Often aspiring authors come to me with book ideas that they have been dreaming for years of writing and publishing. However, the books don’t have markets large enough to attract publishers or to promise them more than a few sales as indie publishers. Or the books might have reasonably sized markets, making the ideas commercially viable, but the authors have no platform—and no desire to build them. That means the book likely won’t sell.
Since they have their hearts set on writing and publishing their books, I advise these aspiring authors to publish a “book of their heart” knowing they primarily will sell copies to family and friends. That means these may be the only people to read their books.
Now, one of these authors could produce a book whose sales take off despite all odds. You just never know. And that’s why I tell them to follow their dreams.
But a distinct difference exists between writing and publishing a book of your heart vs. a commercially marketable book.
A Book of Your Heart
A book of your heart may help you fulfill your purpose, allow you to heal past hurts, give you a chance to record past events, knock off a bucket-list item, or give you a credential. It’s a book you want to write no matter what—no matter who says you shouldn’t or whether or not you plan to help market it. It’s a book that may or may not be marketable.
As long as you aren’t writing and publishing the book to achieve a high number of sales, it’s all good.
And, as I said, you just never know. Your book could take off and become a bestseller. Or not. So just be prepared.
A Commercially Marketable Book
A marketable book is one with a high likelihood of attracting a traditional publisher and readers. That means that no matter how you publish it, it has a high likelihood of selling and getting read. And it can lead you to more success as an author down the road.
Publishers only take books they believe will sell. They determine this based on a business plan, or book proposal, which proves to them the book has a large enough market, the idea is unique and necessary in its market and category, and that you can help sell the book. If you self-publish, you want to write and publish books that meet the same criteria.
Then you know…maybe not beyond a shadow of a doubt…but with a great degree of certainty that your book stands a good chance of selling. Why? Because you have crafted a book that meets the needs of your ideal readers and that is different from the competition. Plus, you have done all you can to build the necessary foundation—an author platform—to help sell the book upon release.
A marketable book has a higher chance of taking off and becoming a bestseller than a book of your heart. Or not. (The publishing world is a bit crazy.) So just be prepared.
In the end, what matters your goals. What are they? Do you want to make money, create a brand, impact lives, build a business, or fulfill a dream?
I tell authors that one of the first things they need to do as they begin creating business plans for their books is to get clear about their goals. Everyone’s goals are different. One person might want to sell 50 books and another might want to sell 10,000. Another writer might want to build a business around a book and yet another might want to start a movement.
It’s all up to you. And, as I said, it’s all good. You just need to decide: marketable book or book of your heart.
Or both. That’s what I truly hope for you—that you don’t have to choose, but, instead, you write a commercially marketable book of your heart. For that, you need only do the business planning necessary to ensure that idea you have held so close to your heart (and soul) has been angled and crafted to become a book that sells.
If you’d like to learn more about producing a marketable book, watch the replay of the “hanginar” I did recently with Denise Wakeman and Ellen Britt of The Future of Ink. It’s packed with great information you can use. Click here for the replay.
Get the author training you need to succeed! Register for the next Author Training 101:Craft Books that Sell course. Starting May 6, you will receive 8 weeks of LIVE coaching with Nina Amir, plus audio and video lessons that correspond with the chapters in The Author Training Manual: Develop Marketable Ideas, Craft Books That Sell, Become the Author Publishers Want, and Self-Publish Effectively—and you’ll get a copy of the book FREE as a gift! By the time the training is over, you will have created a business plan for your book and learned to see yourself and your work through the same lens used by a true publishing professional. This will allow you to produce books that sell, which means they get read by your target audience. When you register, you also receive a bonus proposal/business plan template and more! Only 20 spots! Get more information and claim your spot by clicking here.
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Marlene cullen says
I LOVE this post. I feel like I’ve been waiting/wanting to hear this. . . and didn’t even know it. I have a book of the heart in mind. . hope to sell maybe 25 copies! It’s an idea I’ve had for over ten years. It’s a relief to hear from you, Nina, sort of permission. . . to write that book I’ve dreamed about for so long and don’t worry about sales. Chuckling. . . just write the book of the heart and whoever reads it . . . wonderful!
Nina Amir says
So glad to hear that. You know me…I want people to write books that sell and get read. But sometimes we just have to write that book that is in our hearts. And who knows? It might become a bestseller. Or it might just change a few lives…and that’s enough for sure.