Book Creation

Writing Tips

How to Identify Your Book’s Audience

If you ask many first-time authors who they imagine will be reading their book, you’re likely to get “There’s something in this for everyone” as an answer. Although this is a nice idea, it’s untrue. The old adage that trying to please everyone leads to pleasing no one is particularly relevant here. By trying to appeal to too broad an audience, you may undercut your book’s success.

You May Already Be Halfway There: Gathering Material for Your Book

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Once you’ve committed to writing a book, the task of creating enough material to anchor your ideas and build out a two-hundred-something-page work can seem daunting, to say the least. However, if you’re a thought leader in your field and have committed to bringing your ideas to the world in other mediums or modes of communication, you may be further along in the process than you realize.

If you have already written or spoken about the core themes you hope to emphasize in your book—in blog posts, speeches, or even social media, as just a few examples—your first order of business may not be creating new material but, instead, simply gathering the material already at your fingertips. More likely than not, this process will help you not only to determine and emphasize which themes are most important but also to discover your voice, your audience, and so much more. 

Expert Tips to Begin Writing Your Book

Many people dream of someday writing a book, but without a clear message and plan of action very few will even write the first word. Here are some tips on how to start writing a book from an editor with more than a decade of publishing-industry experience and hundreds of manuscripts under her belt.

How to Write an Acknowledgement Page

An acknowledgment section might initially seem like the simplest part of writing your book, but many authors feel stumped once they reach this part of the publishing process. How long should it be? Who to thank? How to say it? It can get surprisingly complicated surprisingly quickly. Read on for our tips on how to write a great book acknowledgment page.

Who to Thank in Your Acknowledgements

Similar to making a wedding invitation list, the names of people you want to include may seem to pile on top of each other fifty per minute once you start brainstorming, leaving you overwhelmed with who to thank. A good rule of thumb is to stick only to the people who helped you directly in writing and producing the book (ie: not your friend from pre-K who showed you how to tie your shoes, as invaluable that life lesson may be). Common acknowledgment ideas are family members, sources for nonfiction pieces, your editor and designer/illustrator, your publisher, and your book mentor. BPS also has a good piece of advice—“Be parsimonious in your praise of animals, too.” Sorry, Spot.

Titling Tidbits: Essential Elements of a Book Title

Trying to sell a book with an uninteresting title is like trying to sell a homely pre-owned car—the buyer is probably going to browse right over the rusted ‘99 Saturn to check out the pristinely waxed Honda parked next door. Although the interior looks great, and the gas tank is full, the Saturn’s dullness holds no ground against the Armor-All tires of its competitor.

Your book’s title serves as the deal breaker for your target consumers. Take a lesson from the used-car analogy and don’t let a dull or overused phrase ruin a book’s selling potential. A title should attract the intended audience, communicate the promise of the book, and differentiate the book in the market. Pick a title with purpose! Here we’ll discuss how to make that purpose come to life with brainstorming techniques, essential titling elements, and some no-no’s to avoid when narrowing down your title.

The Long Road to a Good Book Title

A book’s title is important. It’s a crucial summary of the essence of the content inside, and one of the key ways a book pitches itself to browsers when it’s all alone on the bookstore shelf. Get the title wrong and a book is crippled from the outset. And there are all sorts of mistakes to be made in titling: genre-inappropriate titles, overly clever titles that don’t reflect what the book’s about, titles with strange formatting or cute intentional misspellings that make the book not show up in online search results.

If you’re trying to title your book and getting frustrated, you’re in good company. For instance, George Orwell almost called his dystopian masterpiece The Last Man in Europe instead of 1984. Bo-ring. And Moby-Dick was named after a real-life whale named “Mocha Dick.” It’s a good think Melville changed it up—can you imagine the cleverly named Starbucks menu items? (Starbucks got its name in part from Captain Ahab’s first mate in the novel.)

Writing Outside Your Genre: What You Need to Know

A Little Background

You always hear at writers’ conferences to write what you love, or to choose your genre based on what you enjoy writing. If you’re writing purely for pleasure, this is a great idea. But if you’re interested in selling books in a crowded marketplace, you have to write about what you know. Writing a book within a genre where you have either credentials or expertise is one of the best ways to cut through the noise, because consumers have a good reason to put stock in what you’re saying. As a first time author, start writing where you have an audience. Are you a business owner? Write about entrepreneurship, company culture, or how to start a small business. Are you a life coach or speaker? Address a topic that you encounter or speak on frequently. Medical professional? Tackle health topics pertaining to your field. And the list goes on.

Changing Genres

So what happens when you’re ready to write your second book, and it’s in a genre divergent from your original book? This happens frequently when an established author decides to write a fiction book after a nonfiction release, or vice versa. Before you put pen to paper, there are a few things you might want to consider to give your new book its best chance of success.