Goldilocks Ghosting Service: Researching Your Nonfiction Book Concept/TopicDoes This Sound Like You?
Inspiration hits! The light bulb goes on! You’ve got a passion, and you are ready to pursue it! You see a need, and you want to fill it! You have a purpose, and you are ready to bring it to life!
These are all great reasons to begin writing your nonfiction book manuscript right away. Most potential authors, when struck by a good idea and the desire to write, simply get down to it. However, an even better reason exists to take a bit of time before you begin your project and that is to evaluate your idea at least if you want your book to be successful.
When Goldilocks begins her initial book dreaming and scheming phase, she typically spends a chunk of time in full research mode. If you’re someone who likes to write first, ask questions later, the idea of putting a pause on things to research might not appeal to you. But stay with Goldilocks here for a minute!
Evaluate! Goldilocks can hear you groaning. No one wants to research and analyze anything, especially that book idea you are so psyched about.
If you simply want to write the book of your heart and you don’t care how many copies you sell, great, go for it!
However, when you are dreaming of getting that coveted book contract with a traditional publisher or if you take the alternate route to self- publish your manuscript, it behooves you to take the time to consider if your idea is a good one by industry standards.
Researching your idea is beneficial in a few critical ways because you will…
- Gain clarity around not only what your book is about, but understanding what information should not be considered in your book content.
- Uncover the most timely themes related to your subject
- Confirm that you’re on the right track and are ready to begin writing your manuscript (or that you need to rework your concept)
Another reason that may compel you to do this task is that most of your research will be used when you write your Nonfiction Query Letter followed by a Nonfiction Book Proposal which is the first two steps that you will take down the road toward seeing your book manuscript accepted by a traditional book publisher.
So, what exactly does Goldilocks mean when she says to “research” your book idea?
It’s about setting aside a limited amount of time to explore your book idea from different angles, as well as connecting with potential readers to get additional insight into themes for inclusion.
To do this, Goldilocks suggests that you discover and analyze the following things about your book idea. Once you have this information, you’ll know if your book has a chance of succeeding.
What Your Book Will Be about and Why Someone Would Want to Read It
You’d be amazed at how many writers cannot tell you in 50 words or in 30 seconds, what their book is about. They also may not be able to list the benefits their book will provide to readers. Before beginning to write your nonfiction book, hone your topic and its angle. Figure out why someone else would want to read your book rather than another one on the same topic.
Write a pitch or “elevator speech,” a short statement that describes the essence of your book, and follow it with some bulleted points showing the added value readers will take away from its pages. Think of this exercise like writing the back cover copy for your book.
What might you say or write about your book that would make someone carry it to the register or complete a purchase on Amazon.com?
Who Wants to Read Your Book?
Make sure you can identify the target market for your book and the size of that potential readership. It is also important to know where you can find them and how to contact that group to market your book down the road.
Goldilocks has her methodology/process for determining your target market and as indicated earlier, it is an essential component of the Nonfiction Book Proposal that you will write as time goes on…
Determine Whether Your Book Will Be Unique and Necessary in the Marketplace
Make sure the book you plan on adding to the mix is not only unique compared to others in your niche or category but also necessary before you add one more title to the staggering number of selections available. Take a good hard look at what other authors have already written and published.
Will your proposed book offer a different slant on your subject/concept that will differentiate yours from the crowded market?
Take note if you can’t find other works that have been written on your topic or concept.
Is it because the market doesn’t want to consume information on that subject?
This question may be difficult to research and you may have to get out there on the forums, and blogs, and try and survey your potential market
Goldilocks has covered this exercise here…
Do You Have Enough Content to Write a Full Length Nonfiction Book?
Sometimes writers think they have enough material for a book when really they only have content for an article, or a series. Also they may think when reviewing the tons of source documents that they plan to include in their manuscript only to find after writing a first draft that they discover they produced copy that is scattered, rambling, misses the point, or leaves out essential information. You should be aiming for a total word count between 80,000-100,000 words especially if this is your first Nonfiction Book.
