have a post on writing action scenes here: https://www.nownovel.com/blog/write-fight-scenes-action/ I hope it helps!

It’s a pleasure!

What better place than Chapter Three to begin adding to my story the horror that has become my protagonist’s life? She suffers from PTSD, she keeps looking for her Marine husband who apparently has been killed. She is a petite girl-next-door who become a U.S. Marine military police officer who is now going home to search for her missing godson (Southern Baptist people normally don’t have godchildren), and her twin sister may have disowned her for the way she’s been treating her family for the past four years. While there is so much more for her to overcome in my story, Chapter Three is a good place for us to begin to see what those troubles in her life are.

Hi Jim, this sounds fascinating! I love the idea of woman marine as a protagonist. It sounds as though you’ve thought out a lot of the details of her life and backstory too. All speed as you progress. I hope things get better for her in due course, too.

I think I’m going to use the third chapter to give an explanation and some backstory. There are things that happened in the first chapter that really don’t make sense unless you know me and have heard me talking endlessly about the story I’m setting up, but there is one event that truly defines my character, the death of her best friend Mary Elaine. Thanks for the tips.

Thanks for sharing that, Evelyn. It’s good to leave some unknowns for later clarification, and it sounds as though you have a good plan for where to slip that into the narrative. Good luck!

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Kindergarten Writing Books

1. LeapPad Plus Writing: Kindergarten Book - Reading/Writing by LeapFrog Learn to write the letters A - Z with this LeapPad Plus Writing activity book! With an effective letter-writing approach, audio instructions, fun sound effects and games that keep you coming back again and again - you'll be ready to write in kindergarten! Learn to write capital and lowercase letters with "Kindergarten Reading & Writing". It also teaches short vowels, long vowels, consonant blends and digraphs, writing simple words, beginning sounds, middle sounds, rhyming and spelling.

2. Literacy for the 21st Century : Teaching Reading and Writing in Pre-Kindergarten Through Grade 4 by Gail E. Tompkins, Paperback: 448 pages, Publisher: Prentice Hall Based on a parent book that is the best-selling literacy read on the market, this new volume addresses strategies for teaching reading and writing to children from Preschool to Grade 4. The author provides a solid foundation in the content of literacy instruction; phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, liberally spiced with her trademark "minilessons" and replete with children's writing samples. Included are a wealth of age-appropriate assessment tools, authentic classroom activities, and illustrative examples of how effective teachers engage children in preschool through primary grades in the captivating act of reading and writing. For practicing elementary school teachers seeking to improve their techniques for providing individual attention, assessment, and evaluation of student reading skills.

3. Reading And Writing In Kindergarten: A Practical Guide by Rosalie Franzese, Paperback: 160 pages, Publisher: Scholastic Lessons and Strategies That Help Young Learners Develop Literacy Skills Through Shared Reading, Guided Reading, Interactive Writing, Read-Alouds, and More Complete Kindergarten Literacy Program. This practical guide to teaching literacy in kindergarten is based on the premise that "students can manage higher and more specific goals than those of the traditional kindergarten program." A spirit of play is essential, and this program combines that philosophy with the nitty-gritty of successful instruction. Shared, guided, and independent reading, integrated with interactive, shared, and independent writing and a constant infusion of word-study skills provide a playful, confidence-building curriculum.

4. Reading & Writing: Kindergarten (Jumpstart) by Liane Onish, Duendes Del Sur, Paperback: 32 pages, Publisher: Scholastic JumpStart Workbooks are designed to engage and motivate children while teaching the important skills needed to succeed in school and in life! Each one includes vibrant, full-color artwork, and an all-new curriculum based on the collaboration of JumpStart, the number one-selling software for children. Introduce the effective power of the mini-lesson format into your classroom and discover the skills you need to teach your young writers. With fifty-nine mini-lessons organized by the function they serve in the kindergarten classroom, and calendars that outline skills expectations for your students' first year of writing instruction, this resource helps you customize the power of writers' workshop so you can meet the needs of your emergent writers.

5. Growing Up Writing: Mini-Lessons for Emergent and Beginning Writers by Connie Campbell Dierking, Sherra Ann Jones, Paperback: 144 pages, Publisher: Maupin House

Author Services Australia

How To Boost Your Writing Productivity

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Practical ways to boost productivity as a writer and finish that book!

When it comes to different ways to boost your writing productivity as an author, you have three essential ingredients: time, imagination, and a system that will enable you to be productive during your allotted writing time.

