We often think of authoring a book as this completely overwhelming fairy tale idea that couldn’t possibly be done unless you’re some sort of writing genius. Fortunately, that is not true at all. If you’re a teacher, you already have years of content in your archives. That could be the start of, or even the entire bulk of, your very first book.
In a recent episode of The Anomalous Educator, I spoke with teacher, speaker and best-selling author Laura Peterson. Laura started out as a teacher, but her love of travel and exploration kept her searching for another path. “I just had this drive to be an entrepreneur, to start my own business. And to really truly be location independent,” she said.
Since Laura is a self-described “writing nerd,” after a while, she felt she had accumulated enough knowledge to translate into a helpful book. Incredibly, in just 30 days, she wrote, self-published, and hit the #1 spot in her category on Amazon with her very first book, Copywriting for Podcasters.
So how can you, as a teacher, tap into the success Laura was able to achieve?
You Don’t Have to be Shakespeare
Writing a book isn’t always about making money. It can expand your credibility in your niche, making you more of an “expert” in your field. It can also make you more sought after for speaking arrangements if that’s your goal, as well as open unexpected opportunities for your business.
“It doesn’t matter if you sell a lot of copies. There is a magic around being an author. Period. That will lead to more opportunities, and more money-making avenues beyond just the royalties,” Laura explains.
What is Your Goal for Your Book?
Before you begin the writing process, Laura insists on asking this question first. What is your goal for your book? Is it to get your story out there? Is it to build credibility for your brand? Or is it to supplement your income? Your answer will help you set the tone for your book.
Once you’ve determined the purpose of the book, it’s easier to start the planning process. And whether you’re naturally a planner or not, you must plan for your book. Otherwise, the notion of writing anything without a plan will most likely be too overwhelming to take on.
Use the PSD Method
When Laura helps others write their own best-selling books, she uses her own method. This allows just about anyone to break down the authoring process in a simple way that’s easy to implement into your existing routine. She calls this “The PSD Method.”
P is for Post-it Notes. Laura suggests writing everything out on post-it notes. Every idea, every lesson, every little tidbit you’d like to include in your book- write it down. Set aside an area on your wall or desk where you can stick these notes and keep adding as you go.
S is for spiderweb. Once you’ve written out your post-it notes, narrow down which areas you want to focus on. Which areas do you want more clients? Pick one or two topics and put them in the center. Branch out your other post-its, like a spiderweb, and add more ideas to expand on those topics.
T is for timeline. Once you have your spiderweb laid out, translate it onto paper. Write down all your topics and subtopics in the most logical order. Think about it from a reader’s perspective. What order would make the most sense in book form? This becomes the outline for your book.
Once you’ve completed this method, your book won’t feel so overwhelming. Now it’s about connecting the dots and following the roadmap you’ve created.
Set a Tight Deadline
Do you have to write your book in 30 days as Laura did? No. However, she does recommend sticking to a 4 week, 8 week, or 16-week goal.
“Make your goal reasonably short to motivate you, but not too short that it would overwhelm you completely,” she suggests.
Once you’ve set your deadline, stick to it. Even if it’s just in small chunks, dedicate time every weekday to write. Laura suggests making it the first thing you do every morning, instead of waiting until the end of the day. “If you don’t do it first thing, it’s easy to put it off,” she says.
Laura’s method is a surefire way to turn your teaching experience into a bestselling book in your niche. Make your outline, set aside the time, and write. I look forward to reading your bestselling book in the near future!