Is it just me, or does this time of year get busier for you guys, too?
On top of all my editorial work, this upcoming Friday I'm speaking on a panel at the American Society of Journalists and Authors' 2018 Annual Writers Conference, on a topic I absolutely love to talk about: How to Turn a Nugget of an Idea into a Book Proposal.
If you happen to be attending ASJA this year, you'd better come say hi! But if you're not able to come up to New York this time around, don't fret. I can give you a few things right now that will help you if you're considering going from an idea to a book.
Why do you want to write this book?
You’re clearly drawn to this topic for a reason. What’s your reason? Are you an expert in this field? Are you simply passionate about this topic, and you’re excellent at research? Do you already have an audience that you know would love to read a book written by you? These are elements of this that will clearly change as you develop your platform, but for now, thinking about what you bring to the table is a good place to start.
Is there a hole in the market for a book like yours?
This one’s a biggie: you want to know that your book has a place in the world before you create it. Take a trip to your local independent bookstore, the library, or Barnes and Noble. Browse around your topic’s section and write down the books that catch your eye. Which ones are you compelled to read? Why do you like them? Is it because of the author’s expertise, the cover design, the blurb on the front from a celebrity endorsing it? Is it the way that the information is organized? Is it the way the author approaches the topic? What don’t you like about what you see? Take home some of those books and read them, and take notes on how those authors created their books. Not only will this give you ideas for how to write your book, you’ll also learn what kind of books already exist in the world and how you might fill a hole in the market. Find out what others are doing already and how you can either do it better or differently.
While researching books will be the primary research you do at this point, you should also take note of online resources on the topic you’ve chosen. Ask yourself the same questions as above and take note of who runs the website, writes the blog, etc.
How might you share your book?
Let’s talk about what your goals are in terms of getting your book out into the world. Are you wanting to build brand recognition and perhaps create a bit of additional revenue? You might consider self publishing. Do you want your content to reach the widest audience possible and perhaps lead to more speaking engagements? Is it also relevant to a wide audience? You’ll probably want to go for traditional publishing. You don’t have to make a definitive decision just yet, but it’s good to know where you might want to take this project before you get started. Plus, it’ll change what you do now; if you want to self publish, you’ll want to write the whole book, but if you want to traditionally publish, you don’t have to write the whole thing yet, as you’ll be writing a proposal instead.
I wish all of you luck in your writing journeys, and if you feel like your idea could be something more, don't hesitate to get in touch via the contact form on my website! I want to hear your ideas and help you build them into something bigger.