Your Book’s Outline: Create Clarity with a Solid Outline
Why use an outline for your book? You’ll avoid going off on tangents or adding in extra topics that do not truly relate to the main premise of your book. Your readers are expecting certain information based on your title, so it’s time to deliver that info in a concise, easy-to-understand manner. Let’s discuss writing your book’s outline.
Creating an outline first – and then following it – will allow you to write more quickly because you already know what topics to include. You are committing to writing the best manuscript you can, and completing it in a timely manner.
Write an outline that puts your ideas into a logical, teachable flow. Jumping back and forth between topics will only confuse your reader so keep them foremost in your mind.
What is the easiest way to explain your ideas? Consider ending each chapter with a case study or other anecdote so readers will come to recognize that a new chapter will begin soon.
Create punchy, memorable chapter titles, much in the same way you created your book title in the beginning of your book writing process. Throw in some of your personality or sense of humor. It’s all about keeping your readers engaged so be creative.
A thorough outline will show you which content you can eliminate and where you’ve got holes in your existing content. The outline should make sense to you, as the author and teacher, but get some outside feedback from a trusted friend or business associate about whether the outline makes sense or if it needs to be edited. Maybe rearranging some chapters is all that is needed to improve the flow. Maybe you realize that one of the chapters needs to be fine-tuned or eliminated altogether. It’s much easier now to edit your chapters than to do so after you have added content.
Once you are happy with your final chapter outline, consider those special pages found in most books. The dedication, preface, foreword, and introduction are all in the front of the book before the first chapter begins. The index, about the author, book club questions, and acknowledgements are all found at the end of the book. Add these pages to your outline so they’re not overlooked.
And a note about your book’s foreword: Make sure to ask two people to write a foreword for you as soon as your book’s outline is complete. Most people are not used to writing in this way, so give them a few pages, or even a chapter of your book in progress so they may read through it and get an idea of the message you are attempting to convey.
I tell people I need it back in three weeks, as this has been the sweet spot for all of my books. If you give them a month they may procrastinate, while if you tell them you need it in two weeks they will feel too rushed to write something special for you. Writing your book’s outline will keep you moving forward during this time.
Now it’s time to scour your master list of curated content and add those links into the chapters you just created. You may have a hundred or more pieces of content to include but this part will be easy if you took the time to organize them before you start putting them into a draft.
Don’t worry about editing this content right now; just get it fit into each relevant chapter. Once the curated content is all inserted, take a break, step away, and prepare yourself for the editing that comes next.
You may be familiar with my story on how I went from being a non-writer when I started my business online in 2006, to becoming a blogger and marketer, and finally blogging my first book – Huge Profits with a Tiny List: 50 Ways to Use Relationship Marketing to Increase Your Bottom Line – and publishing the first version in 2009, to now being a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author.
Best of all, I am now a writer and a creative, sharing stories in a variety of formats, including as television scripts and screenplays. Writing your book’s outline with an eye towards your future will allow you to create a lifestyle by design that will change your life as it has mine.
Please take a look at Book Launch Booster Rockets to decide whether this strategy is the right one for you as you begin writing and marketing your book.
I’m bestselling author, independent publisher, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and I would love to connect further with you. If you have an interest in finding the right JV (Joint Venture) partners to help you skyrocket your way to success, please check out my training at JVs Made Simple so you may get started right away.
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