Like most aspiring authors, when inspiration hit you probably assumed you were the right person to carry out your idea from start to finish. You also probably wanted to complete and publish your book as soon as possible. You saw yourself writing the manuscript, getting it traditionally or independently published and then holding the bound book in your hands as you proudly showed your friends and family your name printed on its cover. Or maybe you imagined it as an ebook so you could proudly share the link with family and friends in no time flat.
But are you really the best person to write your book…and should you write and publish it now? These important questions need answers, even if you don’t want to ask them or don’t yet understand why you should have a response.
Evaluate if You are Ready and Qualified
At this point in the Author Training Process, you are adept at evaluating yourself—especially through the eyes of those more critical or with a business perspective. It’s time for you to do this type of assessment one last time. When you first wrote your pitch in Step #2, one of the things I suggested addressing were three related questions: “Why this book, why now, why you? It’s time to get clear about that third point: Why you? In Step #8 of your Author Training Process, Weigh Whether You Are the Best Person to Write This Book…Now, you now determine if you are ready and qualified to write your book at this moment or if you need more qualifications or expert status, an expert co-author, or more platform.
If you are a novelist, knowing if you are the right person to write your book may seem a no brainer. You may think that as long as you can write well and have a new story to tell, it’s yours to tell. However, if you choose to write about crime, for example, you must know how criminals or cops act. If your criminals steal pieces of art, you must be an expert on art and art museums. If you possess an expertise, put it to use in your fiction. And know that even novelists, like James Patterson, for example, use co-authors to help them churn out so many books per year; you might consider finding one that offers you expertise or platform.
If you are writing memoir, no one else is more qualified to write your story than you. But your story must be extraordinary and, again, you must excel at your craft.
If you write any other type of nonfiction, you need a marketable idea you can put into easily-read-and-enjoyed words and the credentials or expertise to make readers or publishers trust you enough to purchase your book or believe what you have written.
Choose the Right Time
As in most endeavors, timing is everything. Publishing is no different. For many reasons it may be the right or wrong time to approach agents or publishers or to self-publish. You may want to be first to market with your idea, or it may be timely, necessary, or in the news, for example. Yet, you might still need to improve your craft, build more platform or get additional credentials. This step in the Author Training Process asks you to take a hard look at these issues
You actually began this particular evaluation in Step #4 when you did your competitive analysis. At that time you looked at yourself in comparison to the other authors who have written similar books to the one you plan to write. You also thought about it in Step #1 as you delved into your willingness to take on the many tasks necessary to succeed as an author, such as platform building and promotion.
Now take these evaluation further. Drill down deeper as you complete three tasks:
- Create and evaluate your author biography (or bio).
- Create and evaluate a description of your author platform .
- Create and evaluate your mission statement.
Together these three activities help you assess your ability to write your book and to sell it to readers right now. (I’ll discuss your bio, platform and mission in more depth in upcoming posts.)
Note: This post is an excerpt from the draft of my new book, The Author Training Manual (Writer’s Digest Books, February 2014), which I am blogging here on Write Nonfiction NOW! You can read previous posts here. Only select pieces from the manuscript, a “working draft,” are being posted—not the complete manuscript. I’d love to hear your thoughts and get your feedback. Leave your comments below.
Learn how to create a successful book—one that sells to publishers and to readers—by developing an AUTHOR ATTITUDE and writing a BUSINESS PLAN for a MARKETABLE BOOK. Register for the AUTHOR TRAINING COURSE, and go from aspiring to successful published author! This course is based on The Author Training Manual. If you like what you’ve read here, you’ll love the course.
Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles | Freedigitalphotos.net