By Desireé Duffy
As first seen on equities.com
Your mind is made up. You know without a doubt that you have a book trapped in your soul and it’s clawing to get out. Congratulations — you’re about to become an author — or give birth to an alien life form. Either way, the pain involved is nearly the same.
Reduce potential pitfalls and your anxiety by making sure you are truly ready to write and release your book. Start by answering these questions:
1. Do you have source material?
What will serve as the launching pad for your book? Do you have notes in a journal? Do you have your business methodology in writing? Do you have recorded interviews or sessions to pull from? Or are you going to outline it and write it yourself? Knowing what materials you have to work with is the first step.
2. Do you have the time to commit to your book?
We all have great ideas that never quite come to fruition because we lack the time to fully commit. Before biting off more than you can chew, determine how much you can focus on your book. Consider how many words or chapters you are going to need to write, and then determine how fast you write. Will you collaborate with a ghostwriter? How much can you commit to the book development process? Be honest with yourself so you know how much time it will take from beginning to end.
3. Do you have the money to cover the start-up costs?
A typical non-fiction book requires a solid outline, concept, and three written chapters before you should pitch to literary agents to secure a traditional publishing deal. Are you able to fund this part of the process, or are you able to do it yourself? If you plan on self-publishing, are you prepared to hire editors and the experts you need to consult you through the process? Know who your team will be and be ready to hire the talent needed to help you on your journey.
4. Is your network, your followers, and your community robust enough?
Do you have significant numbers on your social media profiles or followers on your blog? How much traffic are you pulling to your website? How big is your email list? When you currently speak at events, do you have regular attendees? Keep in mind that if you pitch your book to a publisher, you will be more desirable the more followers and clout you have. If you are pursuing the self-publishing route, then having a pre-established audience for your book is essential.
5. Is there a need in the market for your book?
You are business-minded, so think of your book as a product and evaluate its position in the market. Do a SWOT analysis. Research to see if similar books already exist. Dig into the numbers and analyze how well your book will sell. Consider doing a poll or pulling together a focus group to find out what people might like or dislike about your potential book.
6. Do you truly have something unique to say?
If you discover that there are already many other books in your space, then you might want to ask yourself if you have something that is unique. Is your book going to stand out, or blend in with all the other similar books on the shelf? Take a cue from Seth Godin and decide in advance if your book is going to be a purple cow.
7. Do you have a marketing and public relations strategy?
How are you going to promote your book? When pitching to agents and publishers, they will want to know who your target audience is and what you are doing to appeal to them. If you’re self-publishing, then planning in advance is vital. Will you hire a book publicist or a marketing company? Do you have the resources and expertise within your company? Like the launch of any product, a solid PR and marketing plan should be established early on so you can plan accordingly.
Because I work with authors and personality brands, I understand how vital it is to have a solid book strategy in place. A good idea, mixed with a practical book development plan, which is then propelled with a solid marketing and public relations strategy, is a winning formula for leaders who are ready.