Turn Your Journal Into A Book
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Turn Your Journal Into A Book

Share the wisdom and stories from your journal and inspire others with your book
4.0 (2 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
18 students enrolled
Created by Dale Darley
Last updated 5/2020
English [Auto]
Current price: $23.99 Original price: $34.99 Discount: 31% off
5 hours left at this price!
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This course includes
  • 6.5 hours on-demand video
  • 13 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • How to take their journals and turn them into books
  • How to discover the theme for the book
  • How to write and publish the book on Kindle Direct Publishing
  • Have journals that they can use to turn into books
  • Willingness to experiment with ideas

Share the wisdom of your journal in a book and inspire others

One of the biggest things journalers wonder about is if their journal has secret gold into that could be turned into a book to inspire others.

While you may not want anyone reading your journals, sharing your stories and wisdom in a book is quite a different matter.

You are already a writer. You are used to putting pen to paper. The time has come for you to share your wisdom and life experiences and make a difference to someone else's life.

Also, imagine the personal growth that you attain as you write your book and revisit your journals.

Now is the time to start a new chapter of your life as a published author.

In this course, we will be looking at your journals for the gold that could become a book. 

What we will cover:-

  • Finding the stories and themes for your book

  • Who your ideal reader is

  • Book outline

  • Chapter framework

  • Getting your book written

  • Book cover design

  • Self-publishing your book on Amazon

If you have ever wondered how to get started on becoming a published author and turning your journal into a non-fiction book, then this course is for you.

Remember, it’s not just about the book, it’s about the impact you can have with a book

And it's about the transformation that you will go through as you write your book. Because you will change. You will gain clarity.

Writing a book is not just about the book. It's one of the most powerful personal development experiences you will have.

What are you waiting for? Is this the year you are finally going to use your stories and life's experiences and get your book finished?

Yes? Great you are in the right place. Enrol now and let's get that book out of your head, planned and written.

Who this course is for:
  • Journalers. Writers. Bloggers. Aspiring Authors
  • Coaches. Consultants. Healers.
Course content
Expand all 61 lectures 06:32:27
+ Introduction and Welcome
1 lecture 02:20


I am sure you have lots of journals and I bet you are wondering what to do with them.

Journaling has saved my life on many occasions.

In January 2018 my spine fractured and I spent a year recovering I wrote in my journal and I wrote a book called Healing Osteoporosis Naturally.

On another occasion, I used my journal when I went on a massive self-love journey. I turned this in a journaling book.

Not matter what is in your journal let's turn them into a book, share our wisdom and inspire others

Preview 02:20
+ Getting prepared
3 lectures 08:20

Get prepared

  • Set aside time

  • Get your journals

  • Roll of brown paper and coloured pens

  • Or something like Trello and Mindmapping software (if you love tech)

  • KDP account (see later)

  • WORD or Google Docs - and knowing how they work

  • Printer

  • Accountability partner

  • Rewards and celebrations

  • What else

ACTION: Get yourself prepared and line up some rewards.

Preview 03:50

Get a journal for the journey

Get a brand new journal. Use it for planning and everything for the book adventure you are about to embark on.

ACTION: Grab your journals, read through and make some notes. Allow your ideas to come to you. No restrictions - just go with the flow. What are your best ideas?

Preview 02:15

Trello is a collaboration tool that organises your projects into boards.

At a glance, Trello tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process. It's like a white board, filled with lists of sticky notes, with each note as a task for you.

To learn more head to Trello and take the tour to see if it is for you.

It's easy to set up and use.

+ Ideas
6 lectures 48:41

Brainstorm ideas

This is great fun. This is a process where we are going to get the right book. You have already been through your journals. I love rolls of brown paper, pens and post-its.

I create a timeline of ideas. What's the first part and the next and the next?

This is just about getting stuff out of your head. Have fun. Remember to take time out to reflect.

ACTION: Brainstorm your ideas. What is it you want to create? What is the vision for the book? Who are you writing this book for?

Preview 08:13

Finding ideas

Think about these concepts. We want to find the right slice of life.

  • Core message

  • Identity

  • Theme

  • Every chapter ties into the theme

  • Needs to emotionally connect to your ideal reader

  • Want to inspire the reader

What kind of book are you writing and why? It's not all about adversity it could be a travel story. This needs to be something that is important for you.

ACTION: Let the ideas flow...

Journal to book ideas

Sometimes we find that while we are going through our journals for a book, another life-changing event happens. I made this video when the country I am living in moved in to phase one of the easing of lockdown.

At the start of lockdown, I started a new journal and I stopped editing a book that I was writing because I knew I would change. I knew that the old stories and the new ones would come together. I trusted that this was the right thing.

If you find yourself in a time of uncertainty write in your journal and carry on with the book process. It will all come together and make sense.

You know where I am if you have questions.

Journals in times of uncertainty

Book themes

When you reflect on what you have discovered you will start to see themes. What problem is your book solving? Perhaps you can find themes when you do some market research.

Some common themes are:

  • Love

  • Adversity

  • Escape

  • Fulfilment

  • Happiness

  • Gratitude

  • Grief

If you haven't got a theme this will help.

ACTION: Do the timeline exercise. This is a bit more structured and is designed to help you find more memories.



This is a very valuable step. You will find out what your readers are looking for and you will see gaps.

Amazon reader reviews are brilliant for this.

Think of the keywords your reader may use when searching for your subject.

ACTION: Do some research and find out what people are buying. We'll repeat this lecture later as a reminder.


Creating titles, subtitles and deciding what is it about

What is your book about? What are it's goals and what do you want your reader to do as a result of reading it?

What are your books goals:-

  • Build a brand

  • Inspire others

  • Launch a program or online course

  • Speaking

Do this first as this will help you to find the right title and subtitle.

A good title won't help you to sell your book, but it will give it a fighting chance. An obscure title will not help at all.

Buyers go through a process when they buy a book

  1. They are looking for something specific so they browse that category. They may have also asked for a recommendation which leads them to that category.

  2. They look at

    1. Titles and subtitles

    2. Cover

    3. The back blurb - the book's description

    4. They look inside at the chapter titles

    5. The author bio and may go off to research them more

    6. The price

You want to:-

  • Keep it simple

  • Grab attention

  • Encourage action

The title, including the subtitle, must give the reader some sort of idea of what the book is about.

My book Plan your non-fiction book in a weekend does just that, provides a planning framework which can be tackled in one or a series of weekends.

Book titles

  • Brainstorm your ideas

  • Start with long titles and then make them shorter and shorter

  • Narrow down your ideas

  • Think keywords and what someone might search for on Google or Amazon

  • What are the benefits or outcome?

  • Remember your ideal reader

  • What problems does your book solve?

  • Could there be a number of steps or laws?

  • Consider metaphors, alliterations, slang and popular phrases

  • Could you coin a new phrase?

  • Ask if someone asked me what the title of my book was, would I have to go into a lengthy explanation of what is is about, or does it make sense with the title and subtitle?

  • Don't overthink

  • Make it easy to say

  • Go back to your visualisation and imagine others talking about your book. How does it feel to have your title mentioned? What do you think the reaction of the others in the conversation might be?

  • Pick your favourites and test them

Most importantly have fun and let the title sit with you.

ACTION: Follow the steps, brainstorm titles, at this stage choose a working title. Later this lecture is repeated and you can cement your title then

Book titles
+ Your Personal Story
3 lectures 23:28

What is your story?

We've talked about themes and ideas.

In this lecture, I describe some of the books I have written and why. Think about your personal story journey. What happened at each of the stages of your journey?

ACTION: Write a short version of your story. You may or may not use it. Just get it out and reflect.

Preview 07:24

Telling the truth

When writing a book which covers your personal story, it is important to consider that telling the truth is a serious part of both the writing and the editing process.

  • How is telling the truth going to achieve anything?

  • Is this really the truth?

  • What if someone questions something and I get confused?

What kind of truth does your reader need to know?

The truth of our lives is known only to us – as our reality. Your life is not an open book. Generally, you and I will only share what we want others to know. But also we tend to bend the truth in our heads over time.

I believe that there are three kinds of truth, yours, theirs and the naked truth.

The question I often get asked is about telling the truth and staying on the right side of the law, retaining your sanity and abiding by your code of ethics.

