Do you have more than one writing project on your desktop? Do you sometimes debate with yourself, which one to get behind? Which one will be most interesting to a publisher? Which one has the most potential for sales? Which one do you favor—would you enjoy pursuing?
Hopeful authors come to me frequently with this dilemma. And here’s how I advise them: I suggest that they write a book proposal. How will this help you make this difficult decision?
• You’ll be required to write a synopsis and this will give you a clue as to whether you have enough material for a nonfiction book or whether you’re clear as to the scope and focus of a children’s book or novel, for example.
• I recommend that an author also write a one or two sentence description of his book. This exercise will help you to determine if you actually have a handle on the book you propose.
• You’ll need to check to see what else is out there like your book. For a nonfiction book, how does your book differ? What makes it better or more useful than what’s currently on the market? For fiction—is the genre popular? Will your book fill a need or a niche?
• You must determine whether you have what it takes to successfully promote this book. While you may want to write a novel, you may be more well-qualified to promote and sell a book related to a field of your interest and/or expertise—accounting, horse training, quilting, aviation, etc. So a how-to or informational book might be your best bet for a first publishing experience.
• You will be required to compile chapter summaries. This will certainly assist in your decision-making process. If you can’t come up with, say, ten chapters and describe them, maybe you don’t have a book, at all.
I hope this little exercise today helps you with your big decision as to whether you should work on your children’s book, your western novel, your memoir or your business book. Here are additional tips:
• Go with the one that is easiest for you to compile, write and promote.
• Start with a nonfiction project on a topic you are very familiar with.
• Test the market with a pamphlet or booklet.
• Write short stories and submit them.
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