So You Want To Write a Book? Here's Some Advice Before You Do
So, you want to write a book? Great! Welcome to the club! I can count the number of people I've met this year alone that told me they wanted to write a book. I actually have a list...yeah I know it's a bit weird, but hey it's good to have the facts for cases like this. So to date, I think only one of them to my knowledge has actually pursued the possibility and is making it happen. This, of course, is outside of my clients and students of my writing mastermind.
I started thinking back to my state of mind when I decided I was going to write a book and although my journey was a bit different, I can't reconcile why more people just won't go for it. I came to a few conclusions:
- People are more in love with the idea of calling themselves an author and the FEAR of actually becoming the thing they aspire to, seriously kills that vibe.
- They don't make the TIME to write. Writing is patience and requires a consistent daily effort, and most people lack the discipline to do that. I hear it all the time. "I'm too busy!"
- Most people are already easily distracted, and writing a book requires FOCUS they are just not willing to get off the 'gram' for. Balancing creative ideas while tuning out distractions is often a disaster waiting to happen.
- Everyone who ever wanted to write a book thinks they'll make a lot of MONEY and become famous! Not so much, unless you have the next Harry Potter series!
- Every aspiring author misconstrues the idea that it's all about the book when in fact it's all about MARKETING.
When I wrote my book, it wasn't a painstaking process because I did it over 3 1/2 years. Yes, very long-winded and that's okay, this was my journey. Out of the above list, I definitely had #2 and #3 covered. I was consistent, committed, I wrote often - daily (almost), but I got it done. The fear of becoming an author only hit when I came to the junction of whether to self-publish or not. That is when reality set in, it was very real! I was crying out for Jesus to fix it!!
I also did think I was gonna be a rich bitch by now, far away from here, sipping pina coladas in the Mediterranean somewhere, living off my earnings. Instead, I am sitting in your living room writing this. Steups! I seriously thought if I wrote the book, they'd come. They didn't. I'm still waiting...okay well some did come. (huge thanks to those of you who supported and continue to support. I appreciate you!)
Don't take this as me having regrets because I really don't. I just wish someone had schooled me on the fact that marketing rules and having a dedicated audience beforehand is KEY to selling books. In hindsight, I'm happy to have gone through the rigor of 'becoming an author' because I've learned the one thing that matters most and I'm happy to share that with you if you decided to start on your book today.
I was able to prove this by preselling over 250 copies of my book on Publishizer, which netted interest from eleven publishers, and none of which I used because I wanted to stay on the self-publishing path. It also earned me a feature on Medium as a case study for successful preorder campaigns on the platform. I learned a couple things in the process - how to write a good proposal to potential publishers, and what it takes to actually publish a book. The ins and outs of the publishing world can be very tricky. Lastly, it helped me create a system, a sort of roadmap to writing, pricing, publishing and promoting my book using mind maps.
So here's my simple advice to you if you're thinking of writing a book. If you can grasp your head around the five stumbling blocks I outlined above, then half of your battle is over. If you can say an emphatic YES to those five, then here are your next four steps of you're serious about getting in on the author game:
What's your topic?
Are you passionate enough about a topic to write about 20,000 - 30,000 words? Maybe something you've experienced, have extreme knowledge about and know better than anyone else. Knowing what topic you intend to write about makes the next steps simple to implement.
Who are you targeting?
Who will your book appeal to? Are you writing for a specific group of people, a targeted audience? Why will your book appeal to them? Do you share similar experiences, interests, motivations, desires? Most of all what problem will your book solve for them?
What demographic will you write for?
Knowing this helps you figure your tone, voice and most of all write so you can connect with your potential readers. For instance, if you're writing a children's book, you'll want to know the age of your readers so you can write in a tone that they will understand.
What's the age, sex, education level, income level of your ideal reader?
Have you done the research?
Before diving into any project, research is necessary and writing a book is no different. There are crucial areas you need to research that will give you enough information to start doing the outline for your book. I've created a FREE author research workbook to help you with this. Thank me later!
So now that you have some proven steps, do you still want to become an author? Do you still have a hunger to commit to the writing process? It's been my experience that once you've laid the groundwork, the flow of your ideas will spill onto the pages like river water cascading over a cliff. Before you know it, your first draft will be complete! Go, get to it!
If after all of this you still need a little hand-holding, check out my Never Write Alone Book Development Mastermind that begins this September. Click the link below to sign up and spend six weeks along with other aspiring authors hacking out your first manuscript. I look forward to seeing you there!