On the Road to Your Finished Book

January 2014

Dear Friends and Fellow Writers,

Last month, I suggested that the best way to prepare for the future is to live fully in the present because, if you are always looking to the future, you will miss the important moments of your life. On the other hand, if you never look ahead, the future might unfold randomly with no input from you. So, which is it—live in the present or plan for the future? As I said in the December issue, living mindfully in the present and planning for the future are not mutually exclusive. We don’t have to choose between them; we can do both.Now that you know how to get from where you are (your current reality) to where you want to go (your vision), let’s focus on your destination. Where do you want to go? What is the signpost at the finish line on December 31, 2014? Does it say, You have arrived at your completed manuscript, or Do not pass go. Read your printer’s proof, or Take a break. Your book is for sale on Amazon?It has been a long trip down the road to that signpost, but you have arrived … or, at least, that is the vision. Now, the question is what will it take for you to actually get there? The answer depends on where you are right now.

Where Are You on the Road to Your Finished Book?

If you are just beginning the journey:

You have an idea. You think it’s great, and everyone on the planet will want to read about it. It is motivational, inspirational, educational, and universal in its appeal. You want to sit down and start writing right this minute. Don’t do it. Test your idea first. Answer some basic questions before you write a word. You may find out you have a winner, or sad to say, you may discover you don’t really have a book at all. Better to know now than after you have poured your heart and lots of money into it.

If you are deep in the throes of writing:

No one told you how much work this was going to be. Not only is it taking a lot of time, but sometimes, what you’ve written doesn’t make much sense; and you have to rewrite the last few pages. Writing is tough, but it’s the reason you are doing this. So, establish incremental deadlines, block out the time to write, and stick with it.

If your manuscript is complete:

You have written a whole book! This is a milestone well worth celebrating. Of course, there is a lot more to do before you hold a published book in your hands, but you have gotten past the biggest hurdle. Next on your list is to hire a professional copyeditor to find all the mistakes you missed (If it’s any consolation, all authors miss them)

If you are ready to publish:

Whew! You have made the copyeditor’s corrections. You have turned everything over to a graphic designer (who specializes in books), approved a cover, and reviewed the proofread galleys. One more step, and your book will be three-dimensional and solid. That step is to decide on the best way to publish. Yes, you have always dreamed of having a name like Simon & Schuster or Random House on your cover, but do you really know what that would take or if it is even possible? Do you think self-publishing is for losers? Think again, and do some research before you decide.

If you want to let the world know:

This is called promotion or marketing or shouting from the rooftops (in a very dignified manner, of course). The important thing about letting the world know you have a book is that you should have begun this process somewhere between steps 1 and 2. The minute your book begins to take shape in your mind, you must announce that it is coming. Develop a website; start blogging; write articles; connect on social media; create an author page on Amazon. If you wait until your book is published, you will have waited too long.

“Crystallize your goals. Make a plan for achieving them and set yourself a deadline. Then, with supreme confidence, determination, and disregard for obstacles … carry out your plan.”   Paul J. Meyer


Bobbi Linkemer is a book coach, ghostwriter, editor,and author of 18 books. She has been a professional writer for 45 years, a magazine editor, and a book-writing teacher. Visit WriteANonfictionBook.com and register now for How to Write, Publish, & Promote a Nonfiction Book, an online course for aspiring authors.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *