By: Karen Rowe
Raise your hands, how many of you have been ‘writing your book’ or ‘working on your book’ for longer than a year? Keep them raised if it’s been longer than two years…five…a decade…longer?
I had a conversation with your unfinished manuscript and here’s what it asked me: what have you done for me lately?
If you are not writing today, or you didn’t write this morning, or you’re not going to be writing tonight, then you aren’t actually writing your book; you are talking about writing your book. Now while talking about writing your book is an important part of the writing process, that’s a subject for a different post. Today, we’re talking about taking action.
If you are not willing to take action on your book in the next 30 days, then chances are you never will.
Books are like a perishable food item: they have a shelf life. And I would estimate that time to be about a year. After that, too many factors have changed. You’re not the same person you were a year ago. And you won’t be the same person this time next year.
The market is not the same as it was a year ago: And it won’t be the same next year. If you started writing a book about vampires in 2005 and it hasn’t been published, I don’t need to tell you … you’re too late. If you’re writing the next ‘50 Shades of Grey’, well… that ship has sailed. What’s hot now may not be of interest when your book goes to print.
Hockey legend Wayne Gretsky’s is famous for his saying:
“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”
So find out where the ‘puck’ is going to be in your niche of expertise.
A few ways to do this are:
Do Some Research: Who are the “experts”, or who are considered the experts in your field, what’s trending in your market, what’s selling and what isn’t?
What Value Can You Add: Look at what’s missing: are there any issues that aren’t being addressed, or aspects that people are avoiding, holes in the topic area? What new and unique angle you can bring that is not already being addressed in the industry?
Be Willing to Piss People Off:
Don’t be afraid to take a stand, and have your own opinion. What is the insight or viewpoint you have that nobody else could bring?
When I first started freelance writing, I wrote an article about some teenagers that had microwaved a cat to death. I defended them. I got so much hate mail I thought I would never write another word again. I was shocked to discover that my editors were thrilled. It was driving traffic to the blog in droves. And that was my first lesson in the world of writing and business: Embrace your haters. If you are looking to create raving fans, people who really, really love you, you have to understand that inevitably, you’re going to have people that really, really hate you. Think Ann Coulter. She takes a position and isn’t afraid to stand by it.
Prosperity expert Randy Gage says, “I can promise you, if you’re not pissing some people off, you’re not doing relevant work.”
Make some predictions. What do you think is going to happen in the marketplace in the next year? Are there new laws or bills being passed, new legislation in your industry.
Write What You Care About: There’s no surefire way of predicting what people are going to love. So I’d also ask you to consider disregarding everything I just said and writing what is of interest to you instead of trying to ride the next big wave.
So if you aren’t prepared today to take action to move your book project forward, then you’re not ready. Or you’re not willing. So be honest with yourself. And then either start writing or let it go, forgive yourself and move on! I promise you that trapped energy can be used more productively somewhere else.
…Of course, if you’d rather have someone write your book for you, just drop me a line via the contact form on this site.