Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fail to Plan ... Plan to Fail

You’ve probably heard the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I wouldn’t go quite that far when it comes to writing and publishing your book. However, beginning your book project with a plan is one of the best ways to help smooth the process and ensure you reach your goals for your book project.
One thing I share with my clients -- whether they’re writing their first book or their next one -- is the importance of having a plan. Practically every successful author starts out with a plan. This book plan could include a number of points to ease the writing process and produce a quality book that sells. When you begin your book project with the end in mind, and then chart a path to reach your desired result, you can see how every step along the way should point directly towards your goal. 
The content of your book plan is for your eyes only. It is the foundation, the background, and the substance that will lead you into the content of your book. Your plan is your road map. It is the hand you will hold as you walk the path of writing and publishing your book.
The following is a simple plan I suggest you try at the start of your book project. Or, if you’re part way through the process, it’s okay to step back, develop your plan, and move forward with these points in mind:

  • Qualifications: Who are you? What do you know? Why should I care? Answer these three questions to solidify in your own mind how and why you are uniquely qualified to write this book. Describe your background, qualifications, and expertise. Explain the unique perspective you bring to the topic of your book.
  • Why: Determine your purpose for writing this book. It could be that you want to increase your client base, gain more media attention, leave a legacy for your family, support your expertise, advance in your career, or something else. Be firm in your why and let that inspire you to continue when the going gets tough.
  • Readers: For whom are you writing this book? This might not be an easy question to answer. You should thoroughly define the ideal readers for your book. This will help you remain focused on the needs and interests of your readers so you can write a book that will be a page turner. 
  • Knowledge point: Consider what you want readers to think, feel, or do when they finish reading your book. 
  • Goals: How many words, pages, or hours per week will you commit to writing? It takes this kind of goal setting to stay dedicated and to get your book done. 
  • Finish date: It is critical that you set a target finish date for your manuscript. Without a defined finish date you might never get your book finished. At the very least, select a date by which you plan to complete a first draft of your manuscript.
Apply these points to your book plan to help get through the process quicker and easier.

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