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Want to Write a Book? 5 Questions You Must Answer Before You Start

Last week, I met my friend Dave for coffee. Dave is a serial entrepreneur. He’s smart, funny, personable … and he has a great story. He’s been through the wringer – not once, but several times. And each time life has knocked him sideways, he’s used it as an opportunity to grow and develop into the person he wants to be.

He’s told his story several times. People love it.

He’s told it to me. I love it.

“Write a book!” he’s been told.

So he and I met to discuss a book. It’s a big project. And it’s not a quick or easy (or a get-rich-quick) kind of a project. But I’m excited about it.

To date, I’ve edited two books and co-authored one. The first book I edited was a memoir told in free verse, poetry slam-style. It was heart-breaking and gorgeous at the same time. It was picked up by a small publishing house, and the last time I spoke with the author, she wanted to build a self-empowerment/lifestyle brand around it.

The second book I worked on was as co-author. It’s a how-to guide on a highly technical subject; nothing like it exists on the market. We’re going to self-publish it and hopefully recoup all of the time we put into it. Will we get rich? Nope. But it’s a nice feather in our caps.

For the third back, I acted as editor. It covers a popular topic that I’m super familiar with, but with a new angle. The author wrote it to share her knowledge, give her thought leadership a nice boost, and use it as a marketing tool. She self-published as well.

Dave’s book will be my fourth book project. As you can probably imagine, I’ve learned a little about what to ask BEFORE you write a book to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.

Here goes:


Will you use your book for marketing purposes? To further cement your status as a thought leader? To make money? To boost your ego? To raise visibility? To share a unique idea that no one has written about yet?

There is no right or wrong goal. Just be realistic.

What is unique about your idea?

Has this subject been covered before? If so, do you have a unique angle? Or is this completely new? If so, is there an audience for it?

Who is going to read it?

How large is the target audience? How are you going to reach them? If a publisher picks up the book, how many people in your audience/network will buy it?

There is nothing worse than to write a book no one reads.

How much marketing can you do for it?

How are your marketing skills? Beginner? Advanced? Nonexistent? How much time can you devote to it? How tenacious are you?

Whether you self-publish or work with a publisher, you will have to do a lot of marketing for your book. The more marketing you can do, the more successful your book will be.

Do you have the time to write a book?

Do you work full-time? Are you married? Do you have kids? Friends? Hobbies, sports, and other activities you love to do? In between all of that, do you have time to write a book? Even 30 minutes a day is better than nothing!

Have any other questions about book writing or editing? Shoot me a note – happy to help!

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