Creating Your Outline, Organization, and Drafting

Save yourself time and energy while making sure you cover everything your reader needs.

Time to add some structure - your outline
Outlining is one of those things that makes all the difference but is easy to overlook or skip. Don’t! The time you put into outlining and structuring your chapters saves you ten times that amount of effort as you draft and edit (which means lower editing costs AND your book is out there working for you quicker).

[I have a great sheet for this right here if you’d like to use it and follow along]. The first step to creating your outline is starting with listing out your concept at the top, followed by your “back-end” right after. (Start with the end in mind, right?)

Next, you want to put your title and subtitle. Then, list out a few bullet points about your audience, as well as where they are now and where they will be, including your “North Star” quote and major considerations.

Why do all this on your outline document if you’ve already done it? Because it’ll keep your audience, concept, and mission front of mind as you determine what’ll be in your book, which means it will be loved by your readers a lot more all while working hard for you as you go.

“Big Rocks” and sub-points
You should have your “Big Rocks” from above - that’s where we’ll start now. Take each of those Big Rocks and add 3-5 sub-points on each. Why 3-5? Because less than that and you probably don’t have a big enough “rock” and more than that means you probably need to break that particular rock down a bit. Plus, keeping it to 3-5 main sub-points on each item ensures you won’t have 30-page chapters. Ain’t no-one reading 30 pages in a chapter anymore!

So take each of your Big Rocks and make them into a major topic. Then, for each of those, list out 3-5 sub-points. If you want to get detailed underneath each of those sub-points, go for it! That will make the actual drafting a bit easier.

All you have to do here is list out your Big Rocks and the main things you want to talk about under each, and then any immediate details that come to mind. Once you feel like you have everything listed that you want to cover in your book (at least at a high level), it’s time to add some structure.

Order up
Take a look back at your Big Rocks. Since those are based on the journey the reader needs to take to get from where they are to where they will be, what order should they be in? What needs to be known or done first? Make that your first chapter. What needs to be done second? Make that your second chapter, and so on. The flow you’re creating is still flexible, even as you go forward and actually draft your book. Still, though, take the time to get everything in the right order.

Once you feel like you have your Big Rocks in the right order, take another glance through your sub-points and make sure they feel like they’re in the right order within each chapter/section. You’ll move these around some as you go on to draft, but getting them organized in a way that feels right now will save time later.

Build out each chapter in your outline
I’ve found for all of my books, and the many I’ve helped publish, having a structure to your chapters speeds up the process and all but ensures a high-quality product. I have a five-part structure for each chapter that works well and is simple and easy to follow, so let’s do it!

For every book, and for your outline, you’ll have an introduction, the main chapters, a final “what to do now” chapter, and then a conclusion. Each should follow the same five-part structure below. (When I say chapter, I’m referring to your introduction and conclusions, also).

The first part of each chapter is your hook. This is what captures a reader’s attention and gets them interested in reading more of the chapter. Think of it as your headline (but not your chapter title). It’s often a story, a joke, a funny anecdote, a quote, or a big promise or life experience. The only rule is that it’s interesting and captures attention.

For example, going back to our book for new Realtors, our introduction may start with a simple story: “Have you ever had a chance at a listing and, POOF, the sale goes right through your hands? I have. More than once. Until I learned these seven simple tricks that have had me closing nearly every sale that’s come my way. That’s what I want to share with you.” Simple, easy, and clear. That’s it.

After you spell out your hook in your outline, you want to note the major lesson of each chapter. This is simply to help you stay on track and remain clear on the purpose as you finish your outline and, ultimately, start to draft.

Next, the fun part. You start outlining the supporting points and stories for each of your chapters. What, in specific, will you talk about? What points do you want to make/what do you want to teach the reader? Make sure you list out the connecting stories that help drive home each item. Remember, stories sell!

The last two parts of structuring your chapter are your transition and establishing your call to action. The transition is all about how you smoothly move to the next chapter. In most cases, it can be as simple as saying, “…and that's what we'll do next, let's turn the page.” Going back to our Realtor book example, if Chapter 1 was about understanding who their market was and Chapter 2 was about finding those people, our transition could be, “Now that you have a much clearer idea who your market is, let’s find out where they’re at and how to get to them.”