ACTION: Read the attached document. I believe we need to write everything and then edit well

Telling the truth

Your story

It's time to look at your story in more depth. Go back and look at what you have discovered and using the story journey answer the questions.

You are looking at refining your research.

ACTION. Refine your story. Get closer to what it is you want to share

Discover your story
+ Ideal Reader And Their Journey
4 lectures 27:51

How do I pinpoint who my ONE reader is?

Think about how well you know the ideal reader for your book. People buy books because of some sort of outcome, solution or result that it gives them. In this topic, you explore what makes an ideal reader for you and how to find yours.

We will be covering: -

  • What does my ideal want to know?

  • What results do they get?

When you are writing you are writing for one person. Who is this person?

Ideal Reader

You now know who you are speaking to when you write your book. You know where they live, what they like to read, their hobbies and how their values map to yours


How well do you know the wants and needs of your ideal reader? When you write you are looking to connect to one reader. A single reader. Why?

✯Much easier to write because we are speaking to that person

✯It will make a better book, one which creates a connection

✯It is more likely to be read and enjoyed. If we write for one reader, he/she will (more likely) implement what we are teaching, will hear or enjoy what we have to say

✯When you adjust your voice for your reader, it becomes just as if you were talking face to face

✯When you understand their learning style, you can ensure that you write to engage them

✯It is more likely to sell. There is a place for a book as a personal journey for ourselves, but the reality is that most of us want our books to sell and to be read

Draw and mind map your ideal reader - grab some paper and scribble.

To help you get closer to who your ideal reader is, you can utilise market classifications tools, which help you to segment the market that your reader may sit in.


The objective of segmentation is to identify unique markets with similar attributes and then find segments that are profitable. Common market segment dimensions: -

  • Demographic – E.g. age, sex, income, education, the size of household, home ownership, etc.

  • Geographic – Where they are located, both physical and virtual

  • Behavioural needs, attitudes, and buying patterns – These affect the product and promotion variables

  • Behavioural – The processes your reader uses to select, buy, use, and dispose of your books. Or how they think, feel, reason, and choose between different books and authors

  • Psychological – Urgency of needs satisfaction. These affect the place and price variables

  • Psychological – This gives us insight into who is most likely motivated to buy. We are looking for psychological attitudes such as aspirations, interests, attitudes, opinions, lifestyle, etc.

These factors enable us to identify similar groups of people. E.g., businessmen and women aged 35 – 55. After which we will look at defining which groups of people to target. E.g. Female entrepreneurs 45+

Action: Create your ideal reader mindmap

Who is your ideal reader?

What questions does your book answer?

The questions that your book answers, or the problems that it solves, is the next piece of the jigsaw. Think outside of who you currently consider your ideal reader to be. Who asks you what questions? Who are they and what will they get from reading your book?

Problem and results

Look at what potential problems your readers may have and ask, what results do they get as a consequence of reading and using your content? List out all the problems and what you believe the benefits will be for your readers. For example, a book on nutrition and sleep.

Problem: My sleep is disturbed

Results: By understanding which foods help you to produce the right chemicals in your brain, you can change your diet and learn to sleep well

Look at each of the problems and ask yourself, if this were my problem: -

  • How do I feel?

  • Why do I feel this way?

  • What are the facts?

  • What do I know to be true?

  • What don’t I know?

  • What do I have?

  • What don’t I have?

  • What other forces are influencing this problem?

  • What if I could solve it?

  • How might I solve it?

Do this for as many problems you think your book will help your reader solve. Once you have worked out what each of the problems are, and how they will be resolved, you will be able to map them to chapters.

30 questions

Start by asking 30 questions. Write these on post it notes or index cards. Remember these are questions that your reader is asking not what you think they are asking. Hang around groups and forums and check out what is being asked.

When you have your 30 questions lay them out so that they make sense. Your reader asks this and then this and then this. Leave and reflect.

Ten questions - Chapter titles

Do you have ten key questions that could be chapter titles?

ACTION: Put your questions in order. Open up the chapter synopsis document and write in your chapter titles and questions for each chapter.

What questions is your ideal reader asking?

Market Research

Market research is invaluable. Go and find books in your genre and read the reviews. Look around forums and blogs. Search Google, try Ubersuggest and Buzzsumo.

