If you’re wondering how to write a book, there are other questions you want to ask yourself before you get started, and here’s why.
Various studies over the years have shown that 80-83% of Americans want to write a book. Of those who do, it is a tough market. The author’s dream is often shattered because of various factors I will share with you shortly.
This does not need to discourage you, because you still see bestsellers and other books that do their job well. What makes for a successful book? I’ve studied thousands of books, both successful and not successful, and I’ve trained authors for several years. Because of all that, I have a bunch of insights I will share with you shortly.
First, though, I need to give you a reality check. You want to go into any endeavor with eyes wide open. So here we go.
The Bad News
Whether you want to write fiction or nonfiction (or both), there is plenty of “bad news.” I am not one to share gloom and doom, but you really do need to know about these factors. And do not worry; I’ll show you how to overcome them before this article is complete.
– Huge royalty advances are a thing of the past. Back in the “glory days,” an author might be “wined and dined” on a whirlwind book tour after receiving a 6- or 7- figure advance. Those days are gone. Oh sure, sometimes you hear about someone getting a big advance, but it is rare and mostly reserved for politics, celebrities and scandal.
– Over 1.2 million books come out each year. So getting noticed is no small feat. Too many authors imagine the world will discover them and make them famous. We live in an “Attention Economy.
“Getting people’s attention is perhaps the hardest thing an author can do … unless you have certain factors in place.
– An author MUST have a “platform” – which means a following. I have met plenty of authors who have no presence on-or-offline except the listing for their book with the self-publisher and maybe Amazon. And they wonder why nobody buys the book.
– Having a book available is no guarantee of sales. Too many people assume that they will easily sell a lot of their books just because their self-publisher gives them a page on a website. Not so. 98% of books fail to sell even 100 copies.
– If you’re going to write a book, you either have to know marketing or hire it done. Books do not sell themselves. Discoveries happen, but hope is not a marketing strategy.
Let me share a story with you to help you understand how all this works ..
You are about to actually meet a woman I’ll call Charlie. What I am about to share is a tale of woe that need not have such a dismal ending. Had this woman come to me early on, I could have helped her save her dream and spread her message.
I vividly remember Charlie. She felt a calling to share a highly personal story not just with those close to her, but also with strangers, in a book. I gave her a lot of credit for being willing to share the story of how her toddler died in an accident on the day she found she was pregnant. She had found power in her pain.
At the event, Charlie always had a small group of people around her simply because of the power of her presence. When she spoke, people listened. She had charisma and magnetism. I imagined her appearing on National TV and speaking to a large audience.
When I first met her, she was just beginning to write, and she had given no thought to anything else beyond her book.
She had unfortunately given no thought to how this book would blossom into a business or into a message that she could turn into home study courses, workshops, coaching, keynote spikes, etc. Any author has plenty of options with your book, but you have to plan strategically. You have to know what’s next for the reader after your book.
I saw Charlie at another seminar, at which time she said her book was out. I looked up her name on Google, and do you know what? There was one listing of the book on her self-publisher’s page and one on a site where she had posted the eBook to sell. That’s it.
I asked her what else she had enclosed the book and she stared blankly at me. Then I asked how book sales were going. I could feel the energy fly out of her like when you blow up a balloon and let it go.
Oh, if only she had gotten coaching! Someone with a message so powerful should not be left with a bunch of boxes of books in her basement and a broken dream. Her story could have had a much happier ending … an end that is in truth a beginning of a whole new life as a messenger author.
Where did Charlie go wrong?
One huge element she was missing was how the book fit into her vision for her life and business. She told me she wanted to speak and do workshops, but I think she expected the book to do all the heavy lifting for her, as if printing a book would magically bring opportunities to her.
You may be thinking that wanting to speak was her vision. That’s like looking at the world through cataracts. You can see some light, but everything’s cloudy. It’s not a clear enough vision. She had not established any kind of business structure or steps for how she would have gotten the speaking engagements as an unknown author with no website. She also had no audience, no online presence, no media plan, and no idea how to get noticed. It’s like a drop of water trying to get someone’s attention during a tsunami.
Yes, being an author does elevate you to Instant VIP status, but you still have to work it. I’m not even talking about the marketing right now. Before you even ask yourself how to write a book, let alone how to market one, make sure you have something more in place than just the book and a wish.
You want to know who should read your book and why. You need to know where to find those perfect customers, and you certainly need to be sure you have something else for them besides a book and the hope someone will hire you to speak.
Remember, most books are under $ 20; so if all you have is a book, you’re chasing $ 20s.
Connecting with your vision
This is not a “woo-woo” or “airy fairy” topic. I’m not going to start talking about anything weird. Simply put, you want to know why you’re writing your book and what comes next.
– Are you certain anyone wants to read what you want to write?
– How do you KNOW people want what you are writing?
– What else do they want and need?
– How and where will your readers find you?
– What are your plans for AFTER the book? (products, services, courses, etc.)
– Do you want to create a legacy business that goes to your heirs?
Establish your vision for how that book you are going to write fits into your life and you can be sure everything else that goes with the book fits together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
1.First, answer the above questions for yourself. Think beyond the book.
2.use a system for how to write a book that makes sense to you. Make sure it shows you how to develop a solid business with the book as one door through which your ideal readers enter your world.
3.Set yourself a deadline for finishing your book.
4.Follow the system you choose to the letter. Do not decide you know better. Do not omit parts. Do not do things out of sequence. Do not rush.
You will be on your way not only to having your book in print, but also to ensuring you will not be chasing $ 20 bills.