How to outline a book is something that stumps many authors. They have a general idea of what they want to go into their book, but they don’t know all of the details, and they don’t know for sure what should go into it and what should be left out. Everyone who has heard about my process for how to outline a book finds it unusual at first, and then ingenious. Yes, I take into account what the author wants to accomplish, the intended audience, and other factors. Then, I go straight for the keyword research.
Keyword research? What does that have to do with creating an outline for a book?
Most people are familiar with keywords—the words and phrases we type into search engines. Most of those people know that website/blog owners must use the right keywords if they want their work to be found online. But did you know that you can use keyword research to tell you what needs to go into your nonfiction book?
How to outline a book with keywords
I help people create their outlines all the time, and one of the first things I do is conduct keyword research on their topic/title. The information gives me what I need to create the outline or Table of Contents for their book. I examine the keywords that have a good demand ranking and are sufficiently broad to make a suitable segment of the book. Then I put them into a sensible order that will take the reader from Point A to Point B.
Keywords that are more specific and have lower demand go under those chapter headings to fill out the outline of the chapters. I see the patterns and organize the data into the outline.
This process takes all the pain away from the author. The author might want to tweak the outline a bit, but the majority of what they need is right there.
Book outlining tools
When I was explaining the process to a client recently, she told me, “In the movie The Matrix, one of the characters said when he was looking at all the zeroes and ones scrolling down his screen, he didn’t see the digits anymore. All he saw was redhead, blonde, etc. That’s what you do: you see the patterns in the data and pull out the outlines for our books. That’s an amazing superpower. I could never do that, and I’m a data scientist.”
I told her she could in fact do it herself. All she needed was the right tools. You can use the same tools to do it yourself, too. My favorite tool for this is the Brainstormer at Site Build It. At the time of this writing, it costs about $400 a year (The WordPress version is substantially less).
If you want your outline created but don’t want to pay $400 to use that tool and spend time learning how to use it, you can pay us $100, and we’ll do it for you. Just tell us about your book, including your topic and your book’s purpose, make your payment, and we’ll do the rest! A consultation is included in case you need any help tweaking it to make it perfect for you.
Author and ghostwriting agency owner Nick Pavlidis has Harshman Services edit everything his agency produces.