Hello singers…Many of my fans only know me as a vocal coach and author of Raise Your Voice, a singer, and an occasional glass breaker, ha-ha, but there is so much more to than meets the eyes. I’m a jack of many trades, but If I am being honest, my favorite trade is writing. I’ve had the writing bug since I was a child, and after spending years writing non-fiction books like Raise Your Voice and Unleash Your Creative Mindset, I eventually allowed my love to pour over into the fiction book realm. You see, having written countless on-fiction books, even tons of lyrics for songs, I thought to myself, “I’m basically writing stories in my non-fiction books and my songs, so how hard to could it be to write a fiction book?”
Let me tell you, it was hard! Luckily, I had a great mentor, Daniel Middleton from Scribe Freelance. Daniel handles all the interior book design for Vendera Publishing books. With our mutual love of fiction, we decided to come together to brainstorm fiction books that could be read in the same times it takes to watch a movie or a season of a television show. Thus, 711Press: Movies&Television in Book Form became our mutual publishing company.
Let me back track…Daniel and I are so swamped with our regular jobs that we don’t actually write the complete books, we’re more the producers of all these amazing stories at 711 Press. We brainstorm with our team to create amazing plots that cover multiple genres, my favorite genre being the sci-fi fantasy realm. 711 Press books like Age of the Sigil, The Crisis Artifact, and Feral are among my favorite 711 Press titles.
When I work with one of our authors, even my non-fiction authors over at Vendera Publishing, I share with them my formula for writing complete books lightning fast and it is the perfect formula for any author to use to finish that book they’ve put away for months. I actually have a way to write over 2000 words per hour, but we;ll cover that in another blog…For now, just know that I actually released this formula we’re covering today in a book I wrote for 711 Press, called 11 Simple Steps, which outlines a simple program for releasing your book from start to finish. I decided the nice thing to do would be to share a piece of this formula with you because I personally know how hard it is to finish that book. After working on over 40 books myself, as author, co-author, producer, I think I’ve streamlined it to make it easy. Before I share with you my formula, you should know that regardless of whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, it does involve lots of research involving your subject. Even with writing fiction, especially fiction based in modern or historical times, it is smart to research landmarks, etc. to stay accurate as you write. Research is also covered in my book before the 7 day formula. Speaking of the 7-day formula, here is the excerpt from my book to help you become the author you’ve always dreamed of:
Once you’ve completed your research, you CAN write a book in seven days. I wrote my book, Unleash Your Creative Mindset in three days. I’m giving you an extra four days to take the pressure off. How do you write a book in seven days? Let me start by telling you how “not” to write a book in seven days. I wrote Raise Your Voice by pen in a notebook. What a big mistake. It’s a waste of time transcribing handwritten notes to a word processor! If you don’t have a word processor, you need to get one. There are a variety of word processing programs. I use Microsoft Word. If you’ve handwritten your book, you can refer to the transcriber services list to find people who will transcribe your handwritten notebooks and audio recordings for less than you’d think. I once had ten hours of audio notes transcribed. Doing it myself would have taken a week! That’s time better spent writing. If you don’t mind wasting time transcribing yourself, have at it. Otherwise, hire a transcriber. Another option is using transcription software for your computer or phone, which transcribes as you speak. I’ve used an iPhone transcription app for small amounts of notes and it worked fine, though editing was required to correct the many typos. Still, it was quicker than transcription by hand. Now that you have your initial notes on your computer, it’s time for Day One:
DAY ONE: CHAPTER TITLES & RESEARCH NOTES
The most efficient way to organize your book is to think of it as a step-by-step instruction booklet. When you buy a piece of DIY furniture, such as a hutch for your entertainment system, you must follow the instructions in the exact order to build it. If you skip a step, something won’t fit. How-to books are step-by-step instructions, written in exact order, to help the reader produce a finished product. Even fiction books have a beginning, which sets up the story; a middle, to introduce conflict; and an ending, for resolution. Create a folder on your computer named after your book topic, such as “fishing book.” Reread your research notes from Step One and use those notes to create a list of ten bullet points, minimum, by asking yourself, “What are the main points, based on my research, that I should cover in my book?” Write down the bullet points in your chapter headings list. Reorganize your bullet points in precise order from the most basic concept to the most advanced. I’m sure you’ve guessed that these bullet points will become chapter titles. For Raise Your Voice, I had bullet points such as “breathing,” “water,” “health,” “vocal exercises,” and “recording,” which I arranged in a step-by-step order to teach someone to sing from the ground up. I then reworded the bullet points into catchy chapter titles. For example, I came up with the title “Learning to Breathe Again” for my “breathing” bullet point. Now it’s time to turn your bullet points into chapter titles. Have fun with this assignment. Play with words. When you’re finished, review each title. Does each one make sense and lead to the next chapter, or do you need to reorganize your list to build from basic concepts to advanced ones? Once you’re satisfied with the names and the order of your basic chapter titles, it’s time to transfer your research notes to the appropriate chapter. For instance, I added my breathing research notes to my “Learning to Breathe Again” chapter. Writing is a continual process, so you’ll continue adding notes as you build your book. You might also think of new chapters to include, some that need to be removed, or even two chapters that should be combined into one. It’s your book, so add or remove as many chapters as needed. Congrats, you’ve finished Day One. Get some sleep, tomorrow will be a doozie.
