Often the eagerness to start your book gets in the way of making sensible decisions about the most efficient way to get it written and published.
Just like driving your car to a new destination without programming the sat nav, or looking at the map first is fraught with difficulty and frustration, the same is true of writing your book
Big mistake number one
Not knowing who your audience is, what the gaps in their learning are, and what you should teach them.
As an expert in your field, you know a lot about your subject, all the subtleties, the scope of the hidden debts, the hidden dangers of your material.
When you’re writing a book for others, you have to consider what are the gaps in their knowledge and which of those gaps hold them back the most.
Your book mustn’t be an account of everything that you know, it has to be specifically tailored to those pain points or goals that your reader has.
It’s so easy to make ad hoc decisions about what you want to include that you can very easily stray off track and start teaching intermediate material to beginners or beginners material to advanced readers. Whatever happens, your average reader is going to be disappointed with what you’ve shared.
Big mistake number two
Not having a plan to structure your material around.
Just because you know the information very well in your head doesn’t mean you will necessarily explain it in the most efficient sequence. A plan helps you to make sure that your ideas are being shared in a clear, concise, complete and logical way.
Your plan is the equivalent of a recipe for a chef breaking everything down into small simple steps that can be completed one by one until the finished product is created.
Not having a plan risks, missing out important information or repeating yourself or going into too much depth. Your plan holds you accountable and is also your insurance policy to make sure that your book is relevant to your readership.
Big mistake number three
Not keeping track of what you’ve said already.
Whilst the plan will keep you on track and stop you repeating a large chunk of material. It won’t stop you from relying on crutch words or repeating your own pet topic that you’re very fond of. Many times when I’ve been editing people’s books, they have been repeating the same very important learning point several times rather than mentioning it at the most appropriate points in the book outline and referencing to it any other time that that point needs to be reinforced.
If you keep repeating the same key principles over and over again. It stops being reinforcement and it quickly becomes repetitive and frustrating for the reader.
Always keep in mind what do you have said and what you plan to say as you write to make sure that you don’t fall into this trap.