4 Questions Every Book Author Should Ask Themselves…BEFORE They Start Writing

Image source: Robert Fowler

There are four questions that every prospective book author needs to ask before they start writing.

  1. Why do I want to write this book?

There’s no wrong answer to this question, but starting to write without knowing why you’re doing it is a recipe for losing steam and/or interest after a few days or weeks of writing. Why do you want to share this book’s particular message with the world? What do you want your readers to think, feel, and do when they read it? Just as importantly, what do you want the book to do for YOU? Do you want it to make you money, grow your business, establish you as an expert, make you the next ________? Get clear on these questions before you start writing, and you’ll be able to come back to them for inspiration and motivation while you write.

2. Who am I writing this book for?

This is a question that many authors either miss or misunderstand. Yes, you’re writing the book for yourself, but the question isn’t about you. It’s about your audience. Think about who will read this book. Think about why they’ll read it. Think about what they will get out of it — what’s in it for them? Your audience has issues, problems, and pain points, and it’s your book’s job to solve at least one of them. Before you start writing, figure out what that pain point is and plan your writing around fixing it.

3. What am I writing about?

The great thing about this question is that it naturally follows from the last one. Once you know who you want to talk to and what their pain point is, what to write about is a lot easier to figure out. Simply call on your experience, knowledge, and/or depth of research to plan a book around making your audience’s lives easier.

4. How will I write?

“On my laptop, duh!” Okay, there are a dozen cute answers to this one, but what it’s really about is strategy. As much value as there is in the advice to simply sit down and start writing, authors who write without a plan are much less likely to finish their books, let alone become successful writers. Start with when you want the book draft to be done, then work backwards from there. Figure out how much you’ll need to write every week or even every day to make that happen. Put that writing time into your schedule. Build in some wiggle room, since nothing ever goes 100% as planned. Then when you start writing, stick to that strategy as best you can. Make following it your goal, and finishing the book will take care of itself.

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