Your call to action varies based on what you're trying to do. The most important thing is to not make it a call to purchase your end product, or coaching, or training, or whatever you're offering them on the back end. Rather, it should be a gentle nudge tied into the contents of the chapter to help them get on your email list or some other way to enter your world. Using our Realtor book as an example again, the call to action for Chapter 1 might be, “Want to know what people are most likely to work with a Realtor like you? Email with the subject “best market” and we’ll get our FREE guide out to you ASAP.”

That’s it. That’s all you need to do with each chapter. Take your Big Rocks and layout your hook, major lesson, supporting points and stories, your transition, and your call to action. Once you do that, you’re set to start drafting your book.

Just as you get started on drafting, we want to make sure you’re telling the world about your book. More on that in a moment.

Start drafting!
Alright, now’s the time to start drafting your book. Don’t worry, though, it’s a lot easier than you think, and there’s even a way to get it done without having to hunt and peck out your keyboard (just in case that’s not your thing). And, most importantly, remember this isn’t the final book. It’s simply the first draft. You’re just getting it together - there will be several rounds of editing to get it perfect.

Before we start, though, a quick note. Right below this section, you’ll see getting your back cover copy drafted, accounts set up, and cover design started. You’ll also see your landing page, Facebook, group, and so on. These are all things that CAN be done after drafting, but it’s best if you’re working on them while you draft. That way you can have plenty of momentum once you're finished to launch this thing as a best seller and get it into a lot more hands!

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the three ways you can get your book done yourself. (I’ll also mention a fourth way - having someone else do it with you or for you - and how to make sure it sounds and feels right).

First way to draft: fill in your outline
Your outline is the perfect foundation to draft out your book. If you’re someone who likes to write and you don’t mind typing, simply start elaborating on each one of your sub-points, stories, and bullets in each chapter by writing a paragraph.

Work your way down the list, one at a time until you fill in each bullet point for the chapter. Once you’re “done” with that chapter, then look to rearrange the points into an order that might make sense.

Keep this process up until you’ve elaborated with a paragraph or two - long or short - for each of your sub-points and stories. Map it all out and then start thinking about the connection between points. You’ll clean it all up in the next round of editing, so don’t worry about getting too detailed on the connections.

Second way to draft: record audio on your phone or computer
If you’re more of a talker than a writer, hit “record” and, starting at the top of your outline, start talking! Remember, you don’t have to speak perfectly here, your goal is only to get the right content out of your head and into the audio.

As you start each section or chapter, announce what part you’re on as this will make it easier for you to go and plug the transcript into the right spot later. When you’re recording, pretend you're having a conversation with a prospect or a friend, but still sticking to the outline.

Then hop on over to or (my favorite) and upload your audio for transcription. Once you get it done/back, start plugging in each section in alignment with your outline. You’ll button it all up in the editing phase.

Third way to draft: interview format
This can be the easiest for most folks, often because it’s the most natural. While you can interview yourself, it’s going to feel more “right” if you find someone else to help.

Use your outline to form the structure of an interview with you. Think of it kind of like a podcast, with the questions coming from your outline. Then either answer the questions yourself or answer them as someone else asks them to you. (One major benefit of someone else asking the questions is they can ask potentially valuable follow-up questions to extract more content out of you).

Then, just like the second option, you’re going to drop the recordings into or and transcribe it all into text. Grab that text and paste it all together in alignment with your outline.

If you’re not sure about how to have someone interview you, we can help. Just let us know.

Fourth way to draft your book: have someone else do it with you or for you
The most important thing about your book beyond good and valuable content is that it sounds like YOU. That requirement often makes “ghostwriting” - the process of having someone else help you write your book - a challenge for authors.

That being said, there are good ways to do it, AND WE CAN HELP you do it in a way that’s natural and captures your “voice.” Just know that, while it works for a lot of people, you can’t hadn’t over a list of bullet points to someone, have them elaborate, and produce what you would produce yourself. In most cases, a “hybrid” approach is best (that’s what we do).

Hopefully, you’re seeing that it’s all easier than you thought at first. Sure, there’s a lot of moving parts, but it’s all one step at a time. Millions have put books out there, and so can you. The only difference is, yours will be incredible. Especially if you follow this approach :).