The 8 Step Guide to Writing Your Book

Writing a book isn't as simple as putting together a bunch of content and calling it a day. An effective, targeted, memorable, world-changing book needs a bit more nurturing than that. 

When you write a book, you aren't writing for yourself. You're writing for your readers—your audience, who in some cases may also be your ideal clients. You need to consider not only what you know, or what you want to share, but what THEY need to know in order to create the results you're promising in your book. 

That's why great books merit a great book creation strategy. 

Here are the 8 Steps to Writing Your Book that I teach my clients and course students every day. 

  1. Know what, why, when, how, and for whom you're writing. In other words, PLAN! Know what you're writing about (aka, your topic) down to the letter, and why you're the perfect person to write about it. Know when and how you plan to write your book, so you can create a steady writing practice and not burn yourself out after two weeks. And finally, know who your ideal readers are, and what tones, styles, stories, and information they respond to. Then, craft a writing plan that prioritizes all of this information, and keeps you laser-focused on the purpose and mission of your book.

  2. Create a kick-ass outline that flows with you and keeps your writing targeted. Many writers hate outlining, but if you're writing a book that's intended to teach, inspire, or create real change for readers, you need the structure an outline can give you. Whether you use bullet points, a vision board, Post-Its, mind maps, or some other method, you must organize your information and create a flow for your book before you start writing. This will not only allow you to serve your topic and your readers in the best possible way, it will also make your writing process a lot easier.

  3. Write your first draft, filling in each piece of your outline one at a time. When you have a great outline and a solid plan for writing, you will never be stuck for what to write! Your first draft is simply a systematic process of filling in each section of your outline. Easy-peasy!

  4. Hone your stories so that they create maximum emotional impact. Story is the best teaching tool we have as writers. When you pay special attention to your stories, "show" your stories in an impactful way, and focus on the journey instead of just the destination, your readers will connect more deeply to your message and be able to see themselves achieving the outcome or results you're promising.

  5. Refine your whole draft at least once, patching potholes and targeting your discussion. This is the crucial stage most writers skip, and their books suffer as a result. No one—and I mean NO ONE—is capable of writing a perfect first draft. Be willing to ask the hard questions, look at your book objectively, and engage with your material again and again until it does its job for your readers.

  6. Ask for feedback from people you trust, and incorporate it into your draft. Your beta readers, or feedback partners, should be similar to your ideal readers. If you ask them powerful questions (and are open to hearing the answers) you will learn a lot about how your book might impact, influence, and connect with your readers once it's released.

  7. Complete the missing pieces of your book, like your introduction and author bio. I always wait until the last minute to write these pieces. That way, they're totally aligned with the energy and shape of the book in its almost-final form. The introduction, in particular, is usually the first thing potential readers flip to when they open your book, so it's important to be sure that it captures the intention, flow, and energy of your book to a tee.

  8. Self-edit the entire manuscript in a systematic way designed to eliminate errors. This can be tricky, especially if you're not a grammophile, but thankfully there are plenty of resources out there (including my free e-book, The 5 Secrets of Powerful Writing) which have great tips and tricks for refining your prose and eliminating errors in your work. A manuscript that's full of errors can really damage your credibility and distract readers from your otherwise amazing content, but the solution is easy: when in doubt, consult an editor!


Notice that actually writing your first draft is only ONE STEP of the book creation process! Writing a book is so much more than simply compiling content and slapping it into chapters. It's about shaping the raw clay of your vision into something that readers can connect with, use, and grow from. 

These 8 processes take the raw materials of your big idea and first draft and shape it into a book that shines. After all, if you're going to put all that effort into writing a book, you want to make sure it emerges into the world as its best possible self!  

Although this 8-step method may look daunting at first glance, it's really not. Each step is simple and self-contained. You don't have to think about the whole picture of your book at once. You simply have to focus on the step you're on right now. 

I know there are book coaches out there who advocate a "write your book in a weekend" strategy—and I'm sure there are authors out there for whom that actually works. (I've never actually met one, but hey, this is an infinite universe, and everyone has their own genius.) However, in my experience, trying to rush through the book creation process almost always results in scattered content, major errors, and a book that doesn't do its job for your brand, your expert status, or your readers. 

I'm passionate about helping authors create books that work magic in the world. This 8-step method is the framework that I know can create, contain, and channel that magic, every time. I know it works. 

Happy writing, everyone! Thanks for reading!

Bryna René Haynes is the founder and President of The Heart of Writing, the chief editor for Inspired Living Publishing, and the best-selling author of the multiple-award-winning The Art of Inspiration: An Editor's Guide to Writing Powerful, Effective Inspirational and Personal Development Books. In over a decade as a writer, editor, ghostwriter, designer, and publishing consultant, she has helped hundreds of authors find their authentic voices and create powerful, memorable, successful works. She lives outside of Providence, RI, with her husband, Matthew, their little Moonbeam, Áine, and their Little Star, Aelyn.