I frequently have people ask me, “Why do you limit yourself to working with first time authors?” I make that distinction because I know it is the seemingly little things you don’t know in the beginning that can make a huge difference in your results!
For me as a Literary Strategist, and yes, even for you as an entrepreneur or service professional… if, as a change agent you want to make the most positive impact possible in the world, it becomes necessary to dig a little deeper and find the biggest problem and provide solutions for that. I didn’t start out with the first time author being my ideal client – I just wanted to be able to help those authors who had figured out too late that they had, “oops, skipped a few steps or gotten them out of sequence” and make the balance of their publishing journey easier and more profitable.
The more I worked with clients, the more I realized the greatest impact I could have would be to identify and work with aspiring authors from the start -to eliminate the fear, the unknowns and the mistakes of taking a journey through the maze known as publishing.
Today, I want to offer a handful of tips… “thinking points” if you will… for a first time author.
It is important to understand why you want to publish. When you are clear on your purpose and the goal(s) associated with it, you will make better decisions about who you are writing for, how you will deliver the message, the “language” in which you will write, whether to self-publish, how to market… and a plethora of other important considerations.
The underlying purpose of publishing your work is to get it out in the market so it is read by the people you want to serve. In order for those sales to happen, someone must be inspired to buy; that inspiration comes from the fact that you are writing about a topic that focuses on the needs of your potential customers. This dictates that what you write about is more important than merely satisfying your need to write. I love to write, but if I am not providing content that resolves a serious issue for someone else – who will take time to read what I write?
Once you have determined the problem you can solve by sharing your wisdom, experience and expertise, you will be closer to understanding exactly who your reader audience will be. Your book must be designed and written to appeal to a particular easily identifiable group. For example, your topic might appeal to a larger audience, but each of them will have different points of view and different attitudes (Seniors | Baby-boomers | Generation X’ers). When you write in “their voice” you will come much closer to ensuring they will find what you mean to give them; if you write too generically, hoping to appeal to a larger readership – you risk your message being lost.
You also want to use this opportunity to clarify who will buy your book, NOT who you think needs it; where will they find your book? If you have decided to write for Seniors, you know they probably shop in different places than Baby-boomers; your distribution and marketing centers will also be different. If you selected the Generation X’ers, your writing will have to appeal to current issues rather than the memories Senior’s might find appealing. Get to know your market before you begin to write: Their age… their general attitude on life… their sex (if applicable)… where they shop… what groups or organizations they join… the other publications they read… the television shows and movies they tend to watch… the things they do for casual entertainment.
How to impress your potential reader is something you must consider before your book is published. There are a number of creative ways you can create credibility and expertise – the kind that converts to increased book sales. As a first time author you can have another authority in your field write the Forward for your book. It is also easy to include some well placed quotes throughout your book, secure peer reviews and endorsements to include in the book and on the back cover… all to reveal your expert status to the reader.
I don’t want to scare you away from a budding desire to write, and unfortunately, the list of “what the first time author needs to know” is quite lengthy. On the flip side… you will have access to an upcoming book I am writing, the teleclasses and workshops being created, and the time to absorb it all. And more good news… as a Literary Strategist, I make it possible to walk you through all these confusing, complex steps without you having to become your own expert in the publishing industry!
Please feel free to leave comments or questions in the box below – leave no question unanswered in your quest to write a book that will reveal your expert status and have you highly compensated for leaving your mark on the world.
Let me know in the comments box what one tip may have shaken up YOUR thinking today – or what issue I could have addressed.
Literary Strategist | Voices in Print