Writing Done Right
My Writing Process
Summary: This article discusses my personal flow and methodology in writing non-fiction.

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Today I wanted to talk about my personal flow and methodology in writing non-fiction. As with any tips, these are my strategies and are neither right nor wrong for anyone else! I just wanted to present my ideas in an effort to help you in your writing process.

The First Step

Every journey begins with a single step, and every book starts with a good idea. When I am ready to write another book, I like to get a general concept down and create a rough outline. I do find that this outline barely resembles the final draft of the book outline, and usually, I have some misconceptions with my idea that are cleared up in the next step.

Researching Views

After I have my idea, I then check into what people have thought about the subject over the years. This is the step I am asking questions and collecting references, and clarifying my position on the subject. I should be able to find several good references to support my argument, and some references that support an opposing view. I can then look everything over and figure out where the discrepancy lay and how to argue the point more effectively.

Putting it on Paper

When it comes time to put the initial thoughts on paper, I should have a better outline of what my project entails. I have an entire article on this process, so I will just outline my ideas, you can read more details here. In short, I like to do my original outlines on paper instead of computer because I find that generates more connections in my mind. I will start with a large essay to summarize the book and then extra an outline from that. Each element of the outline is then turned into another essay that becomes the chapter outline. Now I am ready to actually start the process of writing.

Write the First Draft

Now that I am armed with a notebook of references and essays, it is time to start writing. Since I have an essay on each chapter, I will start by reading that and maybe creating an outline of major ideas on the computer using LibreOffice. Then I move as quickly through the process as is possible to be sure the draft flows nicely. Once the full draft is completed, I can do some edits and pass it off for beta readers. I have an article about how I finish my drafts you can read for more details.

Once the draft is completed, I will pass it out to beta readers who will give me the initial rounds of revisions, focusing mostly on continuity. Once these edits are in and I have been over the manuscript another time, I am ready to move onto the next step while an editor is busy doing their magic on the draft.

Work on the Book Cover

You can think of the book cover and even start doing some parts of it earlier in the process, but I find the times when the beta readers and the editors are working on the manuscript to be a good time to work on the cover. Using GIMP, I start designing front cover. By this time, I know what trim size the book will be published in, because that is needed for the front and back cover designs. I cannot complete the full cover until the book is closer to being completed because the page count tells me how thick the binding will be. But I can create the front cover at this point and add the back and side later. The front cover is going to be needed soon anyway for marketing, which I will not discuss here.


Around this time, either before or after the front cover designs, I start working on the typesetting. This means we are producing the book into the format it needs to be to print with the book distributors. The typesetting is also completed in LibreOffice, so it is just a matter of importing a typesetting template I have already created, or converting my current draft into the format I want. Once I have the book produced, I know the page count, so I can go back to the cover and finalize the book binding and the back cover, if that is not done yet.

Produce the eBook

When I am ready to create my eBook, I turn to the Sigil application. From inside LibreOffice, I export my manuscript directly as an ePUB file, but that is far from being a usable eBook. I open up that file in Sigil and start splitting the book into parts, one part for each part or chapter, depending on the book formatting. I will also be sure to add the metadata, covers, and everything else needed for the eBook to be completed. This process usually does not take long.

For the timing, producing the eBook comes in a tie with typesetting. I usually do the formatting first, but the eBook production is just as important. The only benefit to waiting until closer to the end of the project for the eBook is if my editor gets the manuscript back sooner than I anticipate, I can get the edits into the working copy of the book prior to exporting the text for the eBook thus saving some time on integrating edits.

Produce the AudioBook

The last step I do prior to sending the print and eBooks out to the distributors is recording the voice tracks for the audiobook. While slowly reading the text for the audio files, I will find any final edits that need corrected prior to sending the book out to the distributors. Once I have completed the read through of the book for audio tracks, I make any final corrections to the print and eBooks, and push those through distribution. Once that is completed, I move on to editing the audio files and finally releasing those.

So there you have it, in a nutshell, the process I for publishing my books. If you need any help with the production process whether it is a cover design, typesetting, or eBook production, reach out to me and I will get you a quote for your project!