It seems like everybody has an idea for a book. Of course I’m all for it! So when people consult with me about their book idea I start off with a series of questions. By the end of my consultation some people realize that they need to flush their idea out a bit more. Writing is serious business in my world and I believe that if you pour your heart and soul into it then it needs to have a purpose. Which leads to the first thing you should do before writing your book.
ASK – WHY AM I WRITING THIS?
You should ask yourself this. There has been a steady trend of non-fiction releases and the reasoning makes sense. Publishing a non-fiction book can establish you as an expert in something or open doors for business partnerships. Maybe that’s your goal! Then there are the folks who write because they love to. These people don’t care about making money from book sales, they don’t aspire to inspire. They just write because it’s who they are. Everything surrounding your book (writing style, marketing strategy,
DECIDE – WHAT IS YOUR GENRE?
Tell a group of avid readers that you wrote a “fiction book” and they’re going to give you the expectant stare. The one that says “Okay. And?” There are genres for books just like for music and yours will have a better chance at succeeding if it fits into one. Here’s a very short list of things you’ll need to do…
- Know and understand your audience
- Have a marketing strategy to reach said audience
- Choose an editor and possibly a publishing house that’s knowledgeable about books like yours
- Optional: learn what the average sales are for books like yours
These things will be based around the genre of your book. Furthermore, if you feel that your book is so out of this world that it doesn’t fit into a genre…a publishing house won’t take you seriously. If you want to be respected as a writer then the necessity of choosing a genre isn’t up for debate.
PINPOINT – WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE?
Ah yes, taking it back to the audience. As much as you might enjoy writing I’m going to assume that you’re not in it just for yourself. In other words, you actually want people to read your work. Decide early on who these folks are because it’ll streamline a lot of things down the line for you. Here’s an example.
Say I’m writing a book about a group of young vampires and their quest to become human and it’s targeted to teenagers and young adults. With an audience in that age range I may want to incorporate slang and trends. I can also narrow down my marketing efforts to certain locations, events and businesses based on the things that my audience is into. I’ll know how to make them connect with me and/or my book. I’ll be able to come up with cover art that speaks to them.
See? Don’t be discouraged about having to define your audience. Whatever you’re writing about, I’m confident that there’s a group of specific people who’ll be interested in reading it. Don’t get bogged down by trying to push your literary gold on people who won’t appreciate it.
I’ll gladly write and create until my hands cramp simply because I enjoy it. Still, writing can be a source of income and exposure when you mix some logic into the creative element. And isn’t that the dream anyway? To get paid for something that you enjoy doing?
Have you chosen an audience, genre and purpose for your book yet? I’d love to read about it in the comments!