However, to get the most out of your limited writing time, you’ll need to know how to be productive and what’s stopping you from achieving your goals.

Is your environment too noisy to write in? Are you setting yourself writing goals and constantly failing to achieve them? Or is writing an activity you do when you’ve completed all your other tasks?

If you answered yes to any of these, you need to finish reading this post!

In the following article, we’ll go through eight easy ways to boost your writing productivity as an author. So, if you’ve decided to step up your writing game as an author or are just sick of missing deadlines, this article is for you.

8 Ways To Boost Your Writing Productivity Summary:

1. Learn the Best Time to Write

You need to protect your most productive hours. If you know when you’re working or writing at your best, you need to schedule your writing around these hours. Like you would schedule a client meeting or time on a project, schedule your writing time.

How much you schedule will come down a lot to your personal preferences. For example, some people like to finish their writing early in the day, and any ‘ spare ’ time at the end of the day would be a bonus. For others, their most productive writing time could come at the end of the day.

Learn when you are the most productive and try to block out some time for your writing during this peak period. During this time, set yourself a writing goal, but keep it realistic. It’s better to attempt to achieve a realistic goal consistently rather than fail to meet your goals.

2. Dealing with Distractions

I think most authors will be able to relate to being distracted.

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If this happens to you, don’t panic. You’re not alone. Social media and digital media are designed to get you off whatever task you’re doing. For example, did you know that social media programs like Facebook use algorithms to determine when you wake up and time notifications to appear during this time?

3. Creating Time to Write

So, how do you combat these distractions? First, set yourself a period where you will write without distraction. Then, buy an old-fashioned alarm clock if you can’t stop yourself from checking your phone. Or move your phone away from you.

“When asked, “How do you write?” I invariably answer, “One word at a time,” and the answer is invariably dismissed. But that is all it is. It sounds too simple to be true, but consider the Great Wall of China, if you will: one stone at a time, man. That’s all. One stone at a time.”

— Stephen King

The next step, which might not be for everyone, is to turn off your Wi-Fi or internet. If you don’t need it to write, switch it off. I already know what you’re going to say, “what if I need to research something or confirm a fact?” Make a note and check it later. This writing time is for writing. Not fact-checking or Googling.

4. Learning from the Best

Do you know how George R.R. Martin writes his book? On an old computer not connected to the internet. When it comes time to get the book from one computer to another, he saves it on a USB and transfers it. No internet. Turn off email. No social media. Say goodbye to distractions!

Instead of trying to work around the distractions in his life, George R.R. Martin created an environment without distractions. Now, for a full-time author with several best sellers, movies, and other deals, this is obviously a luxury. It’s not something that all of us can do. However, there are some variations you could try.

This brings us to using distraction-free apps to help us manage our writing time.

5. Use Distraction-Free Apps and Programs

There are a variety of different apps, all designed to keep you distraction free while you work. No more getting distracted by social media, emails, or those pesky notifications popping up.

6. Creating a Consistent Habit to Boost Your Writing Productivity

Have you heard of the television show Seinfeld? The Seinfeld show ran consecutively from 1989 through to 1998 and has earned over $3 billion. Jerry Seinfeld famously turned down $110 million to film a 10 th season.

One of the strategies that Jerry Seinfeld uses is the ‘ don’t break the chain ’ strategy. His strategy is to write every day, and it works for authors too. If you consistently write, you are more likely to get a better-finished product. It also helps you avoid losing track of where you are, the plot, and the storyline.

The more often you write, the easier it will get, and the less likely you are to procrastinate over your writing.

7. Organize the Environment Around You

What’s the environment around you look like? Are you surrounded by clutter, stationary, cables, or loose papers? Part of being a better writer and how to boost your writing productivity is identifying what’s dragging you away from writing.

writing 3 books

No two people are the same. What bothers you may not bother someone else. The important thing is finding these triggers and then eliminating them.

Below are 5 tips for decluttering your work environment:

8. Boosting Your Daily Productivity

It’s often little things that take us away from what we’re meant to be doing. But, unfortunately, lots of little distractions can quickly add up to a significant loss of productivity.

Below are 5 quick tips to boost your writing productivity:

Effective Ways to Boost Your Writing Productivity – Conclusion

Writing can be hugely rewarding and fulfilling but, at times, totally frustrating. Sometimes all we need is a good reset to get back on track and get our writing project completed. If you would like to learn more about writing or are ready to take the next step in your self-publishing journey, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly. Be sure to check out our other writing articles, including How Do You Get Writing Ideas?

