I just met with an author — at least he COULD be an author, if he would only FOCUS a bit — about a possible book idea. He has tons of energy, lots of creative ideas, many marketing ideas, and a large network of people to whom he is either directly or indirectly linked. In many ways, he is an ideal person to work with. The problem, though, is that he is so energized about his ideas and the creative marketing opportunities that he hasn’t FOCUSED on the actual development of his book. There is a great book in him, but he is having trouble focusing and pulling it out of his mind. So, I urged him to focus on the book, and to set everything else aside for now. If you think you have a good book in you, urging to break forth, then focus on these things, so you can begin to put the ideas into book form and be able to communicate to a potential publisher:
1. What is the book about? Write a few sentences here, not the entire book. Express what the need for this book is. What will your book teach, illustrate, or how will it uniquely entertain?
2. What is so special about this book or your approach? How is it unique from the bazillion other ideas and books out there?
3. Why are YOU the best person to write or compile this book?
4. Who is going to be the CORE audience for the book? Who do you see picking it up and buying it and reading it? (Don’t say “everybody can and should read this, because the question is who is the CORE audience).
This could help turn good ideas into actual proposals, and the focus on these four elements can help a would-be author best communicate to a publisher. Publishers rarely want to see a manuscript until they have seen — and like — a good, solid proposal.