A Detailed Guide on the Different Steps to Writing a Book

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Since the industry is worth over £6 billion in the UK, you may feel that getting a book published shouldn’t be too difficult a process.

You couldn’t be more wrong! There are many steps to writing a book that must be completed before you can even think about publication.

It’s a long process, sure, but it’s well worth it. Here, we’re going to take an in-depth look into how to get a book on the press, so read on for more information!


This is a pretty short and straightforward step, and if you’re reading this article you can likely already check it off (congrats!)

Before you begin the book writing process, you’re going to need to have a good idea for a novel. A couple of compelling characters that you, personally, are attached to is a good start. The ability to give a brief plot summary is also a great place to begin.


The first part of the brainstorming process is to read and read a lot. Go to the bookstore or library and select books in the same genre as yours. Head home, brew a pot of tea, and start reading. Take special note of the things that authors do that you like and those that don’t work so well. This will give you a clear picture of what you should and shouldn’t be doing.

You’ll also want to jot down any and all ideas you have that relate to your book. Keeping a notebook handy for the moments when ideas pop into your head is a good idea.

It’s also crucial that you take a bit of time to sit down and create a web or brainstorming sheet uninterrupted. Set a timer for one hour and don’t stop jotting down notes in that timeframe.

You aren’t going to use everything you write down- some of the ideas won’t be as amazing as other ones. However, this piece of paper will become a gold mine later in which you can mine for good ideas, which you’re sure to have some of at this step in the process.


In the writing world, we often joke that there are two kinds of writers: plotters and pantsers. Plotters meticulously outline every step of the process via outlining, and pantsers fly by the seat of their pants while writing the rough draft.

The only way to figure out which of these writer types you are is to experiment with outlining. Create an outline for your work that details different plot points and the things that happen within each scene. Many authors find this to be a good guide when writing their novel so they don’t get off-track.

If you don’t like outlining or find that it doesn’t help you, you may be a pantser. This is perfectly okay- it just means that you’ll need to spend a bit more time on revision! Still, we seriously recommend that first-time authors make an attempt at outlining so they can make an informed judgment as to what they prefer.


Here’s where things really start to get exciting: it’s time to draft your novel (!!!)

The purpose of creating a rough draft isn’t to make it publishable- often, the book that finally lands in bookstores is a far cry from the first thing you write. However, every author needs to start somewhere, even those that you look up to and admire.

The reason that a rough draft is important is that you write a book. You get something on paper, which allows you to have something to revise and work with going forward.

You get a precise plot of your book and some much-needed direction. Plus, you get to really know your characters. This leads to stronger characterization in the final novel because you’re intimately familiar with their personalities!

Go and write your heart out! But keep in mind that you need to be in context with the total number of characters you are using just to be sure that you stick to your goals. With the help of a character counter online you can easily copy and paste the content from your draft and quickly identify the total number of characters that you have already written.


Once you have the rough draft of your novel all written out, it’s time to revise…

and revise…

and revise.

This means not only looking for grammar/spelling errors but to do the more important things like scanning for plot holes and character inconsistencies. These are all things that you’ll need to squash out in this step of writing.

Because revising is such a long and important step, we can’t possibly cover all the details here. Click here for some more specific strategies for revising your novel and making it the best it can be!


Now that your book is written and ready to be put into the world, you’ll need to decide on which publishing route you want to go down: traditional or self-publishing. Read on for a little bit of information on each of these processes so that you can decide which is best for you.

Traditional Publishing

There are a lot of steps to the traditional publishing process:

  • Writing a query that includes a summary of your novel as well as your qualifications/why you should be published (check online for specific specifications)
  • Finding a literary agent online that you think will be a good fit for your novel (social media is your friend, as is looking in the acknowledgments of books similar to your own and seeing what sorts of books various agents publish)
  • Submitting that query to said literary agents who can help get you a publishing deal
  • Discussing potential contracts with publishers that the agent finds (and signing one)
  • Going through the editing process with those hired by the publisher

Traditional publishing is generally the way to get hardback book printing for your novel and see it on the shelves of bookstores. Most of the authors you know and love likely went this route, at least eventually.


Another avenue that many people choose to take when publishing a book is to self-publish. This has become more popular lately, too, with the number of people choosing this route jumping up a full 40% in just one year!

When you self-publish a novel, it’s likely that the majority of your sales will be made as ebooks. You’ll also likely need to market your book by yourself, which can happen on various social media platforms. However, this is a surefire way to become published as a new author and get your story out there.

Self-publishing a book before trying to publish traditionally can help you, however, because you can write in queries that you’re already a professional.

Take the First Steps to Writing a Book

We aren’t going to lie to you: writing a book is a challenge. But it’s also incredibly rewarding once you’re holding something in your hands that came straight from your mind.

Now that you know the steps to writing a book, it’s time to get more detailed information on the process.

Check out the ‘books’ tab under our entertainment page to get more information on writing and reading amazing novels. Here, you’ll get some tips for working on the novel that you’ve always wanted to publish.

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Mary Ann Mahoney
Mary Ann Mahoney
4 years ago

As an editor, I can’t stress how important it is to get your book looked at by a professional, especially if you’re going down the self-publishing route. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and embarrassing yourself with a book full of typos and basic grammatical errors can cause irreversible damage to your reputation as a writer.

Writers can find out more about my proofreading and book editing services here: https://www.splitanatom.com…