I told you yesterday that I would talk about some of the reasons why I recommend writing a book proposal before writing the book.
The thing is, just sitting down and writing the book YOU want to write may result in failure for you and your book. Think about it. If you consider your desires rather than the desires and needs of potential readers, you could wind up with a book that won’t sell. This happens to more people that you can even imagine. Or perhaps you decide to spend the next eight months or year writing the book of your dreams and eventually discover that the market is inundated with books like this—there is no room for another book on this subject, written in this way. Maybe there is a glaring need for a book on a topic you could cover. If you don’t write a book proposal, you may miss this opportunity.
If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve “read” me say that a book proposal is a business plan for your book. And one of the first things you need to think about when you decide you want to write for publication is, “Is there a market for this book?” The book proposal will help you to answer this question and even tell you who your audience is, how many of them there are and how to reach them.
If you go to the trouble of developing a business plan for your book (write a book proposal) before you write the book, you will be more apt to write the write book for the write audience.
A book proposal will also help you to gear up for the monstrous task of book promotion. Through a well-devised book proposal, you will learn, as I said, where your audience is and how to reach them, but also what skills, connections and sources of exposure you have that you can use to promote your book and what you need to add to your book promoters’ toolkit.
Whether you want to write a novel, children’s book or nonfiction how-to, informational, self-help book or memoir, write a book proposal before you begin the writing and you will have a much greater understanding of how to proceed and what to expect.
Is there anyone reading this who can attest to this advice firsthand?
For those who write fiction, please do not tell me that by considering your audience first, you will lose your muse—that it is more important that you write from the heart. By all means, you can write from the heart—write what you want—to a point. But if you forget about your audience—discount the fact that you are writing this to be read—you may find that you are not communicating well with your audience. Especially if you are new to writing and you’ve never written a novel, you may tend to leave your readers behind. Your writing might lack clarity and continuity.
The writer has a huge responsibility toward his or her audience and taking the time to write a book proposal can help you to understand this responsibility more clearly and accurately.
Along with developing a book proposal, it is recommended that authors read books in the genre/topic he or she wants to write about. Dissect the contents and organization of nonfiction books. Consider what makes a cozy mystery or a thriller work. What is it about a memoir that makes it popular with readers?
Authors it’s not about you—not when you decide to start writing for publication. It’s about your audience. Take steps to understand your particular audience and exactly what they respond to.
For more of this type of wisdom, information, knowledge and resources, please order my latest books: “Publish Your Book,” “Promote Your Book” and “Talk Up Your Book.” They are available at Amazon.com and most other online and downtown bookstores as well as my website: http://www.matilijapress.com
Sign up for my online book proposal course and I will walk you through the process. At the end of the course, you could have a completed book proposal. Sign up here: http://www.matilijapress.com/course_bookproposal.htm