Write my acim and the reader will come— that was what I thought when I began writing my first book. Well, fortunately I had a publishing consultant to set me straight and let me know that it rarely happens that way. I had to know my competition and who my reader is.
And this was the shocker for me: “Find out your competition and target market before you write your book.” That is the lesson I want to share with you today. Roll up your sleeves, get your favorite beverage and writing tools and let’s get started doing some planning before you start writing your book.
In Step 1 you selected your subject based on your area of expertise. Now you need to identify the market for your book.
For example, suppose you are writing a book on “10 Easy Ways To Keep Your Car Running Smoothly.” Who are your readers? Who will buy your book? A 10 year old? Not likely. A 40 year old? Maybe. How about 30-50 year old women? Yes, and especially single women with no car mechanic in the house. Another group could be widows-women who sadly no longer have a man in the house to take care of their car.
Here are some questions to answer to find your target market. If you can answer yes or identify your target market to a few of these questions then you are ready to write your book
Visiting your library and local bookstore will help you not only identify your competition and target market, but it will give you scores of ideas on what your book cover design will look like and how to find a literary agent if you want to get it traditionally published.
Ask the librarian for Bowker’s Books in Print which lists all books currently available by subject. This can give you an idea of what books are out there on your subject. Also check Forthcoming BIP for recent books. Make a list of those books you would like to review. If your book idea has been extensively covered, you need to evaluate what makes your book unique.
A good example are cookbooks. The bookstores are surrounded with cookbooks. It seems like every type of cookbook has been covered, but that is not necessarily the case. Authors find new unique ways to introduce their cookbooks. You need to do the same by asking yourself, “How is my book different from those in print?”
Also check out Publishers Weekly, a trade magazine of publishers, will tell you what is coming next season. Check the issue date and if it is old you will have to go to another library that stocks the latest issues.