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This is the ninth part in a series. You can catch up by reading the other parts here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, and Part Eight.

The steps that I have gone through on how an idea becomes a book are the things that ideally happen before you start to write.

If they don’t happen before you start to write, you will be sorting them out while you write, which is to say you will be cramming two processes into one: the strategic thinking and the execution of the writing. …


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Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

This is the eighth part in a series. You can catch up by reading the other parts here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven.

Books are not written in a vacuum. If you are interested enough in a topic to want to write about it, chances are that you have read other books that explore the same idea — and those books have probably inspired you, taught you, angered you, helped you hone your thoughts — or all of the above. …


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Photo by Pedro Santos on Unsplash

This is the seventh part in a series. You can catch up by reading the other parts here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six.

Last week I said that this week I was going to write about what other writers are writing in your space and when might be a good time to explore that, but I was jumping the gun. Before we get to that, we need to spend more time on structure. Because once you have the basic shape your idea is going to take, you need to flesh it out. …


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This is the sixth part in a series. You can catch up by reading the other parts here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five.

One of the most common questions I get as a book coach is some form of this: “Is my idea any good?” Sometimes it is posed slightly differently — i.e. “Do you think this book has a chance of landing an agent?” “Can you tell me if this is worth pursuing?” “Do you think people will care?”

The best answer is a quote by Lemony Snicket, the protagonist of the children’s book…


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Photo by Joshua Chua on Unsplash

This is the fifth part in a series. You can catch up by reading the other parts here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four.

You’ve had a brilliant idea, you know why you care about it, and you know who else might care about it. The next step in turning that idea into a book is figuring out your point.

What are you trying to say?

Your answer connects back to your rage and ambition and to the reasons you care about this idea. It also connects to why you think other people might care about this idea…


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Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

This is the fourth part of a series. You can catch up by reading the other parts here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three.

Once you know why you care about an idea, it takes on a whole new kind of life. It’s no longer one of the millions of shapeless ideas pinging around your brain, but something that has weight. This elevates it so that you notice it more than the other ideas, consider it more, circle back to it more. It rises.

The next step in turning this idea into a book is to start thinking about who…


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I’ll return to Part 4 of my series — How an Idea Becomes a Book, Part 4: Who Else Might Care About Your Idea? — next week, but I wanted to share a personal update about my mom. What we’re doing at Author Accelerator is building a community of book coaches and that means sharing the ups and downs of starting and running book coaching businesses, as well as sharing the ups and downs of simply being alive. It’s kind of all the same thing to me.

A lot of you have heard me talk about my mom in recent…


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Photo by fotografierende on Unsplash

This is the third part of a series. You can catch up by reading the other parts here: Part One, Part Two.

Once you know that an idea matters to you — once you notice the pinging in your mind and you welcome the idea — the next part of the process of turning that idea into a book is to figure out why you care. If you never do this work — if you start writing without knowing why — you will write in circles. You will fall into frustration and doubt. You will come to believe that writing…


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Photo by Marcus Dall Col on Unsplash

I wrote about a progression of an idea last week that went like this:

  1. I had an idea, which came to me in the form of six words in a very specific order…
  2. and which stuck in my mind long enough to ping against a memory…
  3. which caused me to think about the connection between those two things (this new thought, this old memory)…
  4. which prompted me to land on the idea of a process
  5. which suggests some sort of order or structure or shape…
  6. which led me to believe I had something to say…
  7. which prompted me to put…


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Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

When I was in grade school, I remember we watched a movie — probably multiple times in multiple grades — called How a Bill Becomes a Law. It was a cartoon that maybe featured an animated piece of paper and followed its path through the levels of government. This memory popped into my mind recently because I have been thinking a lot about the process by which an idea becomes a book, and the sameness of that language — How an Idea Becomes a [Insert short, punchy word that points to a large concept] — summoned the memory.

This kind…

Jennie Nash

Founder of AuthorAccelerator, a book coaching company that gives serious writers the ongoing support they need to write their best books.

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