Things you need to do to write a book

Published Thu, Mar 12, 2009 by Austin Govella. Updated Thu, Mar 12, 2009.

If you ever find yourself writing a book, there are a few things you’ll want to make sure you have lined up.

Set a wireframe and diagram style – If you might be using wireframes, diagrams, screenshots, or photos, you’ll want to settle on a style for each. This includes how closely they’re cropped (or not), how they’re annotated (if at all), the text size for labels, and the style for lines, object strokes, and object fills.

Define a style for URLs, navigation, and links that appear in text – You or your production team will probably already have a style for displaying URLs. But make sure. For Blueprints, we spend a lot of time talking about navigation, links, and labels, and we found we needed a style to differentiate a link from a label.

Write an introduction, foreword, and conclusion with serious purpose – The introduction, conclusion, and first chapter significantly frame the readers perception of the book. Christina and I jumped right in to working on the meat of the book. The intro and conclusion are competent and get the job done, but we didn’t spend nearly as much time on them as we spent on other chapters. They’re ok, but I think the entire book would’ve been better if we’d provided better framing.

Styles for call-outs – This ties in with identifying a style for wireframes, diagrams, and screenshots. Sometimes you’ll include something and then want to call attention to a specific portion of the page. Of course, it’s better to crop down to the area of importance. A couple of times, we specifically included a shot of an entire screen with a small call-out just so we could show more context.

Phone convos/f2fs regularly (weekly or bi-weekly) – Writing a book is a serious, group activity. I think weekly phone conversations or face-to-face meetings help the team occupy the same headspace. Your readers will read the book in one headspace. On the scale from schizophrenic to extreme, singular vision, the latter is easier to read.

Edit, edit, edit, rewrite from scratch, edit, edit edit – Edit, edit, edit, rewrite from scratch, edit, edit edit. Edit, edit, edit, rewrite from scratch, edit, edit edit. Edit, edit, edit, rewrite from scratch, edit, edit edit

Once you’ve taken care of these six steps, the last thing you’ll need to do is edit.