Is there anything as exciting as starting work on a new book?
The beginning of a book project is an entirely blank slate. You have complete freedom to dream big and write whatever moves you. The sky’s the limit when it comes to your future book’s potential for success.
However, there are some things you should stop and think about before you get started.
Here are four questions to help you write a better book.
Which writing tools should I use?
As writers, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to the tools and apps we need to produce a book.
From feature-rich writing software designed with authors in mind to AI-powered grammar and style checking tools, there is an abundance of quality options out there for you to consider.
While it’s possible to produce a great book using lots of different combinations of apps and tools, you need to give conscious thought to the best options for your needs.
If you’ve written a book before, you might have already found a set of tools that works well for you. However, if you’re about to write your first book, here are a few considerations to help you make the right choice.
- Hardware. What type of computer will you be using for your book project? Is it compatible with the tools you want to use? Will you be using mobile devices during any part of the process? Are there apps for the devices you have?
- Difficulty. How much technical skill do the tools require? Do you have the time to adjust to their learning curve and still keep your book project schedule on track?
- Compatibility. Do your intended tools integrate smoothly? Are you like to encounter any problems with file formats?
Taking the time to determine the right set of tools for your book project before it begins will save you frustration and inefficiency further down the line.
What is my book budget?
Although doing the dry math required to calculate a book budget is far from a typical author’s idea of fun, it’s something that can’t be overlooked.
Producing and releasing a full book has a lot of moving parts and costs can add up quickly. Working out a careful budget before you jump into the book-creation process helps keep things under control and avoids the pain of spending too much and having to abandon your book before it ever sees the light of day.
Budgeting your book doesn’t have to be too complex. Try and keep the following points in mind.
- Tools. For the parts of your project you are taking care of yourself, will you need to invest in any specialist tools? Are there free options you can use to keep costs down? Will you need to invest in any courses or training to acquire the skills you need?
- Services. If there are parts of your book project you will outsource, how much will these cost? Is there a range of prices available for service providers? What is the minimum investment to get the level of quality you need?
- Marketing. How much will you need to spend on marketing to recoup the cost of your project? What are the highest impact marketing activities that are most likely to move the needle?
If you’re frugal, you can publish a book for less than you might imagine. No matter what your budget happens to be though, give it proper attention ahead of time to avoid your costs spiraling.
How do I plan to get my book in front of readers?
When you first start dreaming up a brand new book, you might be focused entirely on its contents.
However, you need to think a step ahead. When every last word has been written and edited, and it’s time to share your creation with the world, how exactly will you make that happen?
Too many great books fall flat due to not having a promotional plan in place. Ask any experienced self-publisher and they will tell you that the best time to start thinking about marketing is before you even start writing.
If you feel a little stumped when it comes to marketing your book, here are three quick pointers to help you get started.
- Free book marketing. Could you use free ways to get your book in front of the right readers, such as optimizing its description, categories, and keywords?
- Paid promotion. Do you have the budget to invest in paid book promotion, like PPC advertising on Amazon? Advertising on high-impact book promotion sites is another great way to get bang for your buck.
- Done-for-you. Would you rather outsource your promotion to a pro? If you have the resources to invest, you can enjoy many of the same services provided by classic book publishers without their many drawbacks.
If you’re going to pour your time, energy, and effort into writing a book, it deserves to be read. Think carefully about who your readers will be and how you will reach them.
Where do I want this project to fit into my author career?
Often, when we’re writing a book, we get a kind of tunnel vision. We end up seeing our book as the be-all and end-all without thinking about how it will fit into the bigger picture.
While there’s no harm in writing and releasing just one book, the odds are that you won’t stop there.
After you’ve seen a book project through to completion, you’ll probably want to do it again. That’s equally true if you want to make improvements after a failure or keep the momentum going following a success.
If you can’t see how your book is a piece in a larger puzzle, take a moment to ponder these three points.
- Do you want to write and publish books full time? If so, will this book be the first in a series, or will you write about something related but different next time?
- Do you want to use your book as a means to an end, such as encouraging people to invest in a program or service you offer?
- How will you ensure any marketing you do for this book will have a snowball effect on your future efforts?
It might be tempting to take things one book at a time, but having a long-term vision in place from the start will help you make the right moves to realize it.