Will Anyone Read Your Book?
One of the most asked questions we folks who work in publishing and book coaching get is, “How do I know if anyone will read my book?”
The down and dirty answer is, you don’t. There is no guarantee that the audience you believe you have for your book, will read your book. Let’s get clear, when we say “read” we also mean “buy.” Isn’t that the big question? Who will buy your book? After all, you didn’t write it to sit on a shelf in a book store, nor did you write it to decorate the book pages of Amazon.
This question, who will read my book, how much money can I make from my book, is precisely why I say, NO! It’s why you shouldn’t write that book you’ve been toying with writing this year. No! No! No!
Your decision to write your book should never be based on who will read it or how much money you can make from it.
Instead, spend some time identifying not only the ‘who’ (your audience) and the ROI (return on investment – remember, time/energy/effort =ROI), but on research that will dictate the content you’re creating.
Why am I saying that? How can research dictate your content? Just so – research will show you how to write the book and how to assure that (a) there is an audience for it and (b) that audience will buy it. To help you on this journey, I’ve created a list. Enjoy.
10 Ways to Discover if Your Book Idea is Viable.
- Ask people. Ask colleagues. Ask friends. Ask strangers at the lunch table, during your next networking event. Don’t ask if they would buy a book about XYQ. Ask if they are interested in your topic. Ask what the last book they read on it is. Ask what was missing from that last book. Learn to ask open-ended questions that teach you more of what your audience wants to learn, so you can write about it in your book.
- Visit book stores and peruse the books already written on the topic. Who wrote them? Who published them? Are they current on their information? (you’ll determine this by looking at the table of contents and the index) Can you write a better book?e better, and how could it be better?
- Subscribe to and read Publisher’s Weekly. According to Publisher’s Weekly,
“Unit sales of print books rose 3.3% in 2016 over the previous year, making it the third-straight year of print growth”.
You can also learn what topics were covered, if you do a little searching on their site. Publisher’s Weekly is a mainstay of all publishing types and genres. No doubt, your book subject matter is covered somewhere.
- Read blogs. Lots of blogs. Not blogs like this one. Well, do read this one as I’ll have a wealth of information here on writing, publishing, and marketing. But, in considering the viability of your book idea, my advice is to read blogs that cover your book idea. Make friends with the bloggers by asking questions in the comments. Read the comments. Make friends with the commentators.
- Write your own blog. You knew I was going to say that. At this point, you are either quite smug because you do have a blog, and you write in it regularly, or you’re sighing loudly because you not only don’t have a blog, you don’t know how to get one started. Email me. I know how. One other bit of advice here, on your blog, routinely ask for feedback. Ask for feedback about your topic and about current books written about your topic.
- Make friends with at least 3 current book authors who write on your topic. Most authors today have websites or blogs. This is where you will begin your friendship with these 3 current authors. Ask them questions. Once you’ve established the relationship, pose the question about your book idea. Take their advice seriously.
- Pretend you’re the reader of your book. Does it make sense? Are you missing a key point? Is the title exciting enough? Does the title even need to be exciting? This is harder than you may think. It’s awfully hard to remove yourself from the task of writing to suddenly be the reader, but do it you must! You will fail quite a bit (because you are you, after all, and not the reader, after all) but the exercise will be invaluable!
- Create a workshop and teach your subject matter to a small group, or two. I won’t dictate the cost. You may charge what you feel you’re worth, or you may do it for free – for your local Chamber, for instance. The key is to teach your subject matter to real people, and both learn whether or not it’s viable, especially viable from your viewpoint, and whether or not the folks in the workshop will buy a book you might write. Yes, that means asking them. Go on, do it.
- Create a webinar. Repeat #8 but in a webinar online. Market it through Facebook. I can get you some smart contacts who can help you create a fabulous Facebook promotion. These two options are very similar, and one can easily follow the other. Once you’re created one, you can just recreate it in the other format. Don’t forget to ask the big question: will anyone buy your book – do they want a book by you, on the topic?
- Create a short ebook. There is nothing more inspiring than the task of writing a book you are passionate about. If the questions posed here are holding you back, one way to move yourself forward is to put your idea into a short (10 pages or less) ebook you can give away on your website. You’ll get a taste of writing the book, and you’ll get feedback from folks who download the PDF on whether or not a full-featured book is worth doing. Make sure you ask that question IN the ebook.
- Work with a book coach. A book coach can guide you through all 10 of these little bits of advice. She can and will prepare you for the process of writing your book, and help you develop a unique, strong, purposeful voice that separates you from all others who write in your subject matter. And, she can advise you on your publishing options and your marketing strategy.