What additional information does this give you?

Competitive Titles

While you are doing your market research, keep a track of your competitors books. List and summarise the major competitive titles and explain why yours is different from each.

For this exercise limit it to three books. Have fun.

The most important part is the comparison to yours and why yours is different. You want to show why there is a need for your book.

I would also look at their websites to get a feel for how they market themselves as well.

Also check that what you want to write about isn't freely available, either as an e-book or YouTube videos. While this shouldn't put you off as you will put your spin on it, it's a good idea to know what you are competing with.

There is the argument that you will write your book anyway as you have a whole roadmap of products based around your coaching, workshops and retreats which will add value with your book and later an online course.

The key is that you undertake competitor research to support your book.

Example: The Goddess Revolution Make Peace with Food, Love Your Body and Reclaim Your Life

Author: Mel Wells (http://www.thegreengoddesslife.com/)

Publisher: Hay House

Published: 7 Jun 2016

Price: paperback – £RRP not Amazon’s price

Number of pages: 288

Format: paperback and ebook

ISBN-13: 978-1781807125

Summary of who it’s for

This book is aimed at women in their 20’s and 30’s who resonate with Mel’s young, healthy vibe. These will be women who already have a poor relationship with food and want what the author has – boundless energy and that ‘happening’ life. The author is a part of a new generation of younger more spiritual and conscious women who are bringing a message of self-love.

What it covers

This book covers:-

  • The author’s journey

  • All about food and dieting

  • Changing your mindset

  • Getting in touch with you and your feelings

  • Learning self-love

What it does well

Laid out in sections that are easy to understand and consume, it takes the reader on a journey with their relationship for food and asks them to examine what they are really ‘hungry’ for. When they know what they hunger for they can begin to understand their relationship and feelings about food so that this opens the door to being able to change their mindset and begin to love themselves.

How my book is different

My book does not focus just on food, although changing how you eat with a focus on healing at the cell level is one of the parts. I do not prescribe a diet; I offer the reader the opportunity to find their natural ‘diet.' My book is for an older market and asks my readers to look back to understand what has caused the stress using writing as a communication tool. From there to find the right listening tools, ideas about how to de-stress the body with nutrition and other techniques and how to create a unique healing plan.

ACTION: Go deeper with your research

Market Research

Map the customer journey

Do a quick map of which content in which order. You have the questions, so start there. And perhaps it doesn’t matter. Just make sure that it makes sense in some way.

The journey takes your reader from not knowing to a good outcome. you could offer:-

  • 21 days to something

  • A process - coaching

  • Prompts around a theme

Map it out:

  • Roll of paper/A3

  • Coloured pens

  • Map it all out all

  • Play and have fun

  • Reflect

Action: Create a customer journey map based on your questions, if relevant. Otherwise, map the journey in a way that is right for this book. Write out a rough outline, with headings, subheadings and your questions. I've included a detailed outline - just use what works for you.

Note: Some people like to use post-it notes, paper and coloured pens, some like technology, so may use a mind-mapping tool, a WORD doc, a Trello board etc. You must use what works for you.

Mapping the reader journey
+ Outlining your book
8 lectures 50:09

Making outlining simple and stress-free

Outlining your book will give you a clear structure. A pathway from one chapter to the next helps you to connect each chapter to the overall theme and helps you to answer questions that your reader may have.

In this lecture, I will talk you through the overall process that I use, so that you are prepared. Have your reader profile and core message handy to ensure you stay focused.


  1. Visualisation

  2. Step it out

  3. Your book journey brainstorm

  4. Mindmapping

  5. Rough synopsis

  6. Questions, chapter titles, messages and call to actions

  7. Talk it out

Understand the process and decide when and how you will do this. The weekend is a perfect time to outline your book, as you can tackle each part of the process and do other 'weekendy' things in your reflection time. Keep an open mind and try all of the steps. They work and you will get closer and closer to the right outline.

You can also enlist the support of the family and friends. Imagine presenting your book idea and outline to them?

Preview 02:26

The outlining process

Amend this to suit you. Listen to the lecture and then blend it so that it becomes your process.

