6 Things to Consider Before Writing a Book
I have heard on several occasions that winners don’t quit and quitters don’t win.
But I really wanted to quit. Yes, I wanted to quit writing. I wanted to join the growing list of writers who execute their creative pens on the gallows of fear.
I felt it was time to close that chapter of my life not until I spoke with one of my friends – a published author. Prior to this conversation, we became close friends after I read his first book which I consider to be a brilliant literary meal for intellectual minds.
He took his time to itemize a million reasons why I should not quit writing. I guess his words stuck and that’s why I am still here.
He told me how he fought self-doubt and summoned the courage to publish his first book. The book was scripted in 1993 but was unpublished until 2016.
Oh! Why did it take so long before hitting the press?
To be honest, writing a book is one thing, having the audacity to publish it is another. And on to the next step, marketing the book is a different game.
You are probably at a crossroad wondering if the time is ripe for the unveiling of your book. The headache is usually intense if this is your debut appearance in the hallway of published authors.
Self-doubt peers at you from its hole and lack of confidence in your ideas threaten to heighten the span of your indecision. Writers often ask for pointers to know when their ideas are worth sharing. Perhaps, you have pondered on the same question.
Providing answers to the six questions listed here will shed more clarity on the future of your book.
The Six Questions Begging for Answers
1. What’s the idea behind your book?
I always advise writers to stick with one idea per book. I love the way Myles Munroe describes books, he called them “Idea-containers.” Yes, that’s true. A great book contains a revolutionary idea that can be summarized in two or three sentences.
Seth Godin’s Purple Cow
dramatically played down on the antics of advertising and canvassed for the creation of remarkable products.
Today, these books are bestsellers because they contain clear and simple ideas. These ideas were reinforced with a wealth of research mixed with experiential knowledge. An idea is powerful but it’s not enough.
2. Do you believe in the idea?
It’s okay to have great ideas but do they come from your heart. Ideas that come from your heart and soul are the ones that will stir the hearts of others. When an idea works its way from your head to your heart, it becomes an inseparable part of you.
Yes, you believe in it. This is very important! It’s important you write from your heart.
If you don’t believe in the idea you are about to share in a book, it will be obvious when you talk about the book to others. When the unbelief festers unattended to, it spreads like cancer when you talk to others about the book. Address it now!
3. Is your idea worth sharing?
– “Ideas worth spreading,” encapsulates the genius behind the millions of views that greet TED Talks on YouTube. Talks from TED keep garnering millions of views across the world because the speeches contain ideas that are worth sharing/spreading.
Some ideas are just good enough for you; they have got no potential to attain global relevance. Why waste time sharing such ideas in a book? Despite writing the book in Johannesburg, can someone in Argentina be guaranteed of outstanding results after applying your idea?
If the idea contained in your book is worth sharing, you will spend less on marketing and advertising. This is the secret to creating a book that eventually becomes an “ideavirus.” Your book is an ideavirus when readers can’t resist talking about it and sharing it with others.
4. Have you experienced what you are writing about?
There are some books you can’t get out of your head because you felt a connection between yourself and the author. Often, it’s more like an emotional bond – a part that reminds us of our humanity. The author shares lucid descriptions about his experiences and it turns out to be a perfect reflection of your current ordeal.
That was how I felt when I read John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
. At that time, I just assumed a new leadership role and was looking for insights on how to effectively lead my life and manage people. Maxwell’s book on leadership gave me goosebumps as I could see myself as he shared his experiences. And now to the best part, he did not just talk about my predicament, he cracked the code and offered solutions.
5. Do you have proven and tested solutions?
It’s unfair to make vague promises or polish lies as click baits. Can the idea in your book offer solutions? Have you tested your idea? Do you have proven solutions to the problems of your readers? We buy books because we are looking for answers. We can’t just live without finding answers to our numerous questions. Unanswered questions make us restless and that’s why Google is making a hell of a fortune.
Proven solutions reinforce the integrity of your book and increase its selling power.
“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” – George Orwell
6. Do you have a market for the book?
Many authors end their publishing career with the first book because their financial expectations were frustrated. After the glamour on the day of the book launch, it looked more like shoving the book down people’s throat. The little sales were proceeds from close friends and family members who felt obliged to offer a pitiable gesture towards a friend’s audacious leap.
Publishing a book can be financially demanding especially if you stick with traditional publishing. Some writers have landed in debts because of inability to realize enough sales to offset the cost of publishing their books. If you don’t have a market for your book, publishing it can be a disaster.
I know that writers are lovers of art who care less about the financial side of things. But with the recent twist in the publishing industry where few publishers do marketing, writers are challenged daily to learn strategies for marketing their books.
Just to be on the safe side, do your market research before heading to the press. Are people in high demand for these ideas?
If you echoed YES to all these questions, then you are ready to write and publish your book. Self-doubt will take care of itself and you are on your way to scripting one of the bestsellers that will make readers smile again.
Also published on Medium.