Sunday, August 23, 2015

5 Ways to Research Your Next Book Fast

I started a new book yesterday and the research was dragging on and on for hours. It is not because I didn’t enjoy the subject I am writing about, but because I love it and I found myself reading stuff that wasn’t related to the focus of my book. Essentially, I was wasting valuable writing time. As soon as I realized the problem, I cut out the extra reading and finished off the rest of the outline. Here are some other tricks that I use to cut down on research time.

1. Speed Reading

Speed reading comes naturally to me and I have problems trying to teach others how I do it. The good news is that there are a number of great books on how to speed read. Learn how to speed read because it is a blessing when you are doing research and you can train yourself to glance through text and pick out key words relevant to what you are searching for.

2. Prepare Beforehand

Another trick I use when researching is to gather all my research material beforehand. For the current book I am working on, I had 6 books on my shelf and I bought a seventh for my research. They are currently on the floor beside me because I finished going through them. If you need to research online, do keyword searches on the page or cut and paste the text into Word and keyword search through it that way. This works especially well with copyright expired ebooks that can be found on The Online Books Page.

3. Know Your Keywords

This brings me to knowing your keywords before you dive into the books or start your internet search. Writing down your keywords, you can search through a book’s index to see if it has anything relevant to your subject and it allows you to quickly search online and through online texts.

4. Hire a Researcher

Oh yes you can! You can hire someone to help you out with your research. For example, let’s pretend you have a chapter on The History of Whiskey. Hire someone on to research the topic for 2 hrs and provide you with notes. This is a great way to decrease your research time, especially when you have a chapter about something that does not interest you and you find yourself stalling to complete it.

5. Cut and Paste

Use cut and paste when doing your research instead of trying to write everything in your own words. My personal rule for myself is that anything written in the research outline has to be completely re-written to avoid any plagiarism issues. If I take the time to describe something in my own words, I put an asterisk by the sentence or paragraph so that I know the words are my own.

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