Where most authors are writing their books in Microsoft Word, Scrivener, or Pages for Mac, I’ve actually been using Microsoft Excel to write books fast and today I’m going to show you my exact technique. You can see an example of one of my books created in Excel by checking out The 50 Most Terrifying Roller Coasters Ever Built on Amazon.com. As you can see, it has a 4.5 star rating from 14 reviews - none of which are from people I know, all real readers and customer - and has sold more than 2,000 copies. I’ve written four books using this technique and I chose this niche because I have a real passion for roller coasters and amusement parks.
List type blog posts and articles are very popular these days, so my idea was to turn one of these type of list posts into a short book. This method is probably not a good idea for every type of book. You wouldn’t want to write a novel or long work of fiction in Excel. But if you're trying to relay stats or facts or have some form of repetition then this technique could help save you a lot of time. Anytime you find yourself doing something over and over or thinking to yourself "there has to be a better way" then, guess what, there probably is a better way and macros could be the answer.
How do you write a book in Excel?Each row in my spreadsheet template starts a different page in the book. So 50 coasters equals at least 50 pages. I’ve colored coded the spreadsheet: every column in green is my initial input. Orange columns are formulas that use information from two other columns. All columns without color contain data that was entered by a virtual assistant whom I hired specifically for this job from Upwork.
Basically, I came up with the list of 50 coasters I wanted to feature in the book, then I outsourced the data collection process using Upwork. While my virtual assistant was contacting theme parks and researching data, I wrote the code to the macro that would automatically export all the data from Excel into the format in Word that I was looking for. The macro runs through a simple For..Next loop, looping through each row of the spreadsheet and exporting the data into the Word document.
After the information is exported to Word, just add your typical front and back matter, pictures, edit, and you’re done. Uploading to CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing is a breeze. And you can outsource most of these tasks as well, if you have the budget for it. Or do it yourself. Most people don't realize that if you have something written, it could be on sale on Amazon.com in as little as two days. Heck, some guy got a picture of his foot to be a best seller.
Watch My Book Magically Appear
Watch the video tutorial below where I show you how to write a book fast by using Excel and see the book pages magically appear before your very eyes.
Steps to Write a Book Using Excel
Here's the basic steps I use to start writting my book with a spreadsheet:
- Setup Excel sheet
- Outsource data entry using Upwork
- Create macro to automatically export data to Word
- Run Macro
- Add front and back matter, pictures, etc. to book in Word document
- Edit and create front cover
- Publish on CreateSpace and KDP
- Market and promotion
Feel free to contact me if you'd like to know more or have questions about how the macro works to export the data from Excel into Word.