So many writers I’ve met over the years struggle with one major problem. They have written their heart and soul into a book and now no one will buy it. It’s a heart-wrenching struggle that I have been through myself. Now, as an author coach, I bring this question up to anyone who is starting on this journey. I want you to start your journey in a better place than I found myself 10 years ago.
I had written my book and taken years to do so. I spent another couple of years begging and pleading for it to be published. I was traditionally published and then I was left alone to drown in the storm of publishing and marketing. I had no idea what I was doing and I floundered rather quickly. You see a big publishing guru once said, “when your book is finished and published, your work is only 5% complete.” That’s right. Marketing your book takes 95% of your effort. And if you’re not willing to do this, then continue writing as a hobby.
I know that sounds harsh, but it’s the truth and sometimes the truth hurts especially for writers. This is another question I ask a new writer.
Does your book have a market?
You see people are under the assumption that you get paid for time and you get paid for products that you sell. This is not true. You do not get paid for time or you would get paid to sit and do nothing. You do not get paid for selling products or you wouldn’t have to do anything. The product would automatically sell itself and money would end up in your pocket.
I want you to realize that you get paid for bringing value to the marketplace. Your book needs to bring value to the potential reader. If the reader cannot see this potential value, they will not purchase the book even if it were available to 10 million people tomorrow.
People buy perception. People buy what they think they will get out of a product. Does your product aka your book, bring value to your potential reader?
How can a book bring value to a person you might ask. Here are a few examples. Your book can bring entertainment value to those who are looking to escape the realities of life. J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter are a perfect example. She has created an entire alternate reality around fantasy fiction. Your book may also inspire people. Perhaps your writing will inspire people to better themselves to lose weight, to grow spiritually, or perhaps to inspire them to reach for their dreams
The other way a book can provide value is to educate. Perhaps your work will teach someone how to bake a cake as good as Grandma’s. Maybe it will teach them how to care for themselves or care for their family. Or it could help the reader grow with a bit of wisdom and personal development.
Whatever the value may be a reader must see the potential value before they purchase your book. Now you might say, how is this book valuable to my mother who buys every book I write? Well, she values the relationship she has with you whether she values the book or not. So, when you ask your friends and family to buy from you whether you are selling cosmetics or you’re selling your book they usually buy from you not because they see value in the product but they see value in their relationship with you and they want to support you.
Whatever the case may be, when creating your book you need to ask yourself is there a market for this book? Is there a group of people that would benefit from this book? If the answer is “no,” then perhaps you should write something else.
Say you want to write a book of haiku poems. Ask yourself this. Is there a market for books of haiku poems? Then research that market. If there is a market for haiku poems, I am not aware of it. It would be a very niche market.
You have to find the target audience for haiku readers and market directly to them. I’m not saying it’s impossible to write whatever you want. But, depending on what you call success you need to have these things in mind before you start.
Now if your idea of success, is to have your book published and to give it to friends and family or to sell it at a local library at an author event, then so be it. Do it. Go for it. If your idea of success is broader in scope and nature then perhaps you need to study the market and ask yourself if there is a market for your book.
I started out writing a book and found out the hard way that there was a market for my book 10 years ago but there wasn’t when my book was published. I grew up reading a certain genre of book, so my first book fit perfectly in that genre. Unfortunately by the time I was an adult publishing my work, that genre was almost dead. You need to keep this in mind when you write.
If you want to write for the sake of writing, then, by all means, write what you please. But if you are wanting to find a level of financial success in your writing career then I suggest you write for the market.
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