How to Write a Book: A Step-by-Step Bestselling Guide for Aspiring Authors

Embarking on how to write a book can be overwhelming – but it doesn’t have to be. This no-fluff guide outlines each critical step to take your book from a lingering idea to a published reality. 

From establishing your first draft to the final touches of publication, find clarity and direction, ensuring you’re equipped for every phase of your writing voyage. 

Dive in and discover how to turn your narrative vision into a bound manuscript ready for eager readers.

Why am I Qualified to Cover How to Write a Book? 

Before we get into the how, let’s start by asking a good question: What makes me qualified to write this?  

For starters, I’ve had the pleasure of writing 11 bestselling books in both nonfiction and fiction.  However, from that experience, I created this website, Kindlepreneur – which is one of the worlds largest resources on publishing, and book marketing. 

I’ve also been a paid consultant for major publishing companies, and NYT bestselling authors in many different genres and topics.  I’m also the creator Publisher Rocket, an award winning tool for self published authors and publishing companies that helps with book marketing and understanding the marketing trend.  

Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur

Based on this, I’ve been a part of the writing process, publishing, and marketing side of writing a book.  This wide swath of experiences is what’s allowed me to writing, and hopefully provide sound guidance as you start your journey.  

Step 1: Embarking on Your Writing Journey

The ambition to write a book is profound, offering an opportunity to broadcast your thoughts, tales, and concepts to the world. But before the actual writing begins, you must set the stage for success. Therefore, it is important that you get yourself in the right frame of mind, setting, and establish a consistent schedule so you build a strong habit.  Without these three, you will have a higher chance of failing to write your book. 

Cultivating the Mindset of a Writer

A critical internal shift must precede the physical act of writing, whether by pen on paper or fingers on keyboard. Identify yourself as a writer – your confidence as an author is your compass in the vast sea of words. Don’t think of it as a hobby, or a thing you do.  You are an author.  

The writing journey begins with self-belief and the willingness to embrace imperfections as part of the learning curve. To begin writing is not only about producing words; it’s about growth, embracing the process, and learning to string together words that will one day become your book.

So, say it with me, “I am an author!”

Crafting Your Ideal Writing Space

The environment you choose can significantly affect your productivity, so it’s vital to find a location that fosters focus and minimizes distractions. Whether it’s a quiet corner in your home, a local library, or a bustling coffee shop that somehow fuels your concentration, your writing space should cater to your specific needs.

I personally choose a room in my house where it is hard for my family to disturb, but also put things in it that make it inviting and conducive to writing.  So, make sure you look for ways to remove distraction, and help foster the desire to write.  

Establishing a Consistent Writing Schedule

Most authors fail to finish their book because they tell themselves that they will write when they have time or when they feel like it.  However, consistency serves as the lifeblood of the writing process. 

A consistent writing schedule not only keeps your book at the forefront of your mind but also acts as a safeguard against abandoning the project. Therefore, the best thing an author can do is create a set schedule for them to write. 

When I wrote my first book, I set 5am-7:30am every day, Monday through Sunday as my writing time.  This way, I never scheduled anything during them, and I never got off task.  Now, you don’t have to choose those exact times (many would say I’m a bit too masochistic when they see those times).   But the point is, you need to set it in your schedule and make it repetitive.  Build the writing habit. 

For more information on how to improve your writing settings and thus your writing output, be sure to check the below out: 

Step 2: Best Tool for Writing a Book

Before you get started crafting your novel, it’s best to take the time to consider what writing software you will use.  

And while you might be thinking that Word is sufficient, just remember that it was made for writing long for like novels and there are tools out there that do so much more.  

For book writing, you’re going to need things like plotting and organizing, and finally formatting (turning your written work into printable books or ebooks).  There are a couple of writing tools that can do this.  

But the best one is – it’s the only all in one writing program that allows you to organize your work, writing, and then format as effectively and beautifully as possible.  Plus, soon, it will have the ability for your collaborate with other authors and editors (which is an important step I’ll discuss later).  Also, unlike many others, it isn’t a subscription.  It’s a one time payment – that way your work is safe and not kept hostage to a monthly fee. So, check that out. 

