ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Write a Book

Updated on September 14, 2014

How to write a book

So you want to learn how to write a book? Then maybe I can help! I've been a full-time professional freelance writer for over 20 years now, and I've written over 60 published books, mostly non-fiction. Titles I've written range from Living & Working in Germany to Stress-Busting, Start Your Own Home-Based Business to The Internet for Writers.

I'm also the author of the top-selling CD course Write Any Book in Under 28 Days, which is aimed at anyone hoping to write a book in the shortest time possible. The course is crammed with hints, tips and advice for book writers, both fiction and non-fiction, but at its heart is my unique five-step method of outlining and blueprinting. Thousands of buyers of my course have used this method to help create books of their own.

Below you will find an edited excerpt from Module 1 of Write Any Book in Under 28 Days. As well as being (I hope!) interesting in its own right, this should give you a flavor of the course content. For more info, please visit the Write Any Book in Under 28 Days website. Don't forget to check out the testimonials page!

Getting an Idea for your Book (1)

Maybe you already have an idea for your book. If not, here's a suggestion for you.

Start by thinking about your job (and if you're a student, a carer, a home-maker, a full-time parent or an unpaid volunteer worker, that counts just as well). Think about whether there are there aspects of this which would be of interest to ordinary people, or people who do similar jobs to you (or would like to). Remember, you don't have to be an 'expert' now - you can always research what you don't know later. But clearly it helps if you already know something about your subject. And by the very fact of doing a certain job, you already know more than the great majority of the population about this subject.

However, suppose your job doesn't suggest many ideas - or you simply don't find it interesting or exciting enough to inspire you. Try thinking about jobs you have done in the past. Think about your hobbies and leisure interests, from baseball to gourmet cookery, astronomy to foreign travel. Could any of these provide the inspiration for a book?

And think about experiences you have gone through in your life. The topics below (an expanded version of the list in Module One) have formed the basis of many thousands of books already. How many of these could you write about from experience yourself?

* Getting Married

* Having a Baby

* Bringing Up Children

* Living With Teenagers

* Dealing With Bereavement

* Being A Student

* Shopping for Bargains

* Coping With Divorce

* Buying/Selling a House

* Learning to Drive

* Buying a Car

* Extending Your Home

* Making Your Own Clothes

* Designing a Garden

* Getting a Job

* Starting Your Own Business

* Managing Staff

* Negotiating a Payrise

* Employing People

* Managing Your Time

* Travelling With Children

* Investing Your Money

* Overcoming Disability

Getting an Idea for your Book (2)

Remember, the experience itself is just a starting point. From the list above, take ‘Being a Student’, for example. Here are just a few ideas for books which might derive from this:

* Leaving home: a guide for young people

* Study skills for students

* Improve your memory

* How to work your way through college

* Cooking for cash-strapped students

* The Internet for students

* Making the most of student life

Hmm. I might have a go at one or two of these myself! Seriously, the point I am making is that most people have the seeds for hundreds, probably thousands, of books within them already. All you need to do is spend a little time thinking about your life – things you do now and things you have done in the past – and consider how your knowledge and experience might be of interest to others.

And here’s a further idea to make your idea even more attractive to potential readers and publishers: develop your own technology around it! And no, I don’t mean you have to produce some clever gadget to accompany your book. By technology I mean a plan or system around which you can structure your book (or part of it).

An acronym is a good example of what I’m talking about here. For those who don’t know, an acronym is a word made up from the initial letters of other words or phrases. It acts as an aide memoire for the words concerned, and in many cases forms the basis for a set of guidelines or instructions. For example, advertising copywriters are often taught that any ad they write should meet the AIDA requirements. These are as follows:

1. ATTRACT the reader’s ATTENTION

2. Arouse INTEREST

3. Create DEMAND for the product or service

4. Prompt the reader to ACTION

Acronyms aren’t the only example of a technology you could invent for your book. The truth is, ANY original idea can work as long as it is snappy, easy to remember, and preferably contains at least a granule of truth! One example is Declan Treacy, the writer and entrepreneur behind ‘Clear Your Desk Day’. Treacy’s Big Idea (in a nutshell) was to tell harassed executives they could handle incoming paperwork more efficiently by assessing each item as it came in and allocating it to one of four categories: act on, pass on, file or bin. From this simple concept he created a world-wide best-seller, an international business organization and a highly paid career lecturing on the subject of managing your paperwork.