  1. Visualisation and journal

  2. Step it out and record it

  3. 30 questions and chapter titles

  4. Map out the customer journey (for clarity - like a plot line)

  5. Listen to the step it out and mind map what you hear and feel

  6. Keep reflecting - take time out - and keep scribbling

  7. Journal at the same time, record what comes up

  8. Perhaps talk it through with someone else

  9. Mind-mapping works for some people. I have iMindMap, but prefer doing it with paper and coloured pens.

  10. Take photos and keep this as a reminder - chapter map

  11. Open up WORD and use the outline document as a synopis

ACTION: Use several methods to get to the best outline possible

Outlining your book
Visualisation for your book outline
DEMO: Step it out
DEMO - Mindmapping

In this demo you can see a final book and what a finished outline looks like

DEMO - Book outline in WORD

In this demo, you will learn the basics of creating an outline in WORD

DEMO: Outline in WORD -subheadings

Making sense of your outline

You will get to a point when you have laid it all out and you are ready to make sense of it.

Take time out to reflect and then come back and create your rough synopsis.


  1. Open up the WORD document

  2. Start to pull each chapter together with what you have

Do as much as you can. When you have a synopsis written down you should have cleared your mind about the book and the process you are taking your reader through.

A synopsis is chapter title and this chapter is about.

You can come back and refine this for your book proposal at a later time.

Making sense of your outline
+ Chapter Frameworks
5 lectures 30:55

Chapter frameworks

How to give your chapter structure, so that becomes (almost) effortless to write and more relaxing for your reader to read

When you read other authors books, you may have noticed that they were writing to a framework?


  1. Watch the lecture and get a feel for which framework would suit your style of book and writing

  2. Go to your book shelf and look at some of the books that you have there. Can you 'see' the framework?

  3. Choose one and 'play' with it

Which did you like? You may not have decided you if you are taking a step-by-step approach, a list approach, interviews, Q&A’s, or sharing your life story. There are many excellent ways to present your content. You can use a single framework or in combination with another.

You already have a synopsis using the what, why, how and what if framework, does this work for you?

ACTION: Decide on a framework and test it.

Chapter frameworks

How to clarify each chapter

By now you have your book journey and outline which will have content ideas, chapter titles, questions, key messages, and call to actions. All of which will now be in your rough synopsis.

  1. Open up your rough synopsis, check through it, in conjunction with the photos that you took. Reflect and make sure it makes sense.

  2. Save this file as Synopsis and chapter headings.

  3. For two chapters only create the framework that you think will work for your book. You may not like any and want to make your own up. If that is the case then design it and try it out.

  4. Add in your subheadings

Add in sub headings for two chapters only, after you have chosen the framework that you will be using. Once you have done a test write, you can come back and complete this task for all chapters.

Chapter frameworks 2

How to clarify each chapter

By now you have your book journey and outline which will have content ideas, chapter titles, questions, key messages, and call to actions. All of which will now be in your rough synopsis.

  1. Open up your rough synopsis, check through it, in conjunction with the photos that you took. Reflect and make sure it makes sense.

  2. Save this file as Synopsis and chapter headings.

  3. For one or two chapters only create the framework that you think will work for your book. You may not like any and want to make your own up. If that is the case then design it and try it out.

  4. Add in your subheadings

ACTION: Add in subheadings for two chapters only, after you have chosen the framework that you will be using. Once you have done a test write, you can come back and complete this task for all chapters.

Subheadings in your synopsis

The knowledge audit

How to create content from what you have and what you know.

Knowing what we know can be a challenge. For your book, you may be thinking of leveraging existing articulated content, existing un-articulated content and formulating new content from your thinking and research. All of which needs documenting, mapping out and aligning to the relevant chapter(s).

To make sense of your knowledge you need to locate it and create a map of where it is, how to access it and where to use it.


  1. What do you have in your journals, blogs, articles, courses or whitepapers?

  2. What do you have and what can you repurpose?

  3. Use Rev.com if you have videos and get the transcripts

  4. What needs researching?

  5. What's on your hard drive?

Pull everything together and put it one place or put it in a spreadsheet saying what it is and where it is.

ACTION: Go through your outline and chapter framework and find what you have, repurposed and what needs to be created.

