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March 2010

Six Guidelines You "Must" Consider Before You Begin Your Book Project

Unfortunately, many book authors discover upon publishing their book that there aren't many potential buyers. To hopefully avoid such a problem, we suggest that you consider using the following guidelines to qualify your book project - before you begin. And if you have already written your manuscript, go back and make sure it meets all six of them.

 Here, then, are six "must" guidelines  to determine if your book project is viable.

  1. The subject must be interesting to you. Write what you know. What are your interests? Do not write a book on a subject that you are no longer interested in and do not want to pursue. Follow your heart, not your head. Ask yourself, "What will wake you at three in the morning with a burning inspiration that will move you to the keyboard?"
  2. You must have expertise or experience. You do not have to have an advanced degree; you do not need a Ph.D. But you do need personal experience, dedication to do research, and a deep desire to spread the word. The most important question is, "Have you been there?"
  3. The subject must be of interest to others. Simply put, your book has to contain information people want to know, or they will not buy it. If you build it, will they come?
  4. The subject must be tightly focused. We live in an age of increasing specialization. Years ago, we had general weekly magazines and periodicals. They are gone now because people want specific subject matter. So target your information, your message and your audience.
  5. The market must be easy to reach. Who are your readers and where are they? You must be able to identify them and locate them. Remember that your answers are not "book readers" in "bookstores."
  6. The market must be large enough (but not too large). The primary group you are targeting should be between 200,000 and 700,000 identifiable, reachable people. To get these figures, check the number of stores that target your potential customer, memberships of applicable associations, periodical subscriber counts, etc. Also, Publishing Entrepreneur has some interesting thoughts on niche marketing that you might like to check out.

There you have it - six "must" guidelines for a viable book. If your book project satisfies the six criteria, you are on your way.

[The above post was created from excerpts taken from Writing Nonfiction, authored by Dan Poynter.]

Why Self-Publish? Here Are Some of the Reasons.

There is an outright BOOM today in self-publishing. And the question becomes, why do thousands and thousands of writers today opt to publish their own books? Here are some of the reasons:

  • For many, the initial motivation is simply that they don't want to spend years fighting an uphill battle to pursue literary agents and conventional publishers...with a slim chance of success.
  • Others want to retain rights, want more control of the creative process, or want a bigger share of revenue.
  • For some, it's the subject matter: books on niche topics about which their authors are passionate, but which are too specialized to interest a commercial publisher. These are ideal for self-publishing.

Conventional publishers tend to look down on self-published books. Often they cite glaring writing errors, amateurish layouts and cover designs, or other problems that are seldom seen in books from larger publishers. Frankly, this attitude is sometimes justified.

But, there is absolutely no reason why a self-published book can't meet professional standards. For proof, below are just a handful of books that were originally self-published:

  • What Color is Your Parachute (Richard Nelson Bolles)
  • In Search of Excellence (Tom Peters)
  • The One-Minute Manager (Ken Blanchard)
  • A Time to Kill (John Grisham)
  • The Joy of Cooking (Irma Rombauer)

The bottom line? If you have the passion to write about a subject you love, the time and skills to prepare a quality book for publication, the confidence to take some financial risks and, most of all, the determination to promote and market your book proactively, you can self-publish successfully.

[The above post was created from excerpts taken from 5.0. co-authored by Dan Poynter and Danny O. Snow.]