I've been writing books and short stories since I was a young child. I can't not write. And when I hear something, sometimes it jogs something in me, and an idea is spawned so I keep a small notebook in my purse and jot down ideas or book/article titles. Then when I have time I can run with that. What I do write seriously is pretty diverse, from a book on health and nutrition called Body Beautiful, Weight Loss & Rejuvenation, Surviving Grid Down, to Out of the Fast lane, Into the Flow (getting in touch with your soul's purpose). For years now I've been working on my family history of the civil war, which is about the philosophy of how not having war works best, as all war really accomplishes is a lot of blood spilled, lives and businesses ruined and sets us back for generations. This one has a lot of emphasis on how people survived, foraged for food and medicine and relied on nature and each other when they had nothing else. It was civilization stripped down to bare bones survival skills. Hope to have that one out by next spring, and have done several rewrites. Will be my best work yet, but required a tremendous amount of research to make sure it was historically accurate and all the herbs I wanted to include for healing were actually written into the contents of the book, plus a chart at the end. For cover pictures I get a real picture somewhere, usually on my digital camera, and edit it to make it more or less hazy, higher pixels, etc., and just download. This is where the computer comes in handy, although I dislike most high tech. It is much easier to write on the computer and edit as I go rather than laboriously take hand written notes. I usually do the outline and a synopsis before the actual meat of the story. In other words, work out the focus, the timelines, the plot, before filling in all the gaps. I can type (140 WPM when I was younger), than I can write.
One thing I've learned is that to make it highly desirable and readable for the masses, is to make it passionate, about life, living and make them want to turn the page to get to the next part. The kind of book you can't put down because you just have to know what comes next. If you write about those things you love, it will come through into the writing/reading of it. The first chapter should be something in the middle of an exciting action, and movement. Don't start at the beginning, it will be boring. A crisis played out, a looming danger, something that will hook the reader and get them into a hurried quick read and then into flipping the pages to get to the next exciting part. Always end on a finale that wraps up the story, solves the riddle or gives closure and completeness. This of course, is for fiction or historical event books or articles. A how-to book is a bird of another feather, of course, and same rules don't apply. Do make your outline, of course, and follow through so you don't leave out any important parts. Write what you know about, too much research required otherwise and it can bog you down too much. Although some research may be required anyway.
So what are you waiting for? Get to writing!