Check out Atticus

Step 3: Structuring Your Book Idea

Before getting started, it is important that you work to plan and organize your writing.  Now, you will find that there are different ways, methods or tactics to doing this.  Some are incredibly organized and use tools, while others are considered Pantzers.  

If you’d like to learn more about those different processes, then you can check out my full guide on plotting a bestselling book.  However, in the meantime, here are two important aspects you should consider.  

Mapping Out Key Points for Plot of Education (Fiction & Nonfiction)

Constructing a story or a narrative resembles tapestry weaving – each thread, irrespective of its color, contributes to the end picture. Mapping out key plot points is about striking the right balance between careful planning and the liberating spontaneity of organic writing. It’s a process that allows you to guide your narrative with purpose while giving your characters the freedom to grow and surprise you along the way.

Plot points serve as milestones in your story’s journey, ensuring that each twist and turn is well-directed but not so rigid as to stifle creativity. They are the cornerstones upon which your narrative is built, providing structure and direction to your storytelling. Take the time to map these out thoughtfully, and you’ll find that the rest of your narrative can flow more naturally from these pivotal moments.

To learn more about plotting and mapping your book, here is a great couple of guides that will help: 

Designing Engaging Characters and Settings (Fiction)

Characters are the soul of your story, and the settings are where their lives unfold. Creating a memorable main character is paramount – they are the lens through which your readers will experience the story. But don’t overlook your supporting cast; they must be just as distinctive and well-developed to bring out the best in your protagonist and enrich the narrative.

If you’d like to learn more about character building, here are some key articles that will help you: 

Step 4: Penning Your First Draft

Creating the first draft marks the commencement of transforming your vision into a tangible reality. It’s a raw expression of your story, a place where ideas take shape and the essence of your book starts to form. 

But don’t worry, you won’t get it right the first time.  Instead, embrace the imperfections of this initial stage; it is, after all, your first attempt at weaving your narrative into a cohesive whole. It’s during this part where authors can get most frustrated. 

In a desire for perfection, you try to make it perfect – instead of just writing. Learn to accept the balance of good enough…this is because in the next step, you’ll have “editing” which is where we’ll work to perfect. 

So, don’t get caught up in this.  

Also, during this phase, you may encounter writer’s block and various challenges, but remember, these hurdles are part of every successful writer’s journey. 

An illustration of someone trying to write a book and feeling excited at first, but then feel writer's block and no longer inspired.

Step 5: The Editing Process

Upon completing your first draft, the next step involves refining your narrative. Editing is where you increase the quality of your book, ensuring it’s polished and free from errors. 

The second draft is about revisions and edits, addressing larger questions about consistency, theme, and the finer details of your story’s opening and conclusion. With a variety of editing, and self-editing techniques at your disposal, you can apply these to improve your manuscript before it ever reaches professional hands.  

So, with that, let’s break down the two decisions here:  Self editing, and professional editing.  Not everyone can afford professional editing and so it is important to break the two apart.  

Self-Editing Techniques

Let’s face it, hiring a professional editor can be both daunting and costly.  That’s why many opt to self-edit.  If you do this, you need to be even more vigilant in finding issues and mistakes before publishing or sending off your manuscript to a publisher.  

First thing is to find others to help you edit.  This could be your spouse or good friend. But the more people you get, the better chance you’ll find a mistake.  

Second, if you’re going to go the self-editing route, I highly recommend you look into a good proofreading software – something with a little more gusto than the likes of the native spell checker.  For those tricky grammatical mistakes and typos, tools like ProWritingAid and Grammarly can be lifesavers, helping you refine your prose and catch errors that might otherwise slip through the cracks. 

