Answer This Question Before You Write A Book.

Before you write a book…

…and do research

…and create worlds

…and outline

…and come up with interesting character names with clever backstories

…and before you buy really nice pens

…or buy confusing software

Ask this question: “Who is this book for?”

Is it for you? Is it because you want to show your Mom how awesome you are? Is it for others to buy?

This kinda sounds like a ridiculous thing to think about. But the answer will determine a lot.

If it’s just for you, then it won’t matter when or how you finish or how many copies you sell. You’ll be done.

If it’s to show your Mom how awesome you are, maybe some hugs, flowers or a nice gift card to Target will do. There are easier things to do than writing a book.

If it’s for others to buy — then you have to see if there’s a market.

People expect a certain thing in books.

Whether it’s mystery or literary fiction or suspense or whatever. Books fit into genres, patterns and tropes. An academic research book has feels different than a YA trilogy.

You have to keep that in mind.

Otherwise you’re creating an answer to a question no one has asked.

What’s awesome is when the stuff you like and the stuff other people like overlap.

My book is coming out soon and I don’t know if this will happen. I think I wrote it for myself, without admitting that. I wrote it for me, but secretly hoped other people would buy it.

Then of course, the next logical question is “What’s next?”

Maybe the next time, I’ll ask the right questions before creating an answer to a question I haven’t even asked.


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I’m Josh Spilker, a writer and author. I blog about the writing process at Create, Make, Write and write about everyday life at Vaguely Feel. For more like this, follow this publication: