How confident are you in making the right move toward the next step in your writing and publishing journey?
If you have aspirations of becoming a writer, you might be contemplating the most appropriate information to guide you on your path to authorship. While I would love to say there is a simple list that applies to everyone, I wouldn't be helping as many of you as I'd like, so let's break it down a little more.
Ten Questions for the Nonfiction Writer:
Who is your audience?
What makes you the expert?
Are you talking about this subject in other spaces besides your book?
Who are the other authors writing on this subject?
What makes your book different from what's already been published?
If you plan on submitting to agents, do you have a proposal for your book worked out?
Do you have at least five industry connections to help promote your work?
Why does your audience need the information you're writing about?
What ten questions could your reader have about this subject and have you answered those questions thoroughly and concisely?
Is your whole life interesting enough to write an autobiography, or should you consider a more narrowly focused memoir?
Ten Questions for the Fiction Writer:
What are the lessons your readers will glean from your book?
Have you compared your cover art to others on the market right now?
Have you done any title research to see if other books on the market already have your title and what you would be competing against.
Have you crowd sourced your audience for opinions on titles, names, covers, etc.?
Has your book seen at least five sets of eyes besides your own for editing and feedback?
Does your book start in the action or do you have too much exposition and backstory?
If you're writing a series, do you have a plot mapped out throughout your books?
Have you established the rules of your world if your book is not based on Earth?
Do all of your named characters have an established purpose, and do you know whether or not they achieve their goals in the story?
Do your characters have their own voices and personalities?
Ten Questions for Querying:
What are three comparable titles to your work?
Have you researched the best agents for your genre?
Have you read the submission guidelines for each individual agent you plan to query?
Have you gotten your query letter professionally edited?
If your book includes illustrations, do you have a dummy copy ready?
Are the agents you plan to query open for submissions?
Do you know what your top five non-negotiables are when it comes to changing or altering your book content?
Have you established your goals enough that you would be willing to stay on submission for as long as it takes to secure an agent?
Have you researched what it is like to be on submission and the dos and don'ts of the industry/market/genre you're writing in?
Have you considered hiring a lawyer to look over any and all contracts before you sign to ensure you're getting the most favorable deal you can?
Ten Questions for the Published Author:
Do you have an audience set up who is interested and willing to purchase your book? (This should be made up of more than your friends and family).
Do you have a marketing plan?
Are there podcasts, interviews, or local papers you could speak or write to in order to spread the news about your book?
Would any local shops be willing to carry your book?
Have you requested your book at your local library?
Have you asked your long-distance friends and relatives to request your book at their local bookshops and libraries?
Are you speaking about your book on social media?
Do you have a place like an email list or a website where readers can sign up to stay in touch and get notifications about future events or new books?
Are there any local writer's groups you could join or speak at to help other aspiring authors?
Do you have a group of industry professionals you can connect with and bounce ideas off of as you continue your work as an author?
It may seem like a lot to a new author, but all of the questions above are so important to being a successful writer and author. Many new writers don't know the first thing about the industry or what is needed to make the right connections, so it is always important to do your research and spend time thoroughly exploring your options. Not all agents and publishers will be right for your book. Not all professionals are looking to read everything that comes across their noses. Don't send things to people who haven't asked for it or are not getting paid to look at it.
If you have any other questions, or would like to see us go more in depth about anything mentioned above, please feel free to contact us and we may just include the conversation in a future post.
We are always looking to work with published and aspiring authors. If you're interested in having a helpful and knowledgeable team at your side, book a free consultation to discuss your goals and possible paths to success.
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Lexi Mohney is an award-winning, self published author and a book coach living in Ann Arbor, MI. Throughout her writing and coaching career, she's lived by the motto of "six seconds of insane courage," and worked with her own coaches, groups, and support system to see her Big Audacious Dreams come true. Her greatest goal is to help others achieve success of their own. Her first published piece, Carnal Knowledge, won an award at the 7th Annual Bisexual Book Awards in NYC in June 2019. These days, you can find her working with clients or on her own writing (you can't have writer's block on multiple books at once). Contact her through her website or on social media.