How to Write a Book

By D. A. Sharpe


There is not an absolute formula of creating sections to publish a book, but certain ones are common and have specific purposes.  It is my advocacy that an author address each of these parts, to give a full-orbed value to the composition.



1.      Title - Give lots of thought about the attractiveness and understanding of what people see in your title.  Brevity is better than length.  Simple one, two or three syllable words are best.


2.      Foreword - This is a statement by someone other than the author, who commends the reader that the work this author did to produce this book is of value.  Give serious thought to who you would ask.  For his or her remarks to be commending you, there should be no financial incentive for the Foreward.  So, you need to fine a quality person willing to volunteer a positive expression.  Also, spell it correctly.  It is NOT Forward!


3.      Preface- You talk about WHY you are writing this book and what were some of the motivations for you to do it.


4.      Introduction - You summarize the arrangement of the elements of the book, and what the reader should expedt. Occasionaly, an Introduction is in two parts. The first part tell about you are the author. The second part then would be about the organization of the book. 


5.      Acknowledgements - You should give laudable appreciation and credit to the various sources of help and information you received.  Usually it mostly is a list of people, but you can cite some resources, such as or various libraries from which you found help, such as Library of Congress, or some state archives you’ve used.  A special touch can be presented using simple profile photographs of these people.  Rather than attempting to list people in order of their importance to you in this project, it would be better to state that the list is in alphabetic order. 


6.      A Table of Contents - This is your planning guide of the Chapters you intend to create.  As you project progresses, you may add chapters or even delete them.  Some software programs usable for writing can help with automatically managing the TOC’s reference to page numbers.  For example, Microsoft’s Word format, that I have used, has that capability.  When I add or delete pages in the document, the beginning page number of that chapter is automatically updated in the TOC display!


7.      Create beginning pages for each Chapter cited in the Table of Contents. This enables you to jump ahead of your progress and insert material for later chapters, before you forget some things.  Doing it in Word allows an automated form of TOC.  You may need to get this done professionally, as I did for $75, but it’s worth it.  In this way, every time you add more pages of composition to a chapter, the page number in the TOC is updated automatically.   Also, when you browse the TOC, you may click on a Chapter line in the TOC, and your curser takes you immediately to that Chapter in the book.  


8.      Photographs: Thus, you begin your writing.  Make use of plenty of photographs, if you can. Describe briefly the subject or situation of a photograph.  



9.      Book Cover Testimonials.  Have you noticed on the jackets (covers) of hard copy books that several brief testimonials are cited by people of recognizable name or reputation who say in 2 to 5 sentences something favorable about you and the prospect that readers will enjoy what’s between the covers!  Since an e-book does not have paper jacket covers, an alternative is to provide a chapter of Book Cover Testimonials. You need to solicit these from among people you’d be pleased to have their testimonials.  You may need to solicit from 12 people to receive 3 or 4 testimonials, but I think it’s worth the effort.



10.    Be alert to good grammar in your writing.  Not using good grammar may not distract some readers, but those who know better are often lost in recognizing lazy grammar.  You want to write in a way that everyone will want to continue reading your composition. 


There is a “Speaking & Writing with Effectiveness” article composed for political candidates’ guidance. However, it really is effective for anyone who speaks to or verbally addresses any public augience.  About grammar, read item #9


I have a developed rule that is humorous, because citing it violates every rule it addresses!  Here is a five-in-one English grammar rule that can help us be read with more integrity! 


“Watch for four things in your writing: (1) I think the pronoun, “I” should be used sparingly; (2) I think I should always avoid splitting infinitives; (3) I think I should avoid using prepositions to end a sentence with; (4) I hardly ever owed anything to anyone; and (5) I think I should avoid run-on sentences, as they tend to lose the focus I originally intended, and I think that the reader could become bored with the writing I was offering!


As a sample, here is a writing plan underway for my autobiography




11.    An INDEX alphabetically lists important words individually, together with relevant groupings. Each entry is given one or more page numbers.  The index is a relatively small part of the book and usually appears at the end.


12.    A GLOSSARY is usually prepared by a team of knowledgeable individuals and is a whole reference book (or post) of terms used in a subject, eg real estate, droneology. It usually includes definitions, descriptions, abbreviations, and directory type entries. It aims to allow the reader to understand the meanings and nature of the terms used in a subject.



It is hoped this was helpful to you as an aspiring author and writer!



Dwight Albert (D. A.) Sharpe

805 Dering Road East

Aurora, TX 76078-3712