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3 Things You Must Know Before Writing That Book

You’ve decided that this is the year you’re finally going to write that book. You’ve looked at your schedule and established your writing times. You have your laptop, or if you’re like me, you’re favorite pen and a new journal. You’ve picked out your writing spot. You are ready to go. Now, there’s nothing to it but to do it.

But wait-

before you start writing that book, there are three things I want to make sure you’re clear about.
Which area of your topic does your book focus in?
Which people in that community are you speaking to?
What’s your relationship to the reader?

One of the biggest missteps we can make as authors is neglecting to specify before we start writing. When we neglect to specify, we risk writing an unfocused book,
a badly titled book,
a book whose visual presentation fails to represent what the book is actually about, and
we risk marketing it to the wrong people.
We risk wasting time, like if we end up having to restructure, or worse, completely rewrite it. As authors, specificity is our friend and is a key ingredient in creating a pleasant and integral experience for our readers.

Which area of your topic does your book focus in?
Let’s say you’re writing a book about gardening. There are many facets to gardening. Which of them are you writing about? Are you writing about how to prepare your backyard for that dream garden? Are you writing about the different kinds of succulents? Japanese gardens? How to care for your soil? What area of gardening are you writing about?

The answer to this question affects a lot of the aspects of your book writing process like the title and subtitle, chapter titles and their order, book cover design, interior layout, font choices, book structure, etc.

What people in that community are you writing to?
Let’s use gardening again. There are many different types of people and contexts in the gardening community. Which of them are you writing to? Are you writing to novice, don’t-know-a-dang-thing gardeners? Are you writing to people who want to garden but lead busy lives or live surrounded by concrete? Are you writing to children who want to learn how to plant and care for their own vegetables? Are you writing to people who want to know how to grow and care for orchids? Are you writing to artists who want to know how to draw plants more realistically? Are you writing to expert horticulturists?

Again, this answer is going to shape the various aspects of your book, like the tone of voice you use. Will your book’s tone be humorous or clinical? Technical or narrative? It also affects your word choice. You wouldn’t write to novice gardeners the same way you would if you were speaking to doctoral horticulturists or environmental scientists.

Who are you in relation to your reader?
I really think this is an important thing for us authors to consider. Are you the expert? Are you a guide? Are you a peer supporting a fellow peer? Your position in the relationship with your reader will affect your writing choices. You want to make sure they are intentional, clear, and consistent throughout the book.

I want to help you have an amazing writing experience where you are prepared to write with focus.

I want to help you have an amazing writing experience where you are prepared to write with focus.

Join me for a free webinar on January 22, 23, or 24, where I will lead you in 3 exercises to help you begin to understand who you serve, how you serve them, and where you fit in your larger industry.

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