Our friendly and professional team includes writers, cover designers, editors, and formatters. We would love to help make your dream of becoming self-publishing a reality.

What are some of the ways that you overcome procrastination and become more productive as a writer? Your tips could just help another author hit the magical ‘ the end”  line of their book.

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Ideas, Inspiration, and Giveaways for Teachers

We Are Teachers

Rethinking Leveled Readers: 8 Ways To Use Leveled Books That Align With the Science of Reading

Fresh ideas for putting your leveled books to work.

Lindsay Barrett

If you teach elementary literacy, you’ve probably heard science of reading advocates cheering for decodable text . The benefits are legit: Decodable text gives kids more chances to apply their phonics knowledge to reading instead of encouraging poor reading habits like guessing at words. But what about your (expensive!) collection of leveled readers? Leveled readers don’t have the same tightly controlled phonetic demands as decodable books, but they do increase strategically in difficulty. Many leveled books also have content that kids like. Plus, as kids grow as readers, they definitely need chances to read without those decodable training wheels.

Even if you shift toward using more decodable text in your classroom, don’t feel like you have to toss out your whole leveled library to align your teaching with the science of reading. Check out these ideas for using leveled readers alongside decodable text.

1. Use leveled readers with support

The world isn’t always 100% decodable, so of course we want students to be exposed to more varied reading material. Leveled books can provide this—just make sure you’re there to help! Definitely choose leveled books that have some words kids can decode using phonics skills they’ve learned, and some high-frequency words they’ve learned or can decode like regular words. Then, be available to give on-the-spot help with words that include phonics patterns they haven’t learned yet. Students will still get the benefit of some decoding practice, and they’ll also get to enjoy and learn from the content of the leveled book.

2. Pre-teach tricky vocabulary

Example of pre-teaching vocabulary words in leveled readers

Source: Mrs. Winter’s Bliss

Leveled readers often expect kids to rely on the pictures or context to guess at challenging words rather than decode them. Help kids decode and discuss them before reading to pre-teach these words instead. Pre-teaching vocabulary is a reliable strategy for building language knowledge, too, so it’s a win-win.

3. Use leveled readers during strategy groups

Strategy groups can include readers at different levels who need work on the same thing, and you could use leveled books that fit your teaching goals. (Remember to give decoding support as needed to discourage guessing at words.) Strategy groups could use leveled books to help learn about things like:

4. Use leveled books to build oral language

Get the most out of those supportive leveled book illustrations! Bypass the text and use leveled readers like wordless books. Use them to support English learners or other students who need to build oral language or practice speaking in complete sentences.

5. Build student background knowledge

Example of leveled readers to build student background knowledge

Source: @library_learninghub

We know that background knowledge and vocabulary are essential for reading success, and leveled readers cover tons of subject matter. Pull together a collection of leveled books around a topic and use them with support to expose kids to science and social studies vocabulary and concepts. Or pick books with topics that fit kids’ interests to get them excited about reading.

6. Use leveled books as attainable writing mentor texts

There is so much fantastic children’s literature out there to model writing craft strategies for kids. But sometimes—especially for young students—it can be overwhelming to try to write like an award-winning adult author. Uncluttered and straightforward leveled readers can be perfect for showing kids manageable examples of what a personal narrative , a “how-to” procedural book , or an “all about” nonfiction book look like.

7. Rewrite your leveled readers

Yes, teaching kids to point to the words, follow a pattern, and guess based on the pictures in a predictable book helps them feel like readers, but they are not actually reading. So who says you can’t rewrite some of your favorite predictable texts to be more decodable? (This gets easier with practice. It helps to arm yourself with a list of high-frequency words your students know or can decode and word lists for the phonics patterns they’ve learned.)

8. Use leveled readers for student writing and comprehension work

Example of adding sticky notes to leveled readers

Source: Reading Rockets

Challenge students to level up those leveled books by adding sticky notes! All the white space on the page is ideal for students to write a more detailed narrative or try out writing craft moves. Adding speech or thought bubbles to the illustrations can help students practice inferring what a character might say or think. In nonfiction leveled readers, students can add labels or captions to the photos.

Do you have other great ways to use leveled readers in your classroom that align with the science of reading?  Share your ideas in the comments!

Plus,  sign up for our newsletters  to get all the latest learning ideas, straight to your inbox..

From building oral language and background knowledge to supporting student writing, there are lots of ways to use leveled readers!

Lindsay has 18 years experience working as a PreK-2 teacher, literacy specialist, curriculum developer, and education writer. Her 5 children vet all the kid lit and keep her perspective real.

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writing 3 books

Independent Author Spotlight: Robert Poyton

writing 3 books

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your background as a writer. I’m a musician and martial artist, originally from East London, now living the rural lifestyle. My parents taught me to read at a young age and since then I’ve always had at least one book on the go! I grew up with the classics, such as the Three Musketeers , Treasure Island , etc, and was a teenager in the golden age of 70s paperbacks.

I’ve been writing non-fiction for quite a while. Then, around six years ago I got an urge to try my hand at writing ghost stories, set in the spooky Cambridgeshire Fens, where I lived for a while. That was my first collection , Remnants . I enjoyed the process and got some encouraging reviews, so went on to write more collections, novellas and also edit a number of anthologies. I’ve also had stories accepted in other anthologies and magazines, such as Lovecraftiana .

I’m always happiest when creating, whether it’s music or writing.  I do enjoy the research and first draft part of any project. Proofing and layout is another matter, but equally important! My aim with my fiction is to put out the type of work that I would enjoy reading myself. There’s also the challenge of coming up with a different angle on older ideas.

What are the most prominent influences on your writing? How do you incorporate those influences without being derivative? Without a doubt, the Big Three – Lovecraft, Howard and Smith. The first two in particular. Smith is a strong influence but his abilities as a writer are way beyond my reach! Outside of those – Karl Edward Wagner, Fritz Leiber, Thomas Ligotti, and so on. Everything I read and enjoy is an influence, I guess. On the other hand, even with a book I don’t enjoy, there is often an interesting phrase or two, or plot idea to pick up.

As I mentioned, I’m usually reading two or three books at a time, usually one fiction and one research. I currently co-host the Innsmouth Book Club podcast and that has been great for introducing me to “new” authors, such as Henry Kuttner, Caitlin Kiernan, etc.

Incorporating influences works in two ways. The first is that great phrase or plot idea that I might “borrow.” There is a saying – all artists are thieves! Same in music. You hear a riff and think, oh that’s interesting... how about if I took that to the G chord at the end. .. Then there is the question of style. In Remnants I deliberately tried to evoke the styles of MR James and Lovecraft, a bit like a tribute band. One review called the stories “derivative” which I was quite happy with, as that is the effect I was going for!

writing 3 books

My Wolf Who Would be King series is very much intended as a Robert E Howard/Conan tribute. However, while trying to keep that Howardian aspect intact, I’m finding as I go on that I’m finding my own voice more and more, too. This is the same as music. Every band starts out playing some covers of other bands they like. The Beatles, The Sex Pistols, everyone. Then, you develop your own sound.

However, there’s also the question of genre. If I’m playing in a surf band, there won’t be 15 minute keyboard solos and several tempo changes. The band plays surf! So if you are writing S&S, there are certain conventions – particularly if you are writing to submit to a specific magazine or collection. That’s not to say that you can’t bring in different themes, or mix genres.  So it largely depends on what type of work you want to produce. In music or writing, especially now, I think it is hard to come up with something truly unique.  In which case, be proud to wear your influences on your sleeve, but you don’t have to be bound by them.

With self-publishing easier than ever, there are tons of books being released every day. What makes your work stand out from the crowd? What can readers get out of your work that they can’t from anyone else? There are two important factors here for me. The first is presentation. We make every effort to make the books that Innsmouth Gold publishes as professional looking as possible. That means a good layout. I’m afraid to say I see some self pub books that have tiny or huge margins, size 14 fonts, and general poor design. I know it takes work, but you have to get a consistent, tidy layout. Then there is artwork. I’m lucky, in that I was trained in desktop publishing, and my wife runs Graveheart Designs and is a talented artist. That means we can work up nice covers and interior art for our books.

So that’s presentation, then there is content. Once written, I try and edit a piece to get it as good and as interesting as possible. There is a saying in music – a mix is never finished, it is surrendered. Same with books. You could go on and on tweaking, at some point you have to pull the trigger and send it to the printer!

