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2 Proven Ways to Create an Amazing Book Outline

create a book outline

You’ve wanted to write a book for awhile, but just not making progress. What’s stopping you? I think I know what it is…

Many aspiring writers struggle to write because of two primary reasons:

  • Fear – They doubt their message, ability to write, etc.
  • Know how – They simply don’t know the structure of writing or a good way to write a book.

While “fear” itself is a big enough reason not to write, we will address that topic at another time.

I want to help those of you who simply just don’t know what to do.

You first need to understand that you’ll never fully conquer how to write a book. I love this quote from Gene Wolfe:

“You never figure out how to write a novel; you just learn to write the novel you are on.”

There are, however, some time-tested principles I’ve observed over the years that can help you non-fiction authors structure your book.

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The WWH Book Writing Profits Formula

I wanted to share with you a trend I’ve noticed after reading thousands of non-fiction books. Once you understand this format, you will not only be able to easily write your book, but you’ll understand how to best profit from your book financially.

  • W – Why? Most non-fiction books begin by addressing “why” there is a problem that needs to be solved and why you as the reader need to solve it. The beginning sets up the future journey to solving the problem in the pages ahead. Pro Tip: Don’t write this section until after you write the core parts of the book. This is the single most reason writers struggle.
  • W – What? The core of the book then offers guidance by educating the reader on “what” they need to do to solve the problem. Each section or chapter addresses one of these core principles.
  • H- How? This is where the profits are hiding. Most authors don’t make their income from book royalties but from back-end products. The book teaches “what” to do, but the online course, coaching program, or live event shows “how” to do it. When you understand this, you have a winning formula for your next book!

2 Proven Templates for Creating an Amazing Book Outline

Now that you understand the “big picture” of your book strategy let’s address two proven ways you can build an amazing book outline.

Method #1: The Mind Mappers

Some of us think best with mind maps. This is often ideal for those of you who like a less structured approach. This method of book outlining can be accomplished in a few different ways.

  • The Post-It Note Method – Go buy a few packs of Post-it notes and write down a single idea on each note. Don’t over-think it. Just write down anything that comes to mind that is related to your book topic. After you get all your ideas out of your head use a whiteboard or wall to re-arrange your ideas into a logical outline.
  • The Online MindMap Method – You can also use an online mind mapping software if you don’t want to use Post-it notes. One of my favorites is Mindomo.com.

Method #2: The Outliners

Others of us want to brainstorm in a more logical, outlining approach. Think about your book in terms of steps. What’s the first thing your reader would need to do to begin solving their problem? What’s the second step?

One of my favorite tools for outlining is Workflowy.com. This handy, free tool allows you to easily create a logical outline to your book. You can even drag and drop your topics into a more logical step-by-step outline. Forget a step? Easily insert your new step into your outline.

You now have the power to overcome procrastination. Use the methods taught here to get moving again!

Question: Which of the above ideas are you most excited about trying? Share in the comments below…

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