Quite frankly, writing a book is just not enough: you need to write a book that will be published. This can be online as a Kindle or an iBook, or by following the more traditional route and finding a publisher who will edit, get actual volumes printed and just about do everything for you.

How To Write A Book With Ideas

“Proper” authors tend to look down on their colleagues who publish their own books on Amazon. Sometimes this is sheer snobbishness, but quite often it is because most ebooks are shoddily written, hardly edited at all and full of mistakes. Even so, this includes some of the bestselling Kindle authors out there. If you go down the ebook route, I think it’s important that you make sure your novel is properly edited and formatted.

Many people in the world are capable of stringing words together to make sentences and building up sentences into paragraphs and chapters, but writing a book and getting it published is a whole different ball game. I did think about calling this How Not To Write A Novel (Or Any Other Creative Work), but I decided that there’s enough negativity out there.

The Number One Reason Most People Will Never Get A Book Published

…has nothing to do with writers’ block. Every writer has at one point or another, sat staring at an empty page or screen, trying to figure out where to start. If there are doubts in your mind as to your abilities as a writer, get rid of them immediately. I always keep a copy of Dan Brown’s epic bestseller The Da Vinci Code by my writing desk, with certain sections marked in vivid green highlighter. Just to show me that a writer who writes lines as bad as this can still sell millions of copies. Dan might have come top of the class in his fiction writing course and may well be an expert in How To Write A Novel Synopsis, but his prose style is pretty creaky. Here is a favourite example of mine:

He could taste the familiar tang of museum air – an arid, deionized essence that carried a faint hint of carbon – the product of industrial, coal-filter dehumidifiers that ran around the clock to counteract the corrosive carbon dioxide exhaled by visitors.

For many more in a similar vein, check out this article on the Daily Telegraph website. When you come to write your own novel, please do not follow Dan Brown’s model. Adjectives can be your best friend, but not used in the way they are in the Da Vinci Code and other works by the “grate” man (well, he grates on me!).

How To Write A Book You Can Be Proud Of

Whether you need to know how to write a romance novel, how to write a fantasy novel or just how to write a good novel, the “secrets” (if that’s what they are), are exactly the same. The same goes for works of non-fiction and books in any genre.

The first big truth you must know is that the publishing business is just that: a business. Books are published in the hope that they will make more money than they cost to produce. It doesn’t matter if your book is fiction or non-fiction, it works in exactly the same way. You have to write a book that has the option of making money for the publisher. And make sure you tell them about it. Nothing has more power to lift a book out of the slush pile than a brief covering letter that says what they need to hear. Keep your letter brief and to the point but start by saying that you are aware of the commercial implications of publishing. You then have to explain exactly why you think the book you have written will make them money. Provided someone reads it and provided what you say is true, you’re more than halfway to getting published.

Some writers are under the illusion that only fiction aimed at the best-seller lists makes money for the publishers. Wrong. Academic text-books are among the biggest money-spinners in the publishing world. Part of getting a book published is knowing your market. Do web searches, look on Amazon and other book sites, see what people are buying. A big part of knowing how to start writing a novel or any creative work, is making sure you research your market before you start. This is a whole list of what people evidently do not want, but that’s taking us back to How Not To Write A Novel territory.

Avoid saturated markets but, at the same time, try not to be too much of a pioneer. There might be a reason why there are no books available on building models out of pasta. They do exist, but usually an “untapped market” turns out to be because there’s on market at all. Remember, it’s not just enough to know how to write a book, you have to be writing the right book.

“How to write a book” is one of the most searched for phrases on the internet. This isn’t surprising because just about everyone I meet is either a published author or else is just about to start on their first book. Someone (probably a vanity publisher) once said, “there’s a novel inside every one of us” – but is it true?

The answer is “maybe”. Provided we can spell reasonably and put a sentence together that people can understand, we can probably get it together to write a book. But that’s only a small part of the process of writing for others to read. Writing a book involves an awful lot more than just putting 100,000 or so words in some kind of order and sending them to a publisher. The question should really be “Can anyone write a book that is able to be published” and the answer to that is: without the right help “no”, but with expert guidance and being told what to do, then it’s a very definite “yes”.

Is knowledge of writing enough?

Writing a book requires a little more than theory to turn someone into an author. For example, I know what the principles of bricklaying are. It’s quite simple really: you just put layers of bricks on top of one another, and stick them together with cement to make walls. Yes, I know the theory but I wouldn’t be competent enough at it to build a house or even a dog kennel. If someone (preferably a professional bricklayer) taught me every aspect of building a house with bricks, step by step, throwing in a few “tricks of the trade”, then I’d feel confident enough to do it.

How To Write A Book

In the same way, if someone asked me how to write a book, I could tell them: if you’re writing a novel, you need to have a few characters and a story and you just put words together to make sentences; sentences together to make paragraphs and chapters; and those chapters make a book. That’s it. How to write a book explained in one easy sentence. But is it? Sadly no: there’s more to writing a novel or any kind of book than just stringing lots of sentences together.

Can anyone be taught to write?

The only person who can teach you how to write a book is someone who knows how to do it themselves. Someone who has done it dozens of times, over and over. Someone who has made all the mistakes themselves, so we don’t have to. Ideally someone like author Mark Timlin, who has had every book he has ever written published. There are now over 30 of them out there.

What makes mark especially qualified to teach it is because he was an outsider. No one taught him how to write a book, he just read a few, asked a few questions and got lucky first  time. Of course we could all try that approach ourselves, but somehow I think it’s better to take the easier route. After all, as he says now: “If there had been a book available, written by someone like me telling someone like me how to write a novel, I’d have snapped it up. It would have saved me a lot of wasted effort, sweat, and all-night writing sessions that ended up with pages that were eventually thrown away.”