5 Questions for Book Authors

Do you itch to share your expertise and experience in a book? Have you already begun jotting notes for the project?

Before you take the next steps, consider these five questions.

Question 1: Who is your reader?

If you answered “everyone” to this question, think again. Even the most generic, general, and comprehensive text – like a dictionary or great religious text – will not be purchased by every individual living on the planet. Think like a marketer, and pin down the demographics of your perfect customer. With this information, you can begin to determine the best marketing channels for reaching those individuals.

Question 2: What motivates your reader?

What will motivate your reader to pick up your book out of the many available? Will it help improve their health, love life, or finances? Or will it provide welcome escape? What will “hook” your reader? Start to think about how your book will meet readers’ needs.

Question 3: What are your goals and priorities for this book?

Are you writing for the pleasure of it, or to gain professional credibility? Are you willing to spend time launching a marketing “platform” and connecting with readers?

Your goals and priorities affect whether you will want a literary agent and commercial publisher for the project or pursue self-publishing. You might also consider whether or not to seek a co-author, collaborator, or ghostwriter.

Question 4: Do you really love this topic?

The average non-fiction book runs 45,000 to 70,000 words in length. E-books are often shorter, at about 8,000 to 15,000 words.

Naturally, the longer the word count and the more technical or research-heavy the topic, the more time and resources needed to complete the manuscript. Ideally, you’re passionate about the topic and convinced that this book project will further your goals. Authoring a book can be exhilarating and exhausting. Think of it like a marriage: commitment gives it the best shot at success.

Question 5: What support will you need to produce a top-notch book manuscript?

You want to create a terrific, polished book, right? Then you need unbiased readers who will give you constructive feedback, section by section, so you can make effective revisions.

Many authors turn to a writers’ critique group, insightful friends and relatives, or accommodating colleagues for this input. Some hire a professional editor who can review the manuscript for structural issues, provide substantive input, identify problems with clarity and transitions, and proofread and copyedit line-by-line.

Commercial publishers will expect to purchase a professional quality manuscript; once they have made a financial commitment to a title, they provide varying levels of editing support. Busy professionals who lack the time or writing proficiency to prepare their own book will typically share or outsource manuscript development tasks to a professional writer or ghostwriter.

(c) 2016 Wendy Lyons Sunshine. All rights reserved.