When people come to me frustrated and confused, it's often because in their quest to write a book, they did things out of order. Put the ol' chariot before the dragon as we say in Fairyland. Here are 3 common errors of order for you to consider. If you are fretting over any of these and your book isn't yet written, stop it. Leave them alone and write the dang book.
- Write the Introduction—Maybe because it’s the first thing to read when you open a book, I don’t know, but for some reason, novices tend to want to go straight to writing the book's introduction. In the order of writing content, this step should be dead last. You cannot properly introduce a book until you know it, and you cannot know it until it’s written. Ever try to describe today someone you won't meet until tomorrow? That's a head scratcher.
- Choose a book title and sub-title—similar to the introduction, a book’s title is likely to need adjusting once the book is done. Don't expect to finalize a title until you can see the book for what it is. This is why the publishing industry uses the term “working title.” You choose a temporary title for the book while you are working on it, but don’t settle on one until it’s finished. And never, ever let it distract you from writing. If the book never gets written, you'll never need the title, even if it's a clever one.
- Decide on a publishing route—With so many publishing options these days, all you need to know now is that you will complete the project and publish. As you develop the book, you also will be growing your career, and your desires and needs may change between now and when the book is ready to publish. It’s fine to have an inkling of which direction you want to go, but you don’t need to make a final decision until the manuscript is done.
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