Pre-writing Your Book (or Article)

One  stat somewhere says 80 percent of the population wants to write a book. Based on my many years of teaching, writing, editing, and publishing, that seems like a good stat.

But before you jump into writing, you might want to do some pre-writing by answering the following questions.

  • Ask yourself why you’re writing the book (or article). Is it to entertain? To gain credibility in your area of expertise? To attract new clients? To educate?
  • Ask yourself who needs your book? The idea behind this question is to find a need and fill it.
  • Ask yourself whether or not your book is relevant. Sometimes writers write about things that interest them, but few others. That’s okay for self, but doesn’t work well in the marketplace.
  • Ask yourself who your competition is. You can become the premiere writer/authority/expert in your field, but it’s still hard to beat those who are already top of mind. You just have to be excellent, persistent, diligent, and maybe catch a break along the way.

As you ask these questions, be aware there is no such thing as a general public reader–no one loves every book. Whether fiction or non-fiction, book or periodical, everything published has a target market. As you figure out your target market, consider the following demographics.

  • Gender (percent of each)
  • Age group by decade (20s, 30s, 40s, etc.)
  • Income
  • Career
  • Education
  • Interests (like hobbies)

Readers have choices, and authors choose readers by writing to specific target markets.

Your job in the pre-writing phase is to create your writing persona and know who you’re writing to. Build your platform (yes, even fiction writers must market their books and do signings, interviews, talks in front of groups, have websites, blog, etc.). With today’s technology opportunities, you have more opportunity than ever to build your platform while writing your book.

Figure out your motivation for writing your book (or article), figure out who your reader is, figure out where your reader hangs out and be there.

Happy writing!

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