Rescue Your Unfinished Book

Previously, I listed 10 top tips to help you get back on track with your book. Whether you are grappling with your structure, your topic or your content, these tips will give you some insight into how to solve the problem. Here are the top tips again:

Top Tip 1: Get feedback, preferably from a professional editor
Top Tip 2: Create a book plan so you know whether you have the right content
Top Tip 3: Check the structure works by looking at the contents list
Top Tip 4: Check your subject is right for your business and for you as an author
Top Tip 5: Work out where this book fits in your business
Top Tip 6: Make sure you are clear on your key points
Top Tip 7: Create a new writing schedule so you can begin writing regularly again
Top Tip 8: Finish writing before you start revising and editing
Top Tip 9: Focus your book if you have too much content
Top Tip 10: Add more detail if you have too little content
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A sample book structure

Below are the details of the third tip on what you can do to get back on track with your book. If you are struggling with your book, it’s possible you need to look at your book structure. When you get your book structure right, it is much easier to get your point across. If the information you are giving is in the wrong order or is in chapter sections that don’t work, finishing writing your book is going to be a challenge.

The third tip in getting your unfinished book done is to get your book structure right because when you do this, you can find that your writing flows again.

Top Tip 3: Check your structure works by looking at the contents list

Structure can have a huge impact on how effectively you get your message or point across in a book. Getting your chapters in the ‘right’ order, or using a structure that enables you to organise your content in the most effective and relevant way is crucial in how well your book works for you as the author as well as how well it comes across to your reader.

The exercise below will help you work out whether your content is in the right order.

  1. Write out your contents page using the chapter titles as headings.
  2. Under each chapter heading, write a short summary of what each chapter is about.
  3. Remove the chapter headings and read the summaries as if it were one single description of the book.
  • Are there any points where the narrative seems disjointed?
  • Do any additional points occur to you?
  • Do all the key points appear in the right order?
  • Are there any ‘red herrings’ i.e. additional points or ideas that do not fit with the key focus of the book.
  • What do you want to add or remove and why?

From the information you glean from this exercise and by asking these questions you will get some insights into what is and is not working with your structure.

Take the time to get your book structure right and you’ll work out the glitches that are stopping you from writing  your book and getting it finished.

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        »  Proof-reading – do you need it?
        »  Editing – why, how much and when?

Deborah Taylor
Deborah Taylor

Hi, I'm Deborah Taylor and I'm a publishing consultant and book-writing mentor. I work with established business owners who want to share their message by writing a book but are struggling to get started (or finished). I help them write, publish and launch a stand-out, attention-grabbing book that will raise their profile, reach more of their ideal clients and grow their business. I am a trained editor with over 15 years' publishing experience with major blue-chip UK publishing companies such as Hodder & Stoughton, BBC Books, Cassell and Pearson. I have produced books on every subject under the sun and with professinals and experts from a wide range of professions, from chefs and gardeners to life coaches and career consultants. I would love to help you write a book you love and that will raise your profile, attract new clients and bring you exciting new business opportunities.