Monday, 25 July 2011

Step 1: Writing your Book

What you should and shouldn't include for different target markets. 


Writing for Pleasure (The Dream Book) 
The first and perhaps one of the most important stages of book publishing is writing your book. Without this stage there would be no product to sell. If you have always wanted to write a book then there is no question about it. This will be the most exciting stage for you, as it is when the foundations for your future book will be laid.

If you plan to write your book yourself, the most important thing to do is just that... plan. They say the most successful people in this world begin each day by writing a list, so at the end of the day they can see how much they have achieved by what is checked off on their list. The same is true about writing a book. All successful books are planned, few unplanned books are successful.

But how do I plan my book? 
It is really quite easy. You must break your book down into little chunks and only look at one chunk at a time. To sit down with the goal to write a whole book is a massive task, but to sit down with a goal of writing, say, a page a day when you already know your subject matter and have already planned out what you are going to write is comparatively quite easy. You will be surprised how little time it actually takes you to write a page of a book once it is planned. Of course, after it is written it still has to be edited, illustrated, designed etc. but I will come to that in later chapters. The point to focus on here is that writing a book is not necessarily difficult, time consuming or out of reach, so long as the book is well planned.

To plan a book properly you need to ask yourself a series of questions before you even begin writing, such as:


  • What is the subject matter for my book? 
  • What is the title? 
  • What is the subtitle? 
  • What are the chapter topics? 
  • What are their titles? 
  • What are their subtitles? 


It may sound simple, but a thorough checklist will turn a seemingly impossible task into a relatively easy one. Remember, no one ever climbed a mountain by trying to make it in one large leap and hoping they would land on the top, but by taking small steps over a period of time many people have reached the heights of Mt. Everest.

For more details on the exact questions you need to ask yourself, please refer to the checklist below.

MY BOOK WRITING CHECKLIST - PART A 


1. What is the subject matter of my book?
2. What are the 3 best titles I can come up with?
3. What are the 3 best subtitles i can come up with?

NOTE: I advise doing market research on each, depending on what your aim is ie. ask people which subject or title they would be more likely to buy/pick off the shelf.

MY BOOK WRITING CHECKLIST - PART B 


4. What are the 8-12 specific areas I want to cover in my book? (eg. chapter topics)
5. What is the title for each chapter?
6. What is the subtitle for each chapter?

NOTE: I advise that you also do market research on each chapter's topic to ensure that the target market for your book (if your plan is to sell or gain credibility from it) is big enough before you begin writing ie. conduct a survey to see what topics your target market would like to see covered in your book and make sure you include them (see Chapter2 for more details).

MY BOOK WRITING CHECKLIST - PART C


7. Will your book have a dedication? Are you going to dedicate this book to someone and if so who? It is also important at this stage to think about why you are dedicating the book to them.


8. Does your book need a disclaimer of any sort? Are you giving any kind of advice that could be misinterpreted in any way? If so, a disclaimer may be an essential part of your book.


9. Do you want an introduction or do you plan to launch right into the content of your book? Depending on your genre, an introduction may or may not be appropriate, so think about what feels right for you.


10. Do you want a conclusion or do you plan to end with the final chapter of your book? Depending on your genre, a conclusion may or may not be appropriate, so think about what feels right for you.


11. Do you want a thank-you page to credit anyone who has contributed to your book?


12. Do you want an'about the author'page? This is very effective because if someone identifies with the subject matter of a book, they generally want to know more about the author so they can identify with them too.


13. Is your book going to be part of a series? If so, what is the series'title and how many books do you plan to include in the series? It is important to plan this first, as nothing sells better than a series. You want to be promoting your future books in the back of your first, even if they haven't been written yet.

Believe it or not, after you have done this, part of your book is already written... you have just completed your table of contents. Once you have your table of contents, use it as a roadmap to write the rest of your book. Count your chapters and allocate a night or two, or any free time you have on the weekend, to writing each one. If you stick to the time frame you allocated to your table of contents you will be surprised how quickly your book will seemingly write itself.

Writing for Profit (The Passive Income Book) 
This is a very popular reason for writing these days. Whether it is your dream to write a book or gain credibility from it, almost everyone would like to make a profit from what they do. And rightly so too. If you put a lot of hard work, sweat and tears into producing your masterpiece, why shouldn't you be financially rewarded for sharing that with others? The question really comes down to how saleable what you are sharing with others actually is, and therefore how much potential profit you could draw from your book sales.

The first thing to consider when writing a saleable book is your target market: 
  • Who are they? 
  • What are they looking for? 
  • What do they want? 
  • What genre of book do they like to read? 
  • What form of book do they like to read? etc.


