skip to Main Content

5 Steps to Take Before Your Write Your Book Outline

Composition with old vintage colorful hardback books, diary on wooden deck table and artistic blue background. Books stacking. Back to school. Copy Space. Education background

Do you know the steps you should take “before” writing your book outline? 

One of the questions I get asked most often about writing a book is, “How do I get started?” I always respond, “Start with great research.” But so often, instead, I hear from new authors who write their book outline and are halfway through their book before they reach out to me.

Each tine I hear from one of these authors, I feel a thumping pain emerge in my gut. “No!” I want to scream and add, “You didn’t start with researching other books first to build your book out as a complement to the hundreds of others that are out there on Amazon already? Don’t you realize that you won’t stand out as different and, most likely, your book will drown in a sea of me-too books?

To make it even easier, I am going to give you my step-by-step process for figuring out the right book for you that will stand out in a glutted marketplace. It’s all about, first, figuring out what is necessary for you to do before you write your book outline.

Step 1: Go to Amazon and find at lease one book that is similar to yours.

Step 2: Look further down on each time on each book’s page and find the spot where it says, “Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed” to find similar books.

Step 3: Keep looking for similar books to the one you want to write and start a spreadsheet.

Step 4: Put in the following columns in your spreadsheet: Author’s Name, Publisher, Date Published, # of Pages in the Book, Rank (Amazon Book Rank) # of Good Reviews, # of Bad Reviews, Good Review Samples, Poor Review Samples, etc.

Step 5: Fill in the information from the books you have selected into your spreadsheet. Choose 5-10 books to review. In the Review Samples column, look for patterns that emerge in both good and bad reviews.

Bonus: Sort your columns by ranking lowest to highest numbers.

This view of your competition will help you figure out where there are gaps, helping you write a unique book–a book that will stand out in this crowded marketplace. Note that upwards of 5000 books are uploaded daily onto Amazon. Those numbers used to be in the low hundreds. The barriers to entry have been lifted and it’s time, as a new author, you take steps to compete more effectively.

I have been using this method for years and it has worked to help me help my authors both get agents and publishers.

Free Offer: If you want more great insights, click here to grab a copy of my eBook, “Lead Me to Success in Publishing” where I and my co-author, an original acquisitions agent for “The Dummies” series, share our best insights on today’s world of publishing. 

If you found this useful or interesting, please consider forwarding it to a friend.

Melissa G Wilson

Melissa has been a leader in the book writing, publishing and marketing arena for the past two decades. To date, she has helped more than 100 thought leaders write, publish and market their books. Her clients include executives such as Dan Weinfurter a seven-time Inc 500 winner and Orlando Ashford, President of Holland Cruise Lines.

Back To Top