Assessing the gaps

Your first chapter - trial write

Before you panic and think that I want you to write the whole of any chapter, I do not. What I want is for you to take one of your chapters, which is well outlined, and write for one to two hours.


  • Open up your chapter which is outlined, and where you have a rough framework and write - just write

  • I like to use the synopsis and chapter headings document for the chapter I am about to write to gain clarity. Then you would write a bit under each of the subheadings for that chapter and it's in your head

  • If you have time or need to, do this for another chapter

In this way, you can get a sense of how your chapter layout will flow, whether your framework is suitable and where you need to make adjustments.

When you have written what you can, take 20 minutes off. Come back and refine the chapter layout, so that you end up with a writing template for the rest of your book. You are looking to create a formula, which will make it easy for you to write all of your chapters.

  • Is it clear and does your writing flow, in this pattern? If not re-jig it until it works for you

  • E.g. you might start with a story or a case study, then move into ‘what’ and ‘why’, followed by some exercises which illustrate your strategies, then conclude with another case study and some thinking points

  • You may start by painting a big picture, move into more detail and then back out to the big picture

  • You might start with something positive, use the middle to cover off difficult subjects and then move back to a positive position. Alternatively, start with the difficult piece and end on a positive piece (my preference)

  • Does your writing create bridges and links between theory, stories and exercises? Does it ask questions to get your reader thinking and exploring?

  • Let go of any attachment you have to what you have written; when you come back, you will be able to edit with clarity and focus

  • Don’t let grammar, spelling, or punctuation get in the way of your writing, just write. Remember the magic comes in the editing

  • Read your chapter out loud, as this will give you a feel for what you are trying to say. Better still, video yourself

  • Add, change or review chapter titles and subheadings as they come to you. These can be changed later. I often use my questions as subheadings

  • If you are unclear if your chapter style and layout works, ask someone. What I do for my clients is read through it considering learning styles, looking for flow, structure, story start and end, and making sure exercises work and whatever else might enhance the copy

  • When you are ready, do you need to tweak your storyboard? I have this in front of me as I write each chapter

Other points to consider

When you start to write each chapter, keep each chapter in a separate file (WORD or PAGES document); it is easier to work on smaller chunks of work.

Before you write you may want to look at some of the technical stuff, like style sheets first. I like to have my workspace in WORD sorted before I write.

Write your first and possibly second chapter and refine your framework. Add in subheadings for all chapters when you can. Put each chapter into a separate WORD file.

ACTION: Write one or two chapters and test your framework. Understand how you like to write and how you can make your writing flow.

First chapter trial write
+ Getting to first draft
7 lectures 56:52

Get yourself prepared in WORD before you start

  • Style sheets

  • Navigation pane

  • Book layout

You will need to learn how to use WORD. However, these will help you bring your book alive as you write

Get writing - before you start

Before you start writing become familiar with your word processing software's style sheets. Set it up and then it will be so much easier to format your book for printing later.

Also, turn on the navigation pane so that you can see your book coming alive.

The benefits of this are that you have full and easy control over how the book looks, you can navigate easily and you can autogenerate a table of contents.

Do not change your book size until you are ready to upload to Kindle Direct Publishing. Keep it A4 so that you can print and proofread.

DEMO: Formatting your WORD document before you start to write

Get writing and you plan

You have to make this work for you.

You will have gone through various stages of creating your book outline. What I do is to take a chapter at a time, do the synopsis for it and then write.

Make time. Put it in your diary. I like to write in the morning. When is a good time for you?

ACTION: Create a plan and a way of working for you.

Get writing

Getting to first draft

This is a great time to think about your time and resources. You have done a lot of hard work getting to this stage, now you have to apply yourself and write.

This is often easier said than done.

Have your chapter plan handy and complete each chapter synopsis before you write. This is not compulsory, but you will find it helpful.

Think about how you like to do things. Will you want to:-

  • Start at the beginning and write daily (ish) all the way through to first draft?

  • Write random chapters and then join it all together?

  • Start at the beginning, but pause often to reflect and relook at your outline?

No matter how you like to write (and do things) you need a deadline.

When I work with my clients we meet weekly and discuss each chapter. The client goes off to write and sends it back to me before our next meeting.

Before we meet I review to ensure that there is still flow and we are on track. If not we go back to the outline and synopsis and learn why its changed and do something about it.

