Telling Your Story,  Work in progress

Should you write a book?

They say that everyone has at least one book in them. Maybe you’ve been thinking about writing one yourself. Like any venture, it will be a learning curve for you but one that is exciting and rewarding. Do you already write? It could be anything from a fantasy novel or a memoir. It’s your chance to get your thoughts and ideas into a story and share it with the community. Over my next few blogs, I’m going to be talking about the book writing and publishing process. It may help you decide if a book is a good idea for you.

Here are some of the reasons why people will write a book:
They have something to say
To build their profile
Mark a special anniversary
Make money
Leave a legacy
Promote a cause
Have fun
Share a message
Make a difference

In this technological age, a book is a perfect marketing tool. A book is long-lasting and if some thought is put into it to create a beautifully crafted product, it will engage people with a personal touch and the returns to the writer will be more than just financial. It doesn’t matter if you write a poetry book or a huge tome on your experiences in finance, each has its own unique appeal.

Think about this. Companies pay huge amounts of dollars to advertise on TV for a thirty second commercial. They don’t receive direct revenue from that commercial, but they build their reputation. A book can do this as well as bring you extra income if you choose to sell it. A book is an interactive product that entertains, inspires and persuades people, unlike the interruption that ads on TV or online do. It’s the perfect way to convey ideas, values and messages from yourself to your reader. It takes, on average, eight to ten hours to read a book. What other medium engages someone for that amount of time? It’s your chance to ‘talk’ with a person one to one.

Writing a book is actually a lot of work so I suggest that you do some thinking first to work out the direction that you’ll take whilst at the same time working out if it’s worth the effort. Sit down and ask yourself some serious questions. The reason for this is that many books fail financially. Why do you think this is? The biggest reason is that there has been no planning. Writing a book should be tackled like a small business venture. Even if you intend to send it to a traditional publisher, you will have more chance of gaining a contract if you do the hard work for them. This means thinking about who your readership is, the current market and the type of book it’ll be.

So, what’s your big idea? Once you have the seed of an idea you can begin to formulate your book into something more concrete. Quite often a story is born from a simple question like, How would a child feel if she was conceived purely to be a donor for her ill sister? What about the simple idea of a cookbook full of recipes that only need four ingredients (a fantastic idea that was rejected by traditional publishers but made the creators rich and famous when they self-published).

If you’ve never written a book before, you may ask yourself, Who am I to write a book about anything? If you can answer that, you will have cleared the first big hurdle. For example: If you’re writing a how to book, maybe you have years of experience to share? But how do you know you even have the skill to write it? There are many ways to improve your writing skills such as workshops, retreats and writing groups (I’ll be running a six-day retreat in Bali later in the year). Time might be an issue and you want to get your manifesto out yesterday in which case, could consider talking into a recording device and transcribing your thoughts. If you really don’t have the time or skills but want to share your story, maybe you can consider a ghost writer.

The next question is, How do you know there is a market for your book? This is where a little research is handy. Go onto Google and see if there are other books available that are similar to your idea. Better yet, go into a bookstore or library and find books on your topic. It might be that you already know there is a gap in the market, which has prompted you to consider writing about it.

In my next blog, I’ll talk about structuring your book and making it happen.
Blaise the book chick

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