Consultant Nancy Erickson offers a guide to getting started on the book you’ve always wanted to write but don’t know where to begin.

Think about how you would start any multi-layered project – like building a house. You’d start with a plan, wouldn’t you? Your book writing project should also begin with a plan that will carry you from your initial concept to the finished cover. You must know what you are trying to accomplish in order to reach your goal. Begin by answering these foundational questions, then write the book targeted to your answers.


  • What purpose will this book serve?
  • How is it different from other books published on this same subject?
  • What is the main theme of the story? What are the secondary themes?
  • What new information or angle does this story present that hasn’t already been published?
  • Why will people want to read this story?
  • Who is the audience for this book? List the primary and secondary markets.
  • How will this work impact that audience?
  • What change will this book invoke in the reader?
  • Why will people recommend this book to others?
  • Finish the sentence: “The purpose of this book is to ___________________.”