I like to think that I am a decent level writer, who puts together good plots. I feel confident writing action scenes, maybe my martial art background helps. I’ve helped trained stunt people in the past, and work a lot with weapons, I feel that gives some insight. I’ve yet to stand, bloody battleaxe in hand, atop a mound of slain enemies, but the day is young! I also enjoy putting Easter eggs in my works, plus a few in-jokes and, where it’s called for (such as my Kolon the Barbarian story “The Tower of the Toad” in the Nookienomicon anthology) outright humour. But it’s also good to chill your audience, or creep them out, too.

writing 3 books

Many authors say marketing is one of their biggest challenges. What tactics have you found to be most effective for getting your name out there? Absolutely, I find it a real chore. And being self-published means I have to do it all myself! I found the best way is not to endlessly plug your books across social media, but to join groups, chat to people, build relationships. I mentioned the podcast earlier, that is another avenue, as well as guesting on other podcasts. That helps get your name around. I’ve also found that both the Lovecraftian and S&S author communities are incredibly supportive, everyone helps each other out. I think that is a nice continuation of the Lovecraft Circle ethos, that mutual sharing and support network.

How much do your audience’s expectations factor in to what you write? Does this ever cause you to hold back from experimenting? For my own work, I write primarily for myself. Now, when writing a series, such as the Wolf Saga or my Assault Team 9 military sci-fi, you have to keep a certain consistency across the books. But outside of that – go wild! My fellow author Tim Mendees and I often chat over “what ifs.” What if you had the Three Musketeers meeting Lovecraftian horrors? What if you put Poe in a sci-fi setting?  This can throw up some great ideas.

So I think it’s important to be open to new ideas without –  going back to the surf analogy –  necessarily straying too far from your genre. Having said that, I feel that writers like Thomas Ligotti have the genius ability to create something truly innovative.

Have you had any new stories published recently? Are you currently working on any? Our latest anthology Feast of Fools and Other Tales went out a month or so back.  That’s our fifth anthology, this time on a Sword and Sorcery theme, so 11 new stories from what we now call the Innsmouth Writing Circle!

At time of writing, I’m just proofing Volume 7 of my Llorc mac Lughaidh series, Wolf on the Waves . This volume is a collection of five stories charting Llorc’s career as a pirate on the Southern Seas. I’m pleased with this one, it combines Howardian action with Harryhausen monsters, a visit to a version of Innsmouth and also some zombies!

My next planned project is a series of three novellas as a sequel to REH’s Worms of the Earth . It starts in Dark Ages Britain, with a Roman investigation into the mysterious disappearance of Titus Sulla. I’ll be starting that next month, hopefully. There will also be a new Innsmouth Gold anthology on the way that puts Lovecraft in a Dickensian setting.... The Pickman Paper s. The Kickstart for that will be up in late March.

Name one newer and one older book you have read and enjoyed recently. (“Newer” meaning from the past year or so, and “older” meaning written before 1980.) Newer books – would be any of the latest S&S collections coming out, such as Savage Realms , Whetstone , your own DMR books, etc.

Older – the Keith Taylor Bard series. I think they may be 80s, but I only just “discovered” them last year. Great books. I’d also like to give a shout out to Adrian Coles The Voidal series, really enjoyed that, too.

Any final words? Thanks for the invite! This is a site I often check out. It’s good to see not just a continuation in S&S but an expansion of it! There are so many good books and collections coming out, it’s encouraging to see S&S developing. I think it often gets written off as a literary form, but to me it continues to fascinate and entertain. Now, if only we could get a decent S&S movie or two... but that’s another story! Oh, and people can find details of all my various projects at Innsmouth Gold . Cheers!

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Turn your computer into a book-writing machine with Scrivener 3, now just $27

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Scrivener software just $27.

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The Mandalorian goes spelunking in a surprisingly productive episode

Din djarin manages to get things done despite being knocked unconscious multiple times.

So much for those epic quests, huh? Last week’s premiere set up what I thought would be the two main storylines this season— finding a new memory unit for IG-11 and then getting Din Djarin to Mandalore so he could bathe in the Living Waters beneath the Civic Center—and this week’s episode just… kinda checked off both of those boxes. I guess that’s what sets the Mandalorian from The Mandalorian apart from certain book-based colleagues : He gets shit done.