Note: Although 11 Simple Steps is geared towards non-fiction, this can ALSO be applied to fiction! For Day One, building chapters can simply be the roadsigns from the beginning of the book until the end. In Age of the Sigil, which is one of our TV books, each chapters title referred to a specific city in which our four magical teens had to travels to gain insight into their powers. So, a fiction book can also be thought carefully through before you start the process. Chapter titles can be reminders of what each chapter mist involve to lead the story from beginning to end.
DAY TWO: ORGANIZING EACH CHAPTER
Now that the chapters and notes are organized, start at Chapter One and begin organizing your notes into a working order. Remember, each chapter is a step to complete a project. Your goal is to help your reader complete each step with ease, which means making each step flow. Most likely your notes will not be in a flowing order. You must rewrite and reorganize for continuity. It’s fairly easy to move your notes around by using the cut/paste commands in a word processor. Typically, you first highlight a block of text by holding the left click on the mouse and dragging to the end of the block. To cut the block, press control X. Place your cursor where you want the text to appear and press control V to paste it in place. Once the notes seem to flow, it’s time for rewrites. Remember, most of your notes were copied from other sources. If you do not rewrite in your own words, you’re plagiarizing. This is illegal. Read through a section, absorb it, and then rewrite a section in a separate document. These are short, sweet writing bursts to make sure you have the heart of each section. When you’re satisfied, delete the notes and replace with your own wording. You’re not worried about writing a masterpiece at the moment, so write quick, simple lines in the same wording you’d use to explain it to a friend. Keep it simple and we’ll add as we move along. Once you’ve finished the rewrites, grab dinner and go to bed.
Note: Again, with fiction, you can write chunks of your story within each chapter to make sure the pieces of the story that you envision in your mind are correctly placed within the overall concept of the story. For plot building, I highly suggest The 7 Points of Write by Daniel Middleton, available through 711 Press.
DAY THREE: BUILDING BRIDGES
Now it’s time to expand on your rewrites. When I was writing Raise Your Voice, I had several notes organized in my “Learning to Breathe Again” chapter. A few of these notes were:
1. Need to breathe correctly using the correct muscles.
2. Breath control leads to voice control.
3. Air is a singer’s fuel.
4. Three different types of breathing.
It was the same when I produced the TV Book series, Age of the Sigil for 711 Press. I knew:
1. There were four teenagers.
2. Each had tattoos that turned into magical weapons.
3. They had to fight an evil wizard to save their continent.
4. They had to travel the lands to unlock their powers in order to win the battle.
Your initial notes won’t fill up a chapter, let alone a book. To beef up your book, you’ll build bridges between your notes by writing sentences between each note section to tie them together. Here’s what I came up with for Raise Your Voice:
You must learn to b breathe correctly, in order to gain maximum breath control. M Maximum breath control leads to maximum voice control. Don’t freak out and think that you must control your voice; this isn’t the case. Singing should be a natural and relaxed act. What this basically means is that the way you breathe affects your singing voice. A Air is your fuel—your source of energy. Air feeds the voice and provides the energy needed to sustain the song within you, but you must learn how to control the amount of fuel you use to feed your voice, because most singers are using much more fuel than is necessary. If you do not breathe properly, your vocal cords will not vibrate properly. I cannot put it any simpler. There are t three types of breathing that I am going to explain. They are chest breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, and what I like to call your “maximum breath potential.”
You’ll find that building bridges helps to get the creative juices flowing. If you still lack information, read more books and reviews. If you feel your writing is weak, there are tons of writing guides such as my favorite again is, The 7 Points of Write by Daniel Middleton. Don’t let your writing skills slow you down. Keep writing as you study. You never want to lose an idea, no matter how sloppy it may look as you’re writing it. You will edit and refine your work at the end. If writing still eludes you, you can hire a ghostwriter from our ghostwriter services list. A ghostwriter is someone who writes the book for you, based on information you provide. Make sure to get a written contract that states that YOU are the owner and, for all intents and purposes, the “author” of the book. They write it, you pay them, the job is done.
