Most people have a book idea in them. Some of those people write their book and a few will go on and publish the book. How many of them do you think know the why, the reason they wrote their book?
For novelists, the why may mostly be to entertain readers and share their story. For authors of nonfiction, the why can be quite important. If you don’t really understand why you are writing your book, how do you plan on marketing it, how will you know who your target audience is?
It is interesting to note that the first book idea many authors come up with isn’t always the best one for them to write. It might be a good second or third book, but as an unknown author the first book needs to be clearly about your central area of expertise. Then you can write more books that might branch off from this. Of course, for those second and third books, you should also understand your why.
So how do you focus in on the why of your book? Here’s a few tips:
- Who are you writing for? Who is your target audience? Is it the general public, is it academia, is it to help you get better known in your industry, is it a book for your business?
- What problems are you solving or what questions are you answering in your book? This might relate back to your target audience – do they have a problem you can help solve?
- What is the core idea of your book? Do you have a central theme that you can then expand on via parts, chapters and paragraphs?
- What will you do with your book once it is published? Do you plan on selling copies on your website, do you want to try and go into bookshops, do you want to sell it via Amazon and Booktopia?
One of the best ways to really zero in on your why is to plan out your book before you even begin writing. Try brainstorming with your central idea in the middle and then the concepts that relate to it. Then take those concepts and make them chapters, and start noting sub-headings for those chapters. If at any time in this process you feel like you are straying from your why, take some time to think about if it is still the real reason for your book, or if you need to think of a new why that is maybe more relevant.
If you can sort out the why and plan around it, writing your book will be much easier and more focused – it will save you time in the long run and you may find you have more than one book in you!