What I Wish I Knew When Writing a Book

These are the words of  Jennifer Engel, Balboa Press author of “ Heaven Under Construction”.  Jennifer answered the call to write her book and self-publish with Balboa Press. If you’d like to learn more about  Anna, you can visit her website, Facebook page or Twitter account.  Download the Balboa Press free publishing guide to receive more information.

  What I Wish I Knew

What I Wish I Knew When Writing a BookAfter working on my first book Heaven under Construction, I realized that the desire to write, and actually writing a book, were two different experiences. Here is what you can learn from my experiences:


At first, I was unaware that most successful books are written for a larger audience who share common life themes: How do I improve my health? How can I be more financially successful? How can I improve and have better relationships? Who am I? How do I succeed at…?


Structure is the framework of the piece. It is either pleasing to the eye, or it is not. It is one of the first things people glance over when they are deciding to buy. In addition, just like when someone is considering buying a home, the simpler, clean, bright, and flow the structure has, the more likelihood someone is to make a purchase.


Voice is the art within. In addition, like art, you want it to be unique, yet clear, concise and relatable to your reader. You want your reader to have an emotional reaction to message you are trying to get across. Which brings about another point, make sure you know your message. Your message is your gift to your reader, and your voice is what it is wrapped in.

Word Choice:

Words are the ingredients in a recipe. Therefore, they must tasted and savored to see if they are “just right,” or if they need a bit more “salt.” If your words create an emotional reaction in you, they will most likely create an emotional reaction in others. The only way to be sure is to find some other taste-testers who are willing to give you feedback. Be open and ready to try new ingredients until you, and your audience, feel as though they “taste” just right.

 Sentence Fluency:

Sentence fluency is the rhythm that flows out of a well-written piJennifer Engelece. The main message should be repeated over and over like a chorus. Each line needs to be clear, concise, yet varied. Each note needs to be logically connected and smoothly flowing into the other, which creates the brain to light up and delight in the experience.

                                     Editing Process:

The editing process is the doldrums of the creative-writing process. Here is a formula for determining how much time to take: take the number of pages you have written and divide it by the number of pages your brain can handle per day. This will be the number of days you should spend editing. Then find as many other editors as you can to look over your work, for each one takes a different perspective and finds different errors. Once you get the proofs back, be ready to spend the same number of days you did editing.


I have been teaching children how to write since 1998. In the academic setting, all papers are written in dimensions of 8 x 11. It never really dawned on me that the typical dimensions of a book are 5 x 8 or 6 x 9. Now when I write, I shrink down my pages the size of a book, and then I blow it back up to the typical size. Writing a book is a lot like anything else in life.

When you have never done it, you do not know what to expect, and there are many learning curves to overcome. Yet, once you do learn, the drive becomes easier and easier and more enjoyable.


Balboa Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books are invited to do so by emailing blog@balboapress.com or the submission form on the Guidelines page. We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. Balboa Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space. 


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