Getting an Idea for your Book (3)

Or, if you want another example, take Stephen Covey. His book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People was based around a system for developing personal effectiveness through seven ‘habits’ or principles. Covey’s Seven Habits have been widely adopted by consultants and trainers, and were even incorporated by Microsoft into some of their software. Covey’s book has been translated into 32 different languages and has sold over 6 million copies to date. First published in 1989, it is still riding high in the best-seller lists today.

All very well, you may say, but I’m not an international business guru – maybe I don’t even want to become one. It doesn’t matter! Whatever area you plan to write about, create your own technology around it. Say you’re going to produce a book about bringing up teenagers (a subject I know nothing about, by the way). A few moments’ thought gave me the acronym RAILS, made up as follows:






An acronym can also help provide the title for your book. In the above example, one obvious possibility would be Keep Your Teenager on the RAILS. I must admit, I can easily imagine this climbing high in’s Top Sellers list! I don’t think I’ll be writing it myself, even so – but if any reader wants to pick up the idea and run with it, I’ll be happy to settle for 10 per cent of your royalties!

Finally, suppose you want to write fiction rather than non-fiction. The same principle applies – use your own experience as a starting point, and build on this using your imagination and research. For example: a friend of mine writes detective novels from a police perspective; I believe they’re called police procedurals by those in the know. He doesn’t have a police background himself and wrote his first novel entirely from his own imagination, aided by a little research from books. He particularly treasures one glowing review from a police magazine which congratulates him on the authenticity of his characters!

Of course, the real point is that people are the same the world over, whatever the occupation they happen to work in: some are conscientious, others slapdash; some are sociable, others solitary; some court trouble, others aim to avoid it. The same would doubtless be true in medieval times, the present day or the far future. All writers have to do is start from their own experience of the world and the people in it, and extend this.

So why do YOU want to write a book?

There are many reasons people want to write a book. What's YOURS? Vote from the options set out below...

What is your main reason for wanting to write a book?

See results

More great books on writing for sale from Amazon...

Please give feedback here!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Nick Daws profile imageAUTHOR

      Nick Daws 

      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      [in reply to WendyKrick] Thanks for your kind comments, Wendy. I really liked your TwittrStrm site!

    • Wendy L Henderson profile image

      Wendy Henderson 

      9 years ago from PA

      I really like the way to lay it out step by step for new writers. Very nice lens. 5 stars. Thanks for posting your lens on my Twttrstrom. I can see why this is your top ranking lens.


    • Nick Daws profile imageAUTHOR

      Nick Daws 

      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks, Sandy. Don't forget to check out my blog and forum!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I want to start writing a book, I believe I can provided I have some guidance.Thanks for sharing all the info you have so far.

    • Nick Daws profile imageAUTHOR

      Nick Daws 

      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      Many thanks for your kind comments, Bryan :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I have bought several of Nicks courses and have also had answers from directly via the mywriterscircle site. The courses are always clear and easy to understand even for someone like me. They also represent excellent value for money and the after sales service cannot be faulted for answering any quiries. I do not hesitate in recommending Nicks products. (No I am not in his employ or a relative, for you cynics out there.)


    • Nick Daws profile imageAUTHOR

      Nick Daws 

      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      Kara - I'm very sorry that due to a hectic schedule I can't offer a personal consultancy service. I strongly recommend joining my forum at and posting any queries you may have there. The forum has over 8000 members, and I'm sure you would get some useful feedback there. Hope that helps - Nick

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I am tryingto write a book. I would like advice on getting published. can you contact me?

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Fantastic information here. Thank you for sharing it--5 Stars. Please feel free to get the word out about it at our club:

      Sincerely: Gary Eby, author and therapist

    • TomAntion1 profile image


      10 years ago

      Hi! Great lens! Can't wait to see more...Please visit my lens about Famous Eulogies. Lots of great speeches from history! Thanks...Your friend, Tom**

    • profile image


      10 years ago


    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Good lens. Even if you don't want to write a book, many people reading this will want to write about something at some stage, so the tips are useful anyway.

      Internet Marketing

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Hi, you've done a great job here, valuable information! 5 stars for you! Visit my lens about Top 10 Vacation Spots.

    • Swiftwalker LM profile image

      Swiftwalker LM 

      10 years ago

      great lens i have always wanted to know how to write a book, i have lots of stories.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice lens. You've boiled down writing into some easy to understand bite sized chunks.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      excellent tips to get you started. True, one of the most difficult phase is choosing the subject on what to write. Your article clearly addresses this area.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)