Monday, October 12, 2015

Market Research Comes First

I have seen a lot of writers lately really missing out on some great opportunities. Along the same lines, these authors are also, in my opinion, wasting a lot of their time on projects that will simply not go anywhere. No, this doesn't have anything to do with their writing ability. It all comes down to the lack of market research the author did. These stories simply don't have a market.

Writing and marketing books is just like creating and marketing any other product out there. Before you go out and spend an extraordinary amount of time and money on that product, successful manufacturers will take the time to explore the market. They need to take the time to see if the market really needs this product, if their is a demand for it, and if the time and money spent on the product will be worth it in the end. For authors, they need to do the same thing.

Although you might have this great idea for a book, you might have a story that is well written but simply cannot be sold.

I just got back from a conference where I spoke with one author about this same concept. She had some great story ideas, but what she wanted for the book was something that was simply not going to happen. Her stories had a market that was only going to work with very small local historical societies and museums. The key here is that it was local because the topic of her book was so focused. As we talked about the book, it was clear this was a well written story, but she simply didn't do the market research.

As we talked about the book, we created a plan for her. This plan is something that she should have probably done before she wrote the book, and is certainly an approach that every author should take before you really invest time in that latest work in progress.

The first step is to decide what she really wanted with her writing. This included considerations of the type of book she envisioned, did she want to really make money off of these books or where they just hobbies, and even which publisher she really wanted to work with.

Secondly, she also needed to spend time in bookstores looking at other authors. During this time, she needs to think about where she saw her book. Which book shelf would she see her book on.

Now here is the key thing. If she were to find that there were no bookshelves out there for her story, this is not a reason to proclaim that you have something out there that people definitely need. This is what a lot of authors seem to think. "No one else has done it so I am unique!" Yes, you are unique, but that doesn't mean it is necessarily marketable. It means your book simply doesn't fit the market.

Don't get me wrong here. I do want you to write the story of your heart. I want you to write the story you are passionate about. But I also want you to remember that this is a business and your book is a product. The readers are the consumers and if you don't have something the consumers want, your book will not sell.

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