Joanna Penn reports with a guest post by Nina Amir:
"[M]ost writers, when struck by a good idea and the desire to write, simply begin writing. However, an even better reason exists to take a bit of time before you beginning writing to evaluate your idea—at least if you want your book to be successful...If you simply want to write the book of your heart and you don’t care how many copies you sell, great. Go for it. If you want to write a successful book, meaning one that sells to lots of readers or to a traditional publisher and to lots of readers, however, it behooves you to take the time to consider if your idea is a good one by industry standards. To do this, I suggest you discover nine things about your book idea...Before beginning to write your nonfiction book, hone your topic and its angle. Figure out why someone would want to read your book rather than someone else’s book on the same topic. Write a pitch or elevator speech, a short statement that describes the essence of your book, and follow it with some bulleted points—the added value readers will take away from its pages. Think of this exercise like writing back cover copy...Make sure you know your average reader—that one person you are writing for—as well as the size of your book’s market. Who wants to read your book, and where do you find them? How many of these people exist in the world? Are there enough of them to justify writing your book?...Make sure the book you plan on adding to the mix is not only unique compared to the other books in your niche or category but also necessary before you add one more title to the staggering number of books in print. Take a good hard look at what other authors have already written and published...Sometimes writers think they have enough material for a book when really they only have enough for an article, or a couple of articles. Or they think they know what content they are going to include in the book, but when they finish the first draft, they discover they produced a manuscript that is scattered, rambl[es], misses the point, or leaves out essential information. Avoid these problems by mapping out your content first. Actually do a mind mapping exercise, which entails brainstorming while creating a large diagram of all your possible content and then organizing all these ideas into a table of contents or an outline...Bring your book to life with a short synopsis for each chapter...[Y]ou will need to promote your book. And promotion does not begin after the book lands in your hands as a finished product. It begins the moment that light bulb goes off in your head. Spend some time considering all the options you have to build awareness for yourself and your book as you begin the writing process as well as after you launch the book...Decide if you are the expert on your topic, how you will become the expert, or if you might need to bring in other experts...[D]oes writing this book fulfill a sense of mission for you? If so, you might want to consider how to get that message across in the book and in your promotional efforts. Plus, in this step, it’s important to ask yourself if you have what’s called an 'author’s platform.' Do you have a fan base or a large, loyal following of people who know you in relationship to the topic about which you plan to write? If not, you need to consider how you will begin building that built-in readership for your book...[I]t’s a good idea to spend a moment brainstorming other 'spin-off' books on your topic. This is especially important if you want to create a business around your book or attract a traditional publisher. As an expert author, if you have more books, you can create more products and services to sell to readers. And publishers like to take on multiple-book authors...[I]f you decided your book is marketable and has a chance of succeeding, you can begin writing your book—with one caveat. You need to know what publishing route you plan to take. If you plan on self-publishing, you can go ahead and write the whole book. If you plan on approaching traditional publishers, you only need to write 25-30 pages, or about two chapters, but you also need to write a book proposal, which includes all the information you just compiled. You then will submit the proposal to agents and publishers[.]"
Writing and editing can be pretty rigorous processes if you want to do them well, but that's what this page is here for. Check out the latest tips here.