Writing a book is a long process and a labor of love for the author. The journey begins with your idea for a book and continues as you write the initial manuscript. That labor of love continues as you work through the editing, publishing, and publicity processes of the journey.
You may already have a manuscript you want to get into the hands of a publisher. Or, perhaps you just have an idea for a book. Either way, there are at least ten essential things to keep in mind during your writing endeavors. Today, we'll look at the first five of these ten essentials.
1. Passion – Be passionate about your book's topic and not just about the idea of writing a book. There is a difference! Passion for your subject can be felt, touched, and communicated to your reader. The audience feels it. This work that you will spend hours preparing to unveil to the world needs to come from your soul, flow through your fingers, and power the keyboard. If you choose to dictate your book (more on that later), it should come through your voice.
Think of it as being an artist who paints a sunset in Maui. Even though every sunset is different with various colors, tints, and hues, it’s still a sunset. Your passion should be the same. The topic or theme remains consistent, but you are continually reworking it and pursuing different ways to communicate it to your audience. It’s always a pursuit ‒ never an arrival.
2. Be a Story Teller – People remember stories and relate them to their friends, family, and co-workers. As they do so, they become evangelists for you and the passion in your book. As a writer, don’t just convey information. Bring your story to life. If you hire a ghostwriter, make sure they have that same passion for telling your story. They must share your story with the same zeal you have for it.
3. Pick your presentation mode ‒ Stories are the “memorable-communications” air we breathe. People want to and long to be captivated by a story. They want something that relates to them or something they can relate to. While there is a set storytelling formula, so to speak, you must decide how to communicate your story.
Some communicators are verbal and love the additional nuances available with a spoken story. In contrast, others communicate their passion best through visual presentation and the “tactile feel” of a written message in print.
In the same way, some readers prefer print-on-paper books. Others prefer e-books (such as Kindle). Many people like to (or can only find time to) listen to audiobooks during long commutes.
Your task is to decide what story you are passionate about communicating and then choose how you will tell that story. Then, write your book, or your audio-script!
Your goal is for the readers to not only read the book themselves but to tell others about it and – even better – buy extra copies of your book for their friends and loved ones.
4. Be Reader Conscious – As you write every sentence, think about – and even imagine – your audience's reaction. Will they be moved? Will your story invoke passion or fear when it should? Will readers laugh or cry at the appropriate moments? Imagine who you are speaking to. What age are they, and where are they in life? As you narrow down the audience, this is who you are writing for. You may think that the wider the audience is, the more books you will sell. But that is a misnomer because chances are you won’t pick up a group of fans that will evangelize about your book for you. Instead, focus on your audience, and you’ll create a fan base that will share your passion and spread the word about your book.
5. Answer the Question “What is the Market Need” – A book that sells is a book that fulfills a need in its readers' lives. Once you know what you want to write about, you need to determine if there is a market for it. Honestly, this is where many authors fail, right at the beginning of the process. Maybe you already know there is a market because you are an up and coming speaker, business leader, or pastor who already has a growing audience. On the other hand, perhaps your book idea is about an obscure subject with a limited market. Either way, you must determine the need for your book. How?
Simply start with Google and then Social Media. How many searches do you find on your specific subject? How many pages on Facebook or Twitter? What kind of fan base is there and how many followers? Be careful to not be too broad in your search parameters. Finally, how many other books have similar subject matter? Buy the top three and read them for yourself. This will help in your own uniqueness or brand. Ask yourself, “What does your market need from you and your book? What will change their behavior, or what pain point are you hitting in your book?
The book writing journey is an exciting one, which is rewarding in many different ways. Examining your motives, passion, identifying your audience, and doing market research on your topic are essential first steps along the way. Next time, we’ll examine the remaining five steps you should know when writing your book.
If you’d like to discuss your book project, or simply ask a question please reach out to me!