You can try and avoid these problems by mapping out your content first. Actually do a mind mapping exercise, which entails brainstorming while creating a large diagram of all your possible content and then organizing all these ideas into a table of contents (including sections and chapters.)
When you are done with this process you’ll know if you have enough content to fill a full length book and a general idea where you will position that material.
Goldilocks comes to the rescue with her methodology/process for getting this crucial outline compiled, and guess what?
You will need this also for your Nonfiction Book Proposal!
That reference material will help you to continue your research as follows…
How You Would Further Describe Your Book’s Content
Bring your book to life with a short summary for each chapter. This accomplishes two things.
First, when you couple this chapter-by-chapter summary with your table of contents, your pitch and list of benefits, you will have the best writing guide possible to help you transition into the writing stage of your project.
Second, when you have finished the summary of all your chapters, and you have completed the previous steps, you will suddenly have a clear picture of your book and feel ready to begin the writing process.
Why? You ask…
Because if your idea stood up to all the prior steps, it’s likely that your concept will make a viable book.
Why You Are the Best Choice to Write Your Nonfiction Book
Most nonfiction books are written by experts. Decide if you have enough credentials to write a manuscript on your given topic/concept. If you need more input to make your book viable, do you plan to use a co-author and/or interview other well- known people in the related industry?
Also, does writing this book fulfill a sense of mission for you? If so, you might want to consider how to get that message across in the book and in your promotional efforts. Plus, in this step, it’s important to ask yourself if you have what’s called an “author’s platform.”
Do you have a fan base or a large, loyal following of people who know you in relationship to the topic about which you plan to write?
If not, you need to consider how you will begin building that built-in readership for your book.
Goldilocks covers both of these issues in her Methodology/Processes as follows…
Okay, we are not quite done yet!
How You Will Help Ensure That Your Book Succeeds in the Market
Whether you decide to self-publish or land a traditional book deal, you will have to be proactive in promoting your book. Many authors feel that when they land a traditional publishing contract, when the book comes off the press and the publishing house launches your book, all you have to do is sit back and count your dough, isn’t that right, Goldilocks?
Not quite, once the main launch has been completed, it is now up to you to spread the word about your book release. Here is another incorrect assumption…
Promotion doesn’t start after the book lands in your hands as a finished product. It begins the moment that light bulb first goes off in your head.
Spend some time considering all the options you have to build awareness for yourself and your book as you begin the writing process as well as after you launch the book.
Goldilocks has provided a good source to gather this information and you can see it here…
There is just one other decision that you will have to make and it may require some research as well…
How You Want to Publish Your Book
At this point, if you decided your book is marketable and has a chance of succeeding, you can begin writing your book, with one caveat. You need to know what publishing route you plan to take.
If you plan on self-publishing, you can go ahead and write the whole book. On the other hand when you decide to approach traditional publishers, you only need to write around 50 pages.
You will also be required to initially provide a Query Letter and it will generally be presented to a literary agent that handles books in your genre. If the Letter is successful and a publisher wants to learn more about the book you want to write, you will be asked to submit a Nonfiction Book Proposal and one of the components of that document is that 50 page sample of your manuscript.
Once again Goldilocks provides guidelines on which chapters to include in your proposal…
Have a look!
As Goldilocks promised, all of the research you have done has a purpose and most of it will be needed for that Book Proposal.
Now that you are armed with this information, and assuming you discovered your idea is a viable one, you’re ready to take action on your inspiration. Turn your idea into a successful book!
* * *
Now that you understand the reasons for spending time researching your book topic/concept, you may not feel that you have the hours/days or the inclination to get this task completed and need some help just to get moving forward to start writing your book manuscript.
Goldilocks is only a click away and can either coach you through this process or you can hire her to get it all done for you and let you concentrate on compiling materials for your manuscript.
E-Mail her: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pick up the phone: 914-944-1474
Goldilocks Wishes You Luck with Your Journey to Become an Author!