My last blog talked about why you might write a book. Now that you’d decided that you will write one, how do you start? When you walk in to a book store or the library, you’ll see thousands of books. It’s really important to have some idea of what you think your finished book might look like. Will it be a big glossy coffee-table book or a simple little poetry collection? Don’t forget that you also have the option of creating an ebook, which is much less expensive than a printed book in terms of production.
You also need to consider what genre your book will be. Here are some common genres:
Novel – fiction
There are of course many categories that fit into this genre. Things to consider here are the age of your reader, what type of fiction it is (contemporary, historical maybe science-fiction etc.).
Short story collection
Short stories have had a resurgence over the past few years and they are considered a craft distinct from novels. There are instances where a short story has been made in to a movie, like Brokeback Mountain.
There are people who set out to write a children’s book only to find it much more difficult than they thought but the children’s book market is very strong and a worthwhile industry to get into if you can.
There are many beautiful ways you can showcase your poetry in a collection.
Is there a significant event happening in your family, like a wedding, a wedding anniversary or a family reunion? A family history can be a fun project for the family and a great legacy. The same goes for your organisation if it has reached a significant milestone.
Maybe you’ve had an interesting life and it’s been suggested to you that you should write it down. You can choose to do this as a memoir or an autobiography.
How to – general non-fiction
You could write a book about a topic, like a species of bird that is endangered or the best coffee shops in Melbourne.
How to – your expertise
If you have a hobby or business and you feel you have great skills to share, you could write a book about it. A book can be about anything from beekeeping to breeding snakes to building a business.
New technologies or interesting inventions could make you a leader in your field. People will be looking for information on how to get into your field or use that latest technology from Social Media marketing and beyond.
New ideas or old ideas revisited can be very interesting to a reader looking for answers to their own questions. You may have been on your own spiritual journey and sharing that journey can help others.
Who will read your book?
First you need to determine what the purpose of your book is. A good way to test the purpose of your book is to talk to a few people.
Have a look online, in bookstores and libraries. Are there already a lot of books like the one you are writing? If there is, is there a different angle you can take that will make it different to the others already on the market?
Identify your readership
There will be more than one market for your book. Try to identify at least two. For example, if you write a children’s book the obvious reader is the child, but a child won’t buy the book. It will be a parent, grandparent or caregiver. Have a think about primary and secondary markets.
Where can you find your readers?
There are many ways to find your ideal reader:
Associations, government bodies
Besides looking online and at bookstores or libraries, you can also access government bodies and associations. The Directory of Australian Associations is an expensive option but well worth it if you are planning to raise revenue from your book. With extensive details on over 4,300 organisations and 9,500 key personnel, Directory of Australian Associations can put you in touch with your next market or corporate alliance. It is the most comprehensive resource available for information on every specialty interest group in the country, including the non-profit sector.
The writing can start soon but first think about what you’re going to do with this book. Once you’ve decided what type of book you’d like to write, you need to sit down and plan it out. Start with writing down what sort of things you’d like to include in the book. This will involve a bit of brainstorming.
Set down a chapter by chapter breakdown. Drawing a rough picture of it can be good too. This works for any kind of book, fiction or non-fiction. Treat the writing of each chapter like a self-contained piece so you don’t feel overwhelmed. In this way, the book can be written in chunks and didn’t seem like a huge task.
Most books are structured in the same way in terms of content, regardless of what kind they are. A fiction novel might not have a lot of the end matter.
When you look at non-fiction books, you will notice these sections:
Half title page
Main Text in chapters
About the author
Don’t be too married to the structure that you set out here because you may find that as you write you add or subtract things but at least you have a format to work towards. The structure should be as simple as having a beginning, middle and end, just like you learned at school when you were writing essays. Don’t overcomplicate it!
If you feel like you need more help, we have great opportunities to help you set up your project from the ground up. Our next Book Camp is in April.