MY TARGET MARKET CHECKLIST 

1. Who is my target market/niche? (try to paint a picture here eg. sex, age, interests etc.)

2. What are they looking for? (identify this generally, as well as in relation to your product)

3. What pains them? (find out here specifically what they are currently struggling with)

4. What problems can I solve for them? (list here how your book will solve their problem)

5. How is the best way to get my message to them? (think about which genre, publishing method, advertising medium & distribution method would be most applicable for your target market)

For example: If your book was on how to purchase safe toys for your children, your target market/niche would be parents with young children. They would obviously be looking for toys that were safe physically, emotionally, physiologically, spiritually etc. What pains these parents may be the negative influence the current toys available on the market are having on their children, and your book could solve this for them by showing them where and how to shop for better alternatives. The best way to get your message across to them would be by writing in the second person so you are talking to them and they feel part of your story. You would probably opt for the traditional physical book for if they are busy looking after children they may not spend a lot of time in front of the computer or on the road. The best way to advertise to this market may be via the local pre-schools or playgroups. I think you get the idea. 

What is very popular these days is information books. While they are also good for gaining credibility, not all information books will gain credibility but just about all information books will sell. You would be surprised how happy someone is to pay for a bunch of information which has been collated together to save them research time to find the same information themselves. In other words while a book on a specific subject matter, targeting a niche market (yes, the money is in the niche) can sell well, what sells even better is a book still with information on a niche, but from more than one author - in other words collaborations or compilations.

The best news is, it is a lot less work to interview a series of people to create a book than to write all the content yourself, and if you already have your topics laid out when you wrote your table of contents then all you need to find is someone qualified in each area to be interviewed. You would be surprised how many people are willing to give up their time for free to be included in your book in exchange for free publicity for it. if you are writing a 'profit book' and you know someone who is writing a 'publicity book' maybe you can offer them an exchange of value. They allow you to interview them in return for the free publicity you will give them in your book to help promote and increase sales of theirs. Working together even in a competitive market such as publishing works wonders, as while the market is competitive, the resources are endless because each customer wants the same thing - the newest, most up to date information on the market.

Just make sure you separate the two books' launch dates to ensure the best results for each of you. This way, instead of trying to decide which book to buy, the consumer will end up buying both, as the two books not only promote each other but are both new at different times. So they will buy the first when it is the newest, most up to date book on the market, and then the second for the same reason, as when it comes along it then becomes the newest, most up to date book on the market.

The best thing about this kind of book is not only do the contributors offer their time for free (well, some celebrities will charge, but then if you have a celebrity's name on the front of your book your book sales will go through the roof anyway to counter for that) but you are actually getting paid to distribute their knowledge and experience and didn't need to spend time getting your own.

Writing for Publicity (The Credibility Book) 
This is the easiest kind of book to write. Why ? . . . because you don't write it. This is not always the case as a lot of people want to write the book which will gain them credibility (generally because it is a dream as well, or because they want to make money from it and they feel that no one knows their subject matter as well as they do). While this is true if either a dream or making money is one of your combined aims for your book, then follow the steps listed above. If, however, your only aim in writing your book is to achieve publicity in order to gain credibility, the chances are you are probably already so busy doing whatever it is you are an expert at that you don't have time to write a book. If this is the case, then don't.

Why write your own book when you could pay someone else to? If you really don't have the time to, and you want your book to get to the marketplace sooner rather than later, why not get someone else to do it for you? Ghost Writing (the process of having another writer flesh out your words so they flow like a book), is a very popular method of writing a book these days. It is nowhere near as expensive as it used to be, and has become much more advanced these days. So much so that some people don't even realise it's not you writing. You don't have time to do your own marketing and advertising, so you pay a copywriter to do that (and sometimes big dollars too), yet you want to spend a lot more hours struggling over writing your book because you know more than they do... why bother?

Of course you know more than the Ghost Writer does, as you are the expert, not them, but all you need to do is tell them the information and then they can write it for you. Well that's easy, you might say, if I could just tell everyone the information I wouldn't need to write a book in the first place. In the past a Ghost Writer would work from notes you had already written and then flesh out a book from your information.

Today it is very different. You are too busy to write a book, but are you too busy to talk? Generally not, and everyone has time to talk, particularly about their own book which they are so excited to be producing. So why not talk? These days all that is required by more advanced Ghost Writers, or self publishing studios offering ghost writing services, is to record your thoughts onto an MP3 recorder and let the ghost writer do the rest. This works wonders, as not only does it leverage your time, but the Ghost Writer doesn't need to go through your notes, instead just listen to your words. Ghost Writing now includes transcribing from MP3, ghost writing, editing and proofreading. The Ghost Writer does it all for you. And better yet, as they heard the words straight from your mouth, you know that not only is the content correct but the words on the page sound like you wrote them, as the ghost writer writes in the style of the character/personality they have heard in the recording. Not a bad way to write a book is it?

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