[tweetmeme]As someone who has written a few books, I may have made a few different choices by answering these questions first.
1. Why do you want to write a book?
I wrote a book basically because my colleagues told me I needed to write a book. Honestly, that is not a great reason. Another reason that is more than likely not going to happen is to become wealthy. Unless you are J.K. Rowling or John Grisham, you are probably going to either break even or lose money on your book. There are, however, a few great reasons to write a book:
- To act as a calling card for your business
- To increase your speaking fees
- To enhance your credibility
- To serve as a platform for building a training, consulting or coaching program
2. What type of book do you want to write?
This answer truly depends on the industry you are in. If you are a romance writer, then you are probably more than likely going to write a romance novel. Writing a great novel takes skill, time and creativity, so consider some types of books which have already been bit hits:
- How-to books
- “Tell it all sister” books (yes…the secrets in the closet do sell)
- A business book that has not already been written (don’t regurgitate another business book unless you have a new spin)
- A recipe book that is very niche oriented (Example: Gourmet vegetarian recipes for dogs)
- A great travel book. If you have visited a country, make great notes of small “hot spots” that you won’t find in Fodors or by travel writers. Write about great hostels, small cozy restaurants tucked away on a hill or a great retail shop with bargain prices.
3. How much time can you realistically dedicate to writing a book?
On the two main books I wrote, I had a great amount of help from an author management company, and I still dedicated 2-3 hours a day to writing and filling in the blanks. If you are a solo writer, you are probably looking at a 40 hour a week job for at least three months. Some prolific writers can spit out a book over a week-end, but this is not the norm. Many people will actually take one year off from their regular job, travel to a remote, isolated location and do nothing but write a book. Look closely at your job, family life, travel plans and future schedule before making this commitment.
4. Are you going to self publish a book or go through an agent and a book publishing company?
In this day and age, going through finding an agent and then a publisher who will actually put their name on your book CAN be a long and painful process. You will get rejection after rejection letter from both agents and publishers who don’t like your book or just don’t have the time to take it on. From my experience, I would highly recommend going the self publishing route, sell a few thousand copies on your own and then go to an agent and/or publisher with your book pitch.
5. How much time can you realistically dedicate to marketing your book?
When people hire me to consult for them or coach them on writing a book, I often hear “Well, I am going through a publisher, so I don’t need to worry about the marketing of this book.” Again, unless you are J.K Rowling, a publisher is NOT going to market your book. They are going to rely on you to market AND sell your book. As a matter of fact, their decision on whether or not to represent you rests in your ability to sell books. Just as in any business, you will want to dedicate at least two hours each day for at least 9-12 months to marketing your book. There are over 100 ways to market a book, and you truly have to use each and every strategy out there to get your book to become known.
6. Are you going to publish hard copy, paperback or a digital book?
Digital readers are becoming more and more popular and they are super slick and easy to use AND to read. The font is clear and the reader doesn’t have to hassle with flipping pages, bending the paperback versions or bookmarking with a sticky note. A hard copy book is impressive, but if you really want to sell a book, you will be a smart author if you look at getting your book published in Kindle or another digital reader format.
7. What are your plans for leveraging your book into other products and services?
Many people never consider this question. Your book may be a great book that will become a series of books, workshops, speaking topics or self study workbooks. Sit down and map out a plan for repurposing your book for other opportunities down the road.
Writing a book can be a challenge, and it is so very rewarding. By sitting down and really mapping out a plan for writing your book, you will be able to leverage opportunities you never considered. Best of luck to you in writing your first (or next) book!
Bea Fields is President of Bea Fields Companies, Inc., offering leadership coaching and training for high growth companies. She is also the founder and facilitator of the highly popular program Become a Blogging Maniac, which transforms novices into skilled bloggers and communicators.