Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Begin With the End in Mind

You’ve probably heard this saying before: “Begin with the end in mind.” It’s from Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s a concept that can easily be applied to writing and publishing a book. Everything you do before and during the writing process should be with the aim of fulfilling your end goals of publishing a book. 

Many authors do all their writing first and think that they can wait to work on plans and goals later, when the book is ready to be released. But in doing that, they’re starting out behind. 

Here are five questions to consider before writing and publishing your book.  

1. Why are you writing the book? 
Here are some common reasons to write a book: for fun; to build your business; to enhance your credibility; because you’re an expert in a certain field; or to leave a legacy. If making money is your only goal, you risk being disappointed. Half of all published titles sell less than 250 copies a year. As you write, be sure that your book will fulfill your “why.”  

2. What type of book are you writing? 
Before starting to write, spend some time clearly defining your book. What is your vision or concept for the book? What style will it be written in? How will it be different from, or similar to, other books? Stay focused on your answers to these questions while writing. You should also research similar books to get an idea of the physical look and price, as well as what stores or websites sell these books.  

3. Why would someone read your book? 
Do you promise new information readers can’t get elsewhere? Will you craft a fictional story with a plot readers won’t be able to stop thinking about? Will you teach something people never thought they could do? As you write your book, refer to that “promise” or “hook” and be sure your manuscript delivers.  

4. Who are your ideal readers? 
This is a crucial question to answer before you type the first sentence of your book. Every decision you make from writing to design to the physical attributes of the book to how it will be promoted should be aimed at your readers. For example, if you envision your book being read by women ages 60+ you may not want to use slang like ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing). Writing a book for children who are just learning to read? You’ll want text that is easy to pronounce and to read aloud. You may want to use a larger size font and limit how much text appears on each page.  

5. How can your book be marketed to your readers?
Before writing, consider how you will promote your book to potential readers and get them to buy it. The genre of your book, the audience you want to target, and the “hook” that will make people want to read the book are all factors in what marketing and promotional methods you choose. Writing a book about gardening? Before you start writing, identify area garden clubs. Talk to them about what they might be interested in learning from your book. Offer to send them a galley for their feedback. The key is to start building anticipation before the book is out. Look for landscaping centers that might be willing to sell your book and host a book signing. Call the gardening show host on your local radio station and position yourself as a local expert who has a book coming out soon. Send the host a copy to review. Start local and then build to national efforts. 

The possibilities are endless!  

Angela DeCaires is the Marketing & Communications Manager for BookLogix Publishing Services. She oversees Corporate Communications for BookLogix, and also assists BookLogix’s authors in the publishing process. Angela’s background includes experience in public relations, writing, broadcasting and journalism, having held positions in public relations and working for a number of years as a news writer/TV news producer. 

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