Did You Think About It, Before Writing Your Book?

04 Dec

There are a couple of hard questions you should ask yourself before writing and publishing a book. Having heard all these stories during the last years about (very few) authors who self-published their books and became famous / rich, might tempt you to follow their path.

90% of all authors I talk to, haven’t done their research. There are lots of questions any author should ask (and answer) before writing – not only as independent writer, but also before pitching to publishers:

  • how many books of this topic (sometimes even with the same title) are out there already
  • where are these books sold and for which price
  • who are the customers of these books
  • how are these books received and which ones are bestselling
  • in which categories / genres are these competitive books listed
  • what cover designs have been chosen for these books

Research First and Build a Solid Foundation
Barely any author is really planning their book and its promotion. Only when frustration sets in, they think about getting help.  Becoming an author-publisher is a long-term commitment and requires hundreds of small steps on the path to success!  Before you even attempt to write, develop and market an e-book, or paper book for that matter, create yourself a road map.

The problem is that too many authors are in a hurry to start writing and don’t lay a foundation for book marketing. They spend all this time writing, and then they have no readers and customers to buy their books.
Ask yourself some hard questions:

  • Who will be your e-book readers?
  • Is there a demand for your eBook product?
  • Is your e-book a “must have” purchase?
  • How much will people pay for your product?
  • Does the purchase of your eBook lead to additional e-book sales?
  • How much money will you need to fund your project?
  • How likely are you to excel among the competition?
  • How do you contact and “pitch” your product to your potential buyers?
  • How to you get the important book reviews?
  • Do you have already lots of followers in your social networks?

Writing your book is only 20% of the work, 80% is marketing! Having a plan on how you intend to market, publicize and sell your book before starting to write it is crucial.

• Choose your book content
• Start marketing your book, even before writing it
• Design and format it into a perfect downloadable file
• Create a professional cover for your e-book
• Select the e-book retailer to upload your book (Amazon, Apple, B&N, Sony…)
• Continue marketing your book

You are responsible for providing your own ongoing marketing for e-published work – the same as for paper books that are often not very well marketed. A book might be great, but if nobody knows about it, it won’t sell. Authors can’t count on the public seeing their books on shelves or in store windows – they have to find it on the internet.

The Statistics are Dire 
There are more than one million books published in the USA alone every year.  Of those, some two thirds are self-published.  Book sales are declining, having peaked in 2007.  Your nonfiction book published in 2014 will, on average, sell less than 250 copies per year, fewer than 3,000 over its lifetime, which is increasingly short since publishers don’t back-list as much as they used to.

Create Your Own Market 
More books, fewer sales means that publishers have less money to spend on marketing to try to reach those increasingly rare readers.  Less help from the publisher means that the author has to do more and more him/herself.  So you not only have to write the book, you also have to figure out how to sell it. How will anyone hear about your book?  They won’t see it – there’s a less than 1% chance that your book will be stocked in a bookstore.

Establish Yourself as Expert
In an era of increasing specialization, and a daily explosion in knowledge, experts have clout and authority.  So if you want to be at the head of your field, you need that book – especially if you’re a consultant or something similar, who’s hired because of your expertise.  And then you’ll probably need another book in a few years’ time.  But let’s worry about the next book later.

Become a Professional Public Speaker
Public speakers – the paid ones – still need a book to point to.  Even (former) President Clinton has had to write books to keep himself in the public eye. That’s why it’s important to get clear from the outset why you are writing this book.

Don’t Let You Fool By These Bogus Stories
Writers claim to have sold hundred-thousands of their books in short time or claim bestseller status, and cash in on these stories.  When you look behind the scenes, they have either paid for hundreds of reviews or a service company bought ten-thousands of their own books (which these authors had to advance), catapulting them to New York Times bestseller status. All this false hype brings writers to think their book is a failure if not showing up in bestseller lists. Wrong!

Don’t Be Discouraged
Just do more research into your book market, learn everything about book publishing and marketing, and built step by step your author platform and brand.  And for your next book:  Do the research first!!! Before you start writing.




If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $159 for 3 months! Learn more about this individual book marketing help:
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2 responses to “Did You Think About It, Before Writing Your Book?

  1. arranbhansal

    December 4, 2013 at 3:25 am

    Really good post, and raises some very interesting questions about self publishing

    • ebooksinternational

      December 4, 2013 at 8:08 am

      yes there are lots of questions an author should ask before writing – not only as independent writer, but also before pitching to publishers.


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