One of the questions I get asked quite frequently is, “How do you get started writing?” Sometimes the question is just making conversation. But when it is serious, it’s really wondering what is the first step to getting a book published.
After all, that’s the real target isn’t it? Getting a book published.
So where should you start?
The short and quick answer is it depends. It depends on what type of book you have written.
If you’ve written a fiction book, then the publication process begins with writing your book. Once you have a book that you think is publishable you can begin to search for an agent. To do this you’ll need a query letter. But the whole process begins with writing your book.
If your book is non-fiction then you have a different situation. You need to find the agent before you write the book. So the process begins with the query letter. Writing your book doesn’t happen until after the publisher has had a chance to have their input.
But that’s just the short, quick, and easy answer. The truth is elsewhere in the writing process.
You see both types of writing actually begin with planning your book.
Arguably your book begins with choosing the niche you will be writing in. Niche, micro-niche… sounds like marketing-speak doesn’t it? Yup, sure does… and there’s a good reason for that.
That is what we’re talking about.
Now personally, I prefer to think of the book process beginning slightly later in the whole process. I prefer to think of it as beginning with identifying your target reader. Why? Because by doing that you may find your niche changing. Or more precisely your vision of your niche will change to your customer’s view of the niche. This may be wider or narrower than you originally thought.
So your first step in getting your book published is to know who will buy your book. Because, quite frankly, if you are going to publish a book, it needs to have sales. You might find someone to publish your first book by mistake (or you might do it), but you’ll never find someone to publish your second book if you don’t have sales. And having sales means having readers.
The best way to be sure you have readers, is to write a book that your readers will want to buy. To do that you need to have identified a reader and then determined what they want to read about.
As Stephen Covey said, “Start with the end in mind”. And publishing isn’t the end. Selling books and pleasing readers is.