Why Write (Part 2)?

“Why Write (Part 1)” was about finding and harnessing passion to write your book. Today’s blog is about defining your book goals. A clear understanding of what to do with the book once it’s written helps define and refine writing timeline, budget, target market, short-term and long-term marketing plan, and more. 

I specialize in writing nonfiction; therefore, I help business people answer the goals question from the very beginning. Here are some examples I get. Most people want to write a book as an additional marketing tool to position themselves as an expert in a professional field. Others want a book to generate another line of income. There are clients who want to use a book to increase access for speaking engagements in front of potential clients and/or peer groups, or as the basis to fill workshops. Often speakers don’t have a book to support their mission and message, then realize they’re leaving opportunities on the table without a book.

Other clients are writing memoirs to address a specific target reader group, for instance, recovery from addiction, life after abuse, moving forward after a life-changing disaster, and other similar topics. These writers want to use a book as the basis for developing and expanding inspirational/motivation speaking careers, or to help fund a nonprofit, for example. These are very specific goals for what to do with the book once it’s written, which impacts how it’s written and marketed. 

How you want to use the book directly correlates back to the time and money questions, too.

Here are some more examples:

  • If using a book for business building, the finished quality must be top notch because that is the lens through which potential clients judge you, and decide to hire you, or not. Therefore, more time and money are needed for things like professional editing, professional cover design, professional author head shots, updated company branding, website, and more.
  • If the book is for educating how to stream line a technology development process, human resources safety protocol, or political hot button issue, the writing time line needs to be fast tracked.
  • If writing a memoir to help fund a nonprofit, it needs to be top quality, too. But it also requires additional items such as legal and/or accounting advice about forming a federal 501(c)(3).
  • If writing a family history is important to document the research you’ve completed on multiple generations, that book doesn’t necessarily need a $500 to $800 original art hard cover, professional photos, or an ISBN number, because the intended purpose is not for public distribution. You might hire a professional editor to make sure you’re creating and leaving the highest quality story line for future generations.
  • If writing fiction as a retelling of your children’s imaginary friends’ adventures, setting the book up for sale is not a primary objective. You can use your own or your children’s drawings because the quality of illustrations doesn’t require a professional expense. But if you’re writing these stories to create a book for sale, illustration considerations present themselves. These answers change, too, if considering self-publishing, mainstream publishing, or something in between.
  • If you’re a fiction writer, you need goals for your book, too, before spending all your time writing a book that’s not sellable. For example, if you’re writing for an elementary school or high school aged audience, you need to know age appropriate word use, sentence structure, and book length. Also, if you’re writing a series, timing between the books becomes a marketing consideration.

There is no right or wrong answer to the why write or what you’ll do with a book after it’s written. There’s only your answer, but you do need answers. Don’t get stalled trying to figure out “the right answer.” Figure out your goals and motives today and how your answers impact the writing and marketing of the book as far as you can see right now. These answers become the directional guide and make the process you follow much easier than if this step is skipped, which too many authors do. 

As you move forward in the process and find your answers don’t fit the vision you had, adjust accordingly. It’s not that you did anything wrong, it’s that you’re actually doing something AND making progress.

Your assignment

Write down the top three goals (in order of importance) for your book once it’s written. How do these impact writing time line, budget, and marketing plan? Now you have a goal for your book, what kind of goals can you set to sit down and write? Need an accountability partner to help you develop the process, set goals, and stick to a timeline, contact me: Arlene@BookWritingBusiness.com #WednesdayWritingWisdom #BookWritingBusiness 

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