Skip to main content

Your web browser is out of date. Please update it for greater security, speed and the best experience on this site.

Choose a different browser

Dreaming about writing a book, but don’t know where to begin? Top 10 tips for getting your book from the idea stage to published!

12 May 2023 by Faye Holst Ashley Gasque, Senior Commissioning Editor at IOP ebooks Ashley Gasque, Senior Commissioning Editor at IOP ebooks

To celebrate ten years of IOP ebooks, we have asked Ashley Gasque, Senior Commissioning Editor at IOP ebooks to share her top ten tips on how to publish a book. Ashley has over 15 years’ experience in academic publishing and has commissioned more than 450 books. We also discussed her secrets to such a prolific commissioning career, how she ensures books are relevant to academics, students and researchers, and what advice she has for first time authors. 

Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” If writing that book is the thing that scares you we’re here to help. Are you concerned you don’t have the time, you don’t have the experience, you don’t have the energy? Whatever it is we’re here to tell you, you can, it is possible.  

Follow our top ten tips and you’ll be submitting your proposal before you know it!

1. Consider your options and ideas 
Maybe you already have one or more potential book ideas. Terrific, let’s get started! If not let’s think about your needs. Where do you see a gap in the books available at the moment. Could you be the one to fill it? Perhaps that’s through acting as an editor rather than a sole author. 

2. Utilize your resources 
Perhaps you have a great set of lecture notes for a course you’ve been teaching or journal articles you’ve written. While we expect all material to be new, these are great resources to use as a base for your potential book. 

3. Define the audience 
After you decide on a book idea, it is important to consider your audience and decide at what level you want to deliver your content. Advanced? Undergraduates? Graduates? 

4. Survey the available books on the subject 
Take a look on Amazon at the available literature on your book topic. If you find similar titles, how will your book differ? What are they missing that your book will include? 

5. Prepare an outline 
Conceptualize the aim, scope, and need for your book and what you intend to accomplish.  

6. Think about the schedule 
A typical writing period is 12-18 months. While this might seem daunting there are options, you could consider adding a co-author or various chapter authors to contribute to the writing. 

7. Prepare your book proposal  
Now that you’ve done the planning for the book, it is time to prepare your book proposal. You can find out more about writing your proposal here.  

8. Make a tentative schedule, chapter by chapter, to keep yourself on track 
Sometimes writing an entire book can seem a bit daunting.  It can be easier if you make a timeline for yourself by chapter. 

9. Get started 
Getting started is often the biggest hurdle. Where to begin? The narrative does not necessarily need to be written in order. After reviewing your table of contents, what excites you most? What are you most eager to write about? Consider flushing that chapter out first and use it as a starting point to then extend to the remaining work. 

10. Keep in touch throughout your entire journey 
We want to hear from you, every step of the way! We understand that things don’t always go as planned and are here to help. Are you falling behind and need an extension? Do you need feedback on a chapter before you continue with the other chapters? Are permissions holding you up? Don’t hesitate to reach out, we’re here to support you throughout your entire writing process.  

I hope you found these tips useful, do get in touch if you’d like to discuss your idea or visit our author support page for more information.  

Join us in celebrating the tenth anniversary of IOP ebooks! This year we’re giving away 10 ebooks every month via our monthly quiz where we’ll be testing your knowledge on all things IOP ebooks Enter the quiz now for your first chance to win.

Share this