Do You Have a Nonfiction Book in You?

Laura Carroll, editorial services

Thinking of writing a nonfiction book? I recently ran across some tips by Nina Amir, an “Inspiration-to-Creation Coach” that are well worth thinking about. Here are seven with a bit of my twist and take.

1. What Exactly will your book be about and why would someone want to read (Buy) it

Even before you start writing, think about and come up with how to tell people in 50 words or less and in 30 seconds or less what your book is about. In this short pitch, be clear on the angle, and how your book is different than others on the same topic, and why it will “make someone carry it to the register” (or click buy now online)?

2. Know the book’s audience

What is the book’s market and its target audience? As Ms. Amir says, “Make sure you know your average reader—that one person you are writing for—as well as the size of your book’s market.”

3. How is your book unique and necessary

She is so right on with this: “Take a good hard look at what other authors have already written and published.” It has to be different enough than others out there on the same or similar topics.  If there are no books have been written on the subject, it is not necessarily a good sign. You need to be convinced there is a need and market for your book.

4. Do you have enough content to fill a book

If you think you have enough content, look at all you have again. Don’t assume you do. All too often writers have not done as much research as they need to have done before sitting down to actually outline the book and begin writing. Research the heck out of your topic.  In this process very often the book organization will present itself.

5. Develop a clear chapter by chapter synopsis of your book

Amir is right that a chapter by chapter synopsis is a good idea before you even start writing,  and it will help you see that your book is a “viable book.” I would also say that once you are in the process of writing it, look back at this synopsis and change it, as the book unfolds and evolves. It is a good way to be able to step back from the material at a given stage of the book’s development.

6. Why are you the best person to write this book

With nonfiction either you have to become very knowledgeable of your topic and effectively source it, or bring in the experts who are.  Also, if your book is part of an overall goal you have, such as contributing to social, humanitarian etc., causes, this can be why “you” are the one to write and promote the book, and its larger aim.

7. How will you ensure you and your book will succeed

As soon as you know the topic, the angle, your target audience, start developing your marketing plan. In addition to dedicated time to writing, structure into your day or week dedicated time to learn traditional and indie publishing routes, traditional and digital marketing strategies, and develop your marketing plan.

All of these things are very important, but what is most important if you think you have a book in you? Commit to the time it will take to research and write it. Far too many people who want to write a book end up spending more time on the “planning” and not getting to the real work….which is the writing.

Too many people also edit too much along the way – when you commit to the writing, do just that. Don’t try to wear the writer’s and editor’s hat at once. In fact, try not to wear the editor’s hat at all. One thing writers and editors know, is that when it we are doing the writing, we are not the best editors of our work – fresh, professional eyes are! But that’s another topic.

In short, be clear what your book is about, its vision, and most of all – get writing!

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