What you may find is that you a) stick to your outline or b) as you write find other things come up or you want to delete things that no longer seem relevant. This is why it is important to spend time on the outline and chapter framework.

Be prepared. Reflect often and enjoy the process.

ACTION: Put time in your diary and write. Learn how to make this enjoyable for you. Get to the end of your first draft and celebrate. Leave it and then come back to edit.

Getting to first draft

Different ways to get to first draft

There are several different ways to get to first draft and the way or ways that you choose will depend on you and how you like to work, the outcome you want and your deadline.

You can:-

  • Write it yourself

  • Blog it

  • Transcription service (Rev.com)

  • Ghost Writer

  • Talk it with Dragon Naturally Speaking/ Otter.ai on your phone

ACTION: Explore each and find a way that works for you

Different ways to get to first draft

Sometimes what holds you back from writing is that this is not the right book. Or at least at this moment. Go back to your outline and consider what needs to happen to make this the right book.

Is this the right book?

It is important to make time to write. This module provides a methodology for you to try and some notices for your office or writing space door.

Other things to think about
+ Editing
9 lectures 01:06:20

What goes into an editing plan?

Woohoo the big write has been done and now you are ready to tackle your editing plan. What I hear you cry goes into an editing plan? Like all plans there are some things that will be personal to you and your book.


Editing is where the magic starts to happen in your book and this lecture is a quick introduction to editing.

You can set aside a weekend (or several) to edit, or you can get up an hour earlier every day to edit before you do anything else.

Here's what I do:-

  1. On a weekend - I print out the book and read - no edit

  2. Get my coloured pens out, read and edit (I have my editing plan in front of me)

  3. Over a period of 1-2 weeks edit each chapter on the computer

  4. Use tools like Grammarly and check with that

  5. Print again and read aloud - make changes

  6. Print proof book and edit

  7. Final checks

  8. Proof books for myself and beta readers

  9. Beta readers

  10. Edit

  11. Proof reader

  12. Print

How to tackle an editing plan

Q: How do you eat and elephant (if you were silly enough to try)?

A: One bite at a time

The same applies here. Do one thing at a time. I would do this per chapter. Can you imagine doing a spell and grammar check for 50,000 words? No nor me. I like chunks.

ACTION: Read through the editing plan and schedule time in your diary


What goes into an editing plan?

Woohoo the big write has been done and now you are ready to tackle your editing plan. What I hear you cry goes into an editing plan? Like all plans there are some things that will be personal to you and your book. The rest is a list somewhat like this.

Editing plan list

  • Spell and grammar check.

  • Full stops, commas.

  • Words – overused and more active.

  • Bullets and point numbering are consistent.

  • Spacing between paragraphs.

  • Check chapters start on the right hand side. - when you look at your document as a two page spread in WORD

  • Images are the right quality.

  • Images are of a consistent size.

  • Page numbering.

  • Headers and footers.

  • Check tables are formatted the right way.

  • Look for blank pages and delete.

  • Section breaks.

  • Widows and orphans.

  • Chapter titles.

  • Subheadings. (E.g. Headings 1-5)

  • First lines and introductions.

  • First paragraphs after headings.

  • Chapter templates are consistent.

  • Consistency.

  • General style.

  • Readability.

  • Facts.

  • Check that your exercises work.

  • Check research is cited.

  • Check the table of contents for accuracy.

  • Check index is fully populated and accurate.

  • At ‘final’ draft read, create a PDF and read on-screen, amend.

  • Create proof book on Kindle Direct Publishing

  • ( Kindle Direct Publishing) – use the reviewer, amend and re-upload as required.

  • When the proof book arrives, check, layout, titles, headings, spelling, grammar, flow, widows, orphans, in fact - all of your editing tasks.

  • Amend and resubmit, checking your document and the reviewer until you are happy.

  • Print copies for distribution.

How to tackle an editing plan

Q: How do you eat an elephant (if you were silly enough to try)?

A: One bite at a time

The same applies here. Do one thing at a time. I would do this per chapter. Can you imagine doing a spell and grammar check for 50,000 words? No nor me. I like chunks.

ACTION: Listen to the recording and implement the advice and tips.

