As you begin your publishing journey, make sure you stay on track by establishing what I call a “Publishing Playbook.” This is a summary document where you outline basic information about your book, your audience, and your message.
In your playbook answer these questions:
1. Why am I writing this book?
Answer candidly and date it. It’s important that you have a clear handle on your motivations for writing this book. What will determine if you are successful? The fact that you wrote it? If it sells a million copies? If your mother loves it?
2. Who is your intended audience?
Describe the typical person to whom you are writing. What is their age, gender, ethnicity, social/economic status? What are the common areas of influence that bind them together? Even if your message will have appeal to a wide segment of the population, for this exercise, identify who you think will be the most likely reader of your book. Don’t think about a generic, general audience of people. Think about a specific person.
3. What is the central benefit to the reader?
Your focus here is not on what’s in your book or what your book is about, but how your book will help the reader. How will your message help make their life better? Will it make them smarter, sexier, thinner, happier, or richer? You need to be very clear about what your book promises to do for the reader.
4. What is the unique message of your book?
What you are going to say that hasn’t been said a thousand times before, or how are you going to say it differently? How are you going to make your book compelling to read?
5. What marketing opportunities do you bring to the table?
Nobody — not your publisher, not your publicist, not your best friend — nobody should be more passionate than you about seeing your message get into the hands of the people who need it most. You must be your greatest cheerleader for your message. So decide right up front that you’re going to do whatever it takes to get your message out into the marketplace.
Social media can be a great way to spread the word about your book and get your message into the right hands. One of our clients, Donald Clinebell, recently reached over 20,000 “likes” on the Facebook page for his book The Service Driven Life!