First, Din paid a visit to his best friend Peli Motto (could you imagine just a few years ago saying that Amy Sedaris would be a fixture of a Star Wars TV show?), who was in the middle of scamming some poor Rodian in the midst of Boonta Eve celebrations. Boonta Eve, of course, is the day Tatooinians celebrate the time a Hutt named Boonta Hestilic Shad’ruu became a god, but obviously everyone knows that. (I t’s also a traditional podracing holiday , which is probably how most people are aware of it. )

Din asks Peli if she has a memory unit for an IG unit, which in Star Wars is like asking for one of those old iPod cables with the wide plug, so she offers to give him R5-D4 instead. He initially refuses, saying he wanted IG-11 so he could send him spelunking into the depths of Mandalore and figure out whether or not the planet is really “cursed” (and here we thought Din wanted to rebuild IG-11 so they could be friends, or maybe so he could ask if a second season of Our Flag Means Death will ever happen), but Peli convinces him to take the astromech droid because of his experience working with the Rebellion. (I’ll have more to say about that below. )

And that’s apparently that for IG-11, who will now just rot in the hands of those Babu Friks from last week, because Din Djarin, Grogu, and R5 wasted no time in hopping over to Mandalore to finish up that quest. TV seasons are usually longer than two episodes, but like I said, Din Djarin gets shit done. Or he would, if he weren’t occasionally a bit of a dummy—and I mean that as a compliment. One of the nice things about this show is that Din Djarin can be overly naïve and optimistic, because his faith in his fringe Mandalorian cult is so strong that he constantly assumes it will protect him.

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But before Din gets in trouble, he lands on the surface of Mandalore—which is bombed to hell and looks like shit but does not seem to be ravaged by a magical curse, hmmm—and sends R5 out to do some recon. I loved this sequence, which kept the camera either in Din’s cockpit or pointing at him from outside, meaning we get these big wide shots of the planet’s surface as R5 rolls away further and further from the ship, which steadily increases the tension. Throw in Din and Grogu watching R5’s position on a little motion sensor screen, and it’s a nice bit of Jaws / Alien drama.

R5 gets scared by some troll monsters (we later learn they’re called Alamites), and Din hops out to go help… even though they really do a number on him at first, and he just barely survives by poking at them with the Darksaber. But it turns out that the air on the planet is breathable, so Din and Grogu drop down into the Civic Center (I maintain that it’s weird that they called it that) to look for the mines that contain the Living Waters. This is where Din’s naiveté gets him in trouble: He finds an old, discarded Mandalorian helmet, and rather than being suspicious, he picks it up and falls into a trap where a big crab robot snatches him up and carries him away.

Grogu tries to go help, but it turns out that the crab robot actually houses a smaller cyborg-like creature with spindly limbs and tubes who has a big collection of old Mandalorian junk, and he spots Grogu and chases him off. We never do find out what this guy’s deal is, but he’s definitely a creep. He tries to steal Din’s blood for some reason! That’s gross!

Din sends Grogu off to ask Bo-Katan for help, which requires Grogu to use the Mandalorian navigation skills that Din keep telling him to learn. Actually, he just points at a map and R5 does all of the work, but Grogu’s a 50-year-old baby. We can give this to him. They show up at Bo-Katan’s castle, and she’s doing the exact same thing she was doing last week: s itting on a big chair and having a bad attitude. But when she realizes it’s just Grogu who came to see her, she agrees to go help.

Once back on Mandalore, Bo-Katan effortlessly wrecks the troll guys that gave Din a hard time earlier, even spotting them waiting for her to pass by at one point, and then she quickly executes the spiny mecha creep with the Darksaber before he can drink all of Din’s blood—proving, again, that she’s probably better suited to rule Mandalore and wield the Darksaber than Din is.

Bo-Katan helps Din back to the surface and heals him with some kind of special soup, and even though she doesn’t believe in the stuff about magic water that the Armorer instilled in Din, she agrees to take him to the Living Waters and smirk condescendingly while he goes through the ritual to atone for removing his helmet in front of Bill Burr. There’s a potentially interesting moment where Din insists that they, as a people, are nothing without the Mandalorian creed, so perhaps Bo-Katan’s arc here will involve becoming a religious fanatic like he is? Katee Sackhoff could leave the helmet on permanently instead of wearing that big headband.

Together, they reach the Living Waters, and she seems to get a perverse little thrill out of how anticlimactic the whole thing is, going so far as to sarcastically read an old plaque commemorating the important cultural site and how it was once the fabled lair of the Mythosaur, which legendary hero Mandalore The Great supposedly slayed—which is why an image of the great horned beast can be seen on a lot of Mandalorian stuff (like Boba Fett’s armor).

Obviously that’s just a bunch of hooey, though. There’s no Mythosaur. But… then again, what pulled Din under the water when he tried to do his ritual, knocking him unconscious for the second time this episode ? And what’s that big monster that Bo-Katan spots when she goes down to rescue him? Some kinda freakin’ Mythosaur?!

Stray o bservations


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