The editing process

Editing making sense of your writing

How to make more sense of what you have written.

Now it's time to start sifting through your writing and starting to ensure that it flows. You will be looking at:-

  • Is it clear and does your writing flow?

  • Does your chapter framework work for you?

  • Does your writing create bridges and links between theory, stories and exercises?

  • Does it ask questions to get your reader thinking and exploring?

  • Have you included, key messages and call to actions?

ACTION: Check in with your outline (does it still work?) and each chapter to ensure that it all flows as you intended.

Editing - Making sense of your work

Creating rapport with your reader

Flexing your style so that you can communicate more effectively and engage with your reader

Rapport is the unconscious “connection” you establish with another person, which we also describe as being “on the same wavelength” We are all unique, and so are your readers. Some will like the big picture and some lots of detail. Some like to get a visual and other will want to get a feel for your work. Some want steps to follow; others want to try a what-if?

No matter how wonderful your insights and information are, if it is not written or presented in a way that engages your reader, what you are trying to say may be completely lost on them.

This guides you through some helpful communication pointers.

Creating rapport with your reader

Words, spelling and grammar

Making sure it's checked and proofed.

Next it's the nitty-gritty and checking for punctuation and grammar. It is very important that you do not skip this stage. Your proof-reader will do the final check, however, it is a great step in improving readability.

We often get word blindness as we write and edit, so it's important that you recognise this and get your book into the best shape that you can before handing it over to your proofreader.

Do one part of this at a time and check it off your editing plan.

I also use Grammarly which is an add in for WORD.

ACTION: Check manually and using your tools. If you are unsure ask.

Words, spelling and grammar


In this video, I share a brilliant WORD add-in called Grammarly. This tool helps you to not only focus your writing, but it tells you about poor grammar and offers suggestions about how to improve what you have written.

DEMO: Grammarly add-in

Reading aloud

When you read your book aloud you will hear the mistakes. This is a great way to edit your book.

DEMO: Read aloud

Check your formatting

An important part of the editing process is to make your that your book interior has been designed so that not only are you proud of it, but it looks great for the reader.

Editing - Check your formatting

Sometimes you just get into a horrible mess and you need to sort it out. This lecture will provide some help and give you ideas about how to sort your mess out.

Help I've got into a mess
+ Finishing Touches - Margins, page numbers and table of contents
5 lectures 23:33

Book page size and margins

The trim size of your book dictates approximately how many words fit on one page, so start by choosing a trim size. Some popular trim sizes for books are:

Fiction – 5″ × 8″ or 5.5″ × 8.5″

Nonfiction – 6″ × 9″

Look at KDP and they will tell you what sizes are available.


Choose mirror margins and apply this to the whole book.

Page margins: inside margins, top margin, outside margin, bottom margin. Generally, margins go from smallest to largest: inside margins, top margin, outside margin, bottom margin.

Gutter: This is the bit in the middle - the book crease.

Play with these and print out to test. The only true way is to print a proof book and see what it looks like. When you book comes back, where the outside margins are you need to be able to place your thumb there and when you open your book, you need to ensure that the words do not bleed into the centre. You do not want to break the spine when you read it.

The margins depend on the trim size and number of pages.

NB: I am unable to advise you what yours need to be. Please read the guidelines on KDP https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201857950

DEMO: Interior margins and book size

In this demo you can see how to put in page numbers

DEMO: Page numbers

In this demo you can see how to create a table of contents from your style sheets

DEMO: Table of contents

In this demo you will learn about final checks.

Check your document and save as a PDF. Check through the PDF to make sure nothing weird happened in the conversion. You need a PDF to upload to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing)

DEMO: Word - your final checks

Woo hoo you are ready to publish

Your manuscript is now ready. Next, you will be ready to get your first proof book. Go to the publishing section and set up your account on Kindle Direct Publishing.

For my first proof, I will often use the KDP cover designer just to get a book back and hold it in my hands.

While I am waiting I sort out beta readers, the proofreader and my cover.

When the book comes back I read and edit. Often I'll get another proof, this time with a professional cover and do my final checks before I hand it over to the last set of eyes - my proofreader.

Take your time to get your book completed so that you are proud of it.

Good luck

Woohoo you are ready to publish