Before ending this section, I want to point out that a book is finished once you’ve summed up the purpose of the book. In other words, don’t obsess over page count. I’ve written books with 20, 80, and 400 pages, all equally informative. Don’t expand a book just because you feel you need to beef up the number of pages. I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t elaborate, but only expand if necessary. Before moving on, have you backed up your document? You’d better! Once, after an eight-hour day of writing Raise Your Voice, my computer crashed and I lost the entire day’s work because I didn’t back up my document. I now make it a habit to keep a flash drive on hand so that I have two copies of my work.
The All-Important Title Now that you’re deep into Day Three, it’s time to solidify your book title. I didn’t do this on Day One because you needed time to organize your notes and allow the title to gel. Maybe you’ve already thought of a title. I hope it’s an eye-catcher, because it needs to stand out among other books. Since my first book’s topic was to extend the vocal range, I dreamed up the title “Raise Your Voice” which is a play on words based on singing and vocal range. Your title can also have a subtitle, as this book does—11 Simple Steps (main title) to Writing, Designing, Self-Publishing & Marketing Your Very First Book (subtitle). The subtitle lets readers know more about the book topic. I’ve discovered that numbers catch people’s attention, which is why 11 Simple Steps and The 7 Points of Write contain numbers. Now it’s time for you to think up your book title. Don’t worry if that eye-catching title still eludes you. Over the course of writing your book, you can play around with words until you find that eye-catcher. That wraps up my three-day secret to book writing. All you need to write your book at warp speed is:
1. Add chapter titles.
2. Add research notes.
3. Build bridges.
I promised four more days, so get some shuteye and I’ll see you tomorrow.
DAYS FOUR–SEVEN: REFINING YOUR BOOK
Once you’ve finished Days One, Two, and Three, the initial “write-through” is finished, but you still have a lot of work to do. The front of your book must have a copyright page and credits page for listing contributing authors, illustrators, etc., and a table of contents. You may wish to add a dedication page, foreword, and introduction. It’s nice to add extras at the end of a book such as a glossary for definitions of book terms, appendices for listing suggested reading or products mentioned in the book, final notes, or a recap of the book. An index that lists major terms and where to find them in the book is a nice touch. However, it can be a hassle because it can be thrown out of whack every time you update your book, which may be frequently considering the ease of updating digital content on sites such as Amazon KDP. An acknowledgements section at the very end of the book is always a nice touch. Thank all your friends, family, and team members who helped you along the way. In lieu of explaining these book extras in detail, your next assignment before moving on is to browse through your ten research books to reference the beginning pages and ending pages of each book (known in publishing as “front matter” and “back matter”). Use them as references for adding your copyright and credits pages, table of contents, etc., and decide what else would benefit your book. You have four days to accomplish this. I suggest you also use that time to read and reread your book, adding to your writing as you go. By the end of Day Seven, your book may have doubled or tripled in size simply because fresh thoughts surfaced as you read your own book. Before ending Step Two, I want to suggest a way to boost your book-selling power—professional contributors. Once you’ve finished the seven-day draft, reach out to someone in your field and ask if they’d be willing to contribute an article to your book or write the foreword. I asked singer Sahaj Ticotin from the band RA if I could use the song SKY in Raise Your Voice. I handed him a printed version of my book before it was released, along with my contact info, and asked him to read it before deciding. We’ve since developed a strong relationship. He has even contributed articles to the second edition of my book and sent professional singers to me for voice lessons. You might be asking, How am I going to get an authority to endorse my book? It’s easier than you think. The best way to get a celebrity or authority involved in your book project is to write them a sincere email. A person won’t endorse a book without knowing who you are and knowing your work. When contacting an authority, tell them why you respect their work, and ask them if they’d be interested in reviewing and contributing to your book. End the email with all of your contact information. Add an innovative subject header, or your email may end up in their junk folder. My subject header is, “Glass-shattering vocal coach seeks endorsement for revolutionary new book on voice training.” Yes, that’s a little crazy and maybe a little cocky, but that phrase has actually worked. Send your letter to as many contacts as you can find for the person, including personal email accounts; Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn accounts; and the email accounts of their webmaster, manager, agent, etc. If it isn’t directly to the celebrity or authority, address the email to the contact, asking to please forward your “introduction” email. I have landed dozens of endorsements and contributor articles. You can do it, too! Now, it’s time for some book editing.
…and the book editing is covered in 11 Simple Steps. If you’d like to check out our “how to write” books, print versions are available at these links through 711 Press and the ebooks are available through Vendera Publishing.
Before ending, I want to say that I am EXTREMELY proud of all the fiction work that I am involved in producing. As well, Daniel and I have decided to give away the very first eBook we ever produced. Get the Crisis Artifact for free HERE. Please download it and know that we used this same exact formula for this free eBook as we do every fiction AND non-fcicion book we release. Hope this helps:)
See ya next blog!