A staggering 81% of people think they have a book in their head according to Joseph Epstein. Society would be pretty crazy if that many people became authors. Are you here because you want to write your first book?
Most people who say they have book worthy thoughts will never put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. In fact, most people who wish they could write a book will never even google, How to Write Your First Book.
Now I want to be clear, I haven’t finished writing my first book. But, I have started writing my first book.
I’ve thought about writing a book for probably a decade. There are lots of reasons why I never took any action before this month, but that’s not what this article is about. This article is about what you need to think about before you spend time trying to write your first book.
#1 Who Will Buy Your Book?
You can pretend you don’t care if anyone buys your book, but that would be disingenuous.
Writing a book that nobody buys would be a gut punch. In fact, I’d wager to say the primary reason you haven’t written a single word is because you assume the finished product wouldn’t sell.
Before you write your first book you need to hone in on your audience. Writing without your ideal client in mind will make the writing process much more difficult.
A target audience isn’t broad like women business owners or fathers. Get specific about who you’re talking to so you can focus your writing to that person during lulls in inspiration.
You will feel so much more motivated to write if you can visualize your book selling to thousands of thankful readers. Writing a best seller is just as hard as writing a book that stays on your hard drive un-published. But, obviously it’s preferable if your first book becomes a best seller.
#2 What is the Point of Your Book?
Don’t get me wrong, the point of the book can just be to entertain the reader. But, a book is a big undertaking, so decide if a book is the right medium to get your point across.
Your story or idea or advice might be more suitable to be published in a magazine or newspaper. Alternatively your message might be effective as a series of social media posts or as a long term blog project. Writing a book is glamorized, but not all ideas need to become a book.
Becoming a Profitable Author
The point of your book can extend beyond what is between the front and back covers.
You probably notice that successful authors typically have other means of income in addition to their books. Writing books builds credibility and expands your reach, but the actual book sales aren’t likely to make you rich.
The point of your book can be to catapult yourself into being a paid speaker or to sell merchandise that appeals to your readers. You can use the book to attract more clients to your coaching, membership, or sales sphere.
#3 How Will You Market Your Book?
To self-publish or to query, that is the question. Have you ever even heard the term query as it relates to publishing a book? Yea, I hadn’t either.
Throughout your writing process you should keep track of all your ideas about how to actually sell your book. If you mention a brand or location in your book, jot that down for future reference. A book that speaks highly of anything can easily approach said entity to ask for promotion.
Anticipate influencers, celebrities, and other authors who would be willing to promote your finished product to their audiences. Start building a social media following with behind the scenes access to your writing process, snippets of ideas, and creating a future reader community.
Self-Publishing Your Book
The barriers to self-publish a book are very low. You can create a cover, format your text, and upload a book to a drop shipping company within an afternoon.
Publishing the book is not the hard part. Selling the book is the hard part. As a self-published author you will need a robust sales plan that you create from scratch.
A self-published book can absolutely accomplish whatever goals you set out for the book to reach. It’s just all on you to get the word out about your book, your time, your money, your plan.
Getting a Book Publisher
A regular person can’t just go and get a book publisher. First, you need a literary agent. To get a literary agent you need to query your book to potential agents who specialize in your genre. I’ll detail my query journey when I get to it.
Getting your book accepted by an agent doesn’t guarantee they can find a publisher, but it’s the only way to give yourself a shot at being represented. Additionally, getting a publisher isn’t a magic wand to automatic sales. You will still have to do a lot of leg work yourself to get the best results.
There are huge benefits of being backed by a publisher though. Publishers have connections and credibility baked into the traditional publishing world. Any media outlet or marketing channel will automatically give your book more consideration to be featured as a represented author.
Per book sold you will earn less money. On the flip side, you are likely to sell more books. In the best case scenario the additional book sales offset any shortfall in per book income.
#4 Why Are You the Right Person to Write This Book?
My least favorite word in business is passion. Just because you are passionate about something does not mean you should pursue it as a business or in this case book venture.
You can be passionate about the Mariners or tacos or the Backstreet Boys without writing a book about it. Somebody might have a very interesting story to write about the Backstreet Boys that I would love to read, but I don’t have the insight or connections to be the one to write that book.
There are lots of things you can be good at or knowledgeable about in theory, while not being the right person to write a book about it. In this era we have so many gurus giving advice about running a business when they themselves have never run one. There are relationship experts who have disastrous marriages and health buffs who do not appear very healthy.
Write the book you should be writing, not the book someone else should be writing.
Write a Book That Sells
Know your end goal before you write a single word. Most people never write their first book despite the notion that they believe they have a book worthy idea.
You came here because you want to write your first book, that’s a step further then the vast majority of would be authors. Don’t mistake of writing the book you want without consideration to the steps after the book is written.
Writing a best selling book is hard. Make your best selling author game plan before you write a single word. When the writing process gets hard you’ll have your plan to guide you.
Best of luck on your writing journey! Find me on Instagram @NomadVeronica and tell me about the book you’re working on.