If you’d like to learn more about the self-editing process, there you should check these guides out: 

Seeking Professional Editor Expertise

Even the most diligent self-editors can benefit from the fresh and objective eyes of a professional editor. Their expertise is not just about correcting grammar; they provide invaluable feedback on the structure, pacing, and clarity of your writing, identifying areas for improvement that you might have missed. Investing in a professional editor can save you time and frustration, allowing you to focus on broader aspects of your writing career or even start planning your next book.

However, if you are looking to hire an editor, you first need to understand the 4 different types of editors and ensure you fully comprehend what those types of edits entail: 

Developmental editing (may also be called structural or content) – looks at the book’s big picture and overall structure in nonfiction or plot and characters in fiction. Developmental editors may assess a book idea, outline, or early draft to tell authors what works and what could be better. 

Line editing (may also be called substantive or stylistic) – goes through each line refining the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences and smooth-transitioning paragraphs. Learn more about line editors.

Copyediting – corrects grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors and checks for internal consistency of facts and consistency with capitalization, hyphenation, and numerals. Learn more about copy editors.

Proofreading – a final check before publication to find missed typos, missing words, repeated words, spacing and formatting consistency. Proofreading should be the very last level of editing. 

If you’d like to learn more about finding and working with a professional book editor, then check these resources out: 

Step 6: Title, Cover, and Formatting

After refining and polishing your manuscript, the next step involves readying it for your readers. This preparation goes beyond the words on the page – it extends to the book’s title, the cover design, and the formatting, all of which play a significant role in attracting and retaining readers’ interest. 

Crafting a Compelling Book Title

Your book’s title is often the first interaction a reader has with your work, so it should be attention-grabbing, memorable, and informative. Originality is key here; your title needs to stand out from the sea of books vying for attention. Keep it concise – a title that’s too long can be forgettable, but a punchy, powerful few words can stick in a reader’s mind.

Now, there are a lot of ways in which you can brain-storm ideas, as well as use some key marketing data to help choose a bestselling title and fits your book.  So, when you get to the point where you need a title, be sure to check out my guide on how to choose a title

Key Resources: 

Designing an Eye-Catching Book Cover

The book cover is a powerful marketing tool that can instantly attract a reader’s attention and give them a glimpse into the essence of your story. To find the most effective design, test various options and evaluate which resonates best with your target audience. It’s not just about aesthetics; your cover should capture the spirit of your book and compel readers to pick it up or click on it.

Now, when it comes to designing your book cover, you can either do it yourself (DIY), hire a professional to make a unique cover, or buy a premade cover.  

Key Resources:

Formatting Your Manuscript for Publication

Once you’re happy with your cover and title, it’s time to format your manuscript for publication. If you’re going down the traditional publishing route, the publisher will typically handle formatting for you. However, if you’re self-publishing, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your manuscript looks professional in both digital and print formats. Proper formatting is essential; it makes your book easy to read and shows that you take your work seriously.

Again, like in book covers, you can either choose to do it yourself, or hire a professional book formatter.  However, I don’t recommend hiring.  

With softwares like, it's never been easier to build beautiful books in no time.  Furthermore, professional formatters and services are not only expensive, but also, if you ever need to make changes or edits after the fact (which happens more than you think), you have to pay them the full price again to do it.  But if you have software, it's quick and simple to do. 

Key Resources: 

Leveraging Tools and Technology

While writing a book is a monumental task, a wealth of tools and technology exist to make the process more seamless and manageable. Some useful tools for writers include:

  • offers a comprehensive system to organize your writing and format your book, providing an all-in-one solution for writers.
  • Grammarly: editing tool that can assist in identifying and correcting grammatical errors, helping to polish your manuscript to perfection.
  • Evernote: for capturing ideas and inspirations on the go, ensuring that no thought is lost. It’s a valuable resource for writers at all stages of the process.

These tools can greatly enhance your writing experience and help you create your own book, ensuring a successful outcome for successful writers.

