Step 1: Before you Begin to Write
Before you begin to write, there are some important things to consider and determine.
A. Determine where you are currently at in the writing process.
Every book has a starting point. It is important to know where you are currently at in the process of pursuing your dream or mission of writing a book. Ask yourself questions such as:
“Have I already begun writing my book?”
“Do I have journal notes, handwritten notes, or recorded sermons?”
“Have I saved some notes, journals, or ideas on my computer?”
“Do I have an outline and a title?”
“Do I know what the main idea of my book is about?”
“Is this my first book?”
B. Make sure that your book is aligned with, and does not contradict, Xulon’s Statement of Faith.
Our statement of faith is listed on our website and if you have any question as to whether your book would be outside of what Xulon will publish, please contact your Publishing Consultant.
C. Be certain that you are following the manuscript guidelines from the very start.
Before you begin to write, make sure that you have read the guidelines for how your manuscript should be created and what format it should be in. This will allow you to set your book up correctly from the start. Make sure that you are using the correct digital format for Xulon Press. Manuscripts can only be submitted to Xulon in either Microsoft Word, or in a professionally-created PDF file.
When you begin to write in Microsoft Word please remember you do not need to hit the “Return” key at the end of every sentence. Let each sentence naturally end and transition to the next line on its own. This will eliminate any “Hard Returns” that could delay and add additional expense to producing your manuscript. If you need help in understanding the guidelines for creating your manuscript, please contact your Publishing Consultant.
D. Determine your audience. Who are you writing this book for, and who will be reading it?
Great authors write with a reader or an audience in mind. Two of the best selling self-published books of all time were written by the authors for their children. They had no idea that there would be thousands of other children just like their own who would love the book. Are you writing to encourage single mothers? Are you writing this book for someone who is hungry to know more about the history of the church? Are you writing to persuade someone to see a different theological view or truth? Who are you writing this book for?
Describe in the best detail possible what they are like, and as far as you can, determine what is the best way to talk to or communicate with them. For instance, you would not write to a child using deep theological words that only scholars would understand. If you were writing a book to encourage Christian men to be strong leaders for their families, you would want to write in such a way that the readers would be challenged and engaged. While there is no simple answer for every book, it is vital that you know whom you are writing this book for.
E. Build a spiritual foundation of prayer and continue to pray throughout the process.
For Christian writers/authors there is a special and unique difference in their message and the values they express through their written work. For the Christian writer, there exists either a special reason to write or at least a significant influence on their writing. As Christians, we are different because of what we believe in and who we believe in. For that reason, the greatest person we can turn to and to draw from is God. For the Christian writer the time to pray is before… during and after.
Pray before you write. Ask God to guide you and inspire you. Most likely you have arrived at this step because you have developed a strong desire to share a message, a story or a truth that you feel is important for Christians to know about. Even if the book you want to write is not focused on a Christian teaching or testimony, it is written from a Christian point of view because you are a Christian writer. Ask for help before you write.
Pray while you write. Discouragement, “Writer’s Block” or just the general loss of your initial inspiration can plague or hinder any author as he or she tries to complete or expand their initial thoughts into a full manuscript. Remember your source for everything that pertains to life and your ability to accomplish the task of being a Christian author. Remember that as a Child of God you have a helper that you can turn to for encouragement, enlightenment, wisdom and strength. While you are writing, turn to God and ask for His help.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)
Pray after you write. When you are finished writing, remember to thank God for the help that he provided while you were writing. Ask Him to use what you have written to glorify His name and to make a positive difference in the lives of those who read it. Pray for those who are working with you on the production and publication of your book. Pray for the designers and for anyone who is involved in producing and promoting your book to the world. Pray for open doors and opportunities to introduce your book to others who would enjoy or benefit from its content.
F. Consider purchasing your publishing package before you write your book, or at least early in the process.
One of the most effective steps you can take to ensure success, and to help motivate and inspire you to complete your book, is to commit yourself to finish your project by purchasing your publishing package early. Authors that have a monetary commitment to their book find more resolve and focus in finishing their manuscript than authors who are waiting until they are finished writing before they purchase their publishing package. Like everything else, when we fully commit our finances, we then fully commit our time to the process.
Another benefit of securing your publishing package early is that you can normally secure it when the package is on sale, or the offer is exactly what you want. For authors that wait to purchase their publishing package only when they are finished writing, they are limited in their choices of special sales or discounts. Take the time to look for the right price and then commit yourself to the process that is before you.