From idea to a book: an overview

So, you have an idea that you’d like to turn into a book. The process to do so is quite long – and writing the story is a smaller part of it than many would believe. And there are many ways to approach it, so there’s no approach that fits everyone. But some aspects of it are always there.


There’s a lot of things to think about even before you start. If you’re not a native English speaker, you might face a hard decision right away: write in your native language (which may be a small market) or in English?

You should also be prepared for one thing: you’ll face many questions and while you can find resources on most (if not all) of them, only you can answer those questions.

Will you first create a ‘skeleton’ of the story in the form of a timeline or an outline – or just wing it and see? If you make an outline, how detailed will it be? That’s the first question you might face.


The early stages of writing will be, for most, a solitary adventure. You might be willing to share your story with friends or family, though some people advise against it, believing it’s better to go through the first draft(s) undisturbed by outside opinions and only share your story once it’s in a decent form.

Also, be prepared that finishing the first draft is only the beginning, and if you want to take writing seriously, you’ll need to revise and rewrite – a lot. When the story is in adecent shape, then you can (and will eventually have to) share it with other people.

Finding beta readers – to further help you grow your skills and find issues you can’t (or don’t want to) see yourself – will be one of the hardest challenges, along with processing their opinions and choosing which to accept and which to discard.


When the story is almost done, you’ll face the hardest decision: pursue the traditional publishing route, or self-publish your book?

Both ways have their advantages and disadvantages – and you can find many resources on this matter on the internet. Some of the pros and cons are hard facts while others are a matter of personal preference, which makes it hard to say which route is better.

Your personal priorities will matter a lot in this decision, and affect the next steps you’ll have to take. Traditional publishing might feel more like a guided journey, and will take care of some things for you but you’ll also have to give up some level of creative freedom. Self-publishing means you have to do everything yourself (or outsource it) but it’s all under your control.

Either way, you’ll need to know what genre and sub-genre your book is. If you go tradition, to seek out the right agents. If you’re self-published, then to seek out the most dedicated readers.


Once your book is published, one way or another, the journey is still far from over. You might want to write more – and thus the process begins again. But you’ll need to take care of your internet presence.

In case of the traditional route, how to tacle this might be decided for you and you’ll have to follow the guidelines to the letter. If you’re self-published, you can make those decisions yourself – but with such power comes responsibility.

And, in either way, if you want to sell a noticeable amount of books, you’ll need to delve into one of the worst activity ever known to mankind: marketing.