Yet, it’s not just about the writing and editing tools. There’s cool stuff like Miro for interactive world-building and the Pomodoro Technique to enhance focus and productivity during writing sessions. These digital aids can transform a daunting task into a structured and enjoyable venture. Embrace these tools; they’re here to support your creative journey, enabling you to focus on what matters most – bringing your story to life.

Digital Tools for Writers

The digital era has armed writers with a multitude of tools designed to simplify the writing process. Applications like Ulysses provide a distraction-free environment for Apple users, allowing you to focus solely on your writing. Text-to-speech software can be a valuable asset, offering a new perspective by letting you hear your manuscript read aloud, which can be especially helpful for catching awkward phrases.

For Windows users, some useful writing tools are:

  • Evernote: offers organizational tools rivaling those of Scrivener and Ulysses, offering a versatile platform for managing your writing projects
  • Miro: features an interactive whiteboard that can help you visualize timelines, family trees, and more for intricate world-building projects

By integrating these digital tools into your step-by-step process, you can simplify the journey from concept to final manuscript.


Writing a book is an extraordinary journey filled with highs and lows, triumphs and setbacks. From the initial spark of an idea to the meticulous process of editing, from the creative decisions around title and cover design to the strategic planning of marketing and launch, every step is part of a larger narrative – your narrative as an author. This guide has walked you through each stage, offering practical advice and insights to help you navigate the path to successful book writing and publishing.

Remember, writing a book is not just about stringing words together; it’s about sharing a part of yourself with the world. It’s a journey of personal growth, professional development, and creative fulfillment. With determination, the right tools, and a willingness to learn, you can turn your dream of writing a book into a reality. Keep writing, keep refining, and never lose sight of the joy that brought you to the page in the first place.

A cartoon illustration meme showing the importance of personal brand awareness - Kindlepreneur

Frequently Asked Questions

How important is it to have a consistent writing schedule?

It is important to have a consistent writing schedule as it helps keep your novel in mind, fosters efficiency, and prevents project abandonment.

What should I look for in a writing software?

Look for a writing software that helps you organize and format your writing, such as This will make your writing process smoother and more efficient.

Can a professional editor really make a difference in the quality of my book?

Yes, a professional editor can make a significant difference in the quality of your book by providing an objective perspective and suggesting improvements to enhance it.

Is self-publishing or traditional publishing better for a first-time author?

The best choice between self-publishing and traditional publishing depends on your goals and preferences. Self-publishing offers more control and higher royalties, while traditional publishing provides professional support in editing, marketing, and distribution. Consider what matters most to you when making your decision.

What marketing strategies are essential for a successful book launch?

To have a successful book launch, it's essential to build a launch team, secure reviews and testimonials, and make use of social media platforms. These strategies can help create buzz and visibility for your book.

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3 thoughts on “How to Write a Book: A Step-by-Step Bestselling Guide for Aspiring Authors

  1. D.A. McGrath

    Loved this format, Dave – am currently editing my next book, so could skip right to that section for tips. The bloggers list will also come in handy for me very soon, so that’s much appreciated too!

  2. Delores Elaine Hill

    I really enjoyed this article. There were many good points I never considered. I am a new writer. I self-published my first book in 2008, it is on Amazon. I am working on a second novel and it is in the revising stage. I cannot afford an editor, so I hope my editing will be enough. I plan to submit to Amazon.

    Thank you so much for the hard work you put into making this information available for authors or soon to be authors, it was much needed.

  3. Sarah Waldock

    I laughed over the idea of outlining software. Really? I do my initial outline in longhand in my plots notebook, where I also describe the characters. I wouldn’t feel connected to them if I did them onscreen. Then I outline 6 chapters ahead, on the end of my document, erasing or moving events around as I go with the chapters written. It sounds like someone has come up with a way to make authors spend more. If I want to write out of order, I add a scene or convo to the plot outline to slot in. Word is quite flexible enough! You don’t need any fancy software. Indeed, you can do it longhand with a separate notebook for outlines. And then edit the first time on transcription, which is more efficient than writing to screen. Only arthritis makes me abandon the habit.

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