top of page

Recipe for Authors: Three Questions before You Write

The most important part of writing happens before you begin to write.

Too many writers start with “Once upon a time” and expect the words to flow all the way to “Happily ever after.” I know, Stephen King says he does it that way, and maybe he does. If it works for you, ignore the rest of this post.

For the rest of us writers who are mere mortals and struggle with words and story, some advance planning will solve common authors’ problems.

  1. Endless drafts

  2. Disappointment with book sales

  3. Ineffective book marketing

Endless Drafts

You can cut down the number of drafts by planning your book ahead. Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you make the writing easier by creating a map before you write.


Setting goals ahead of time will tell you what you really want to accomplish with your writing what it’s going to take to get there.

Will you beat yourself up if you don’t sell at least 5,000 copies? Then you need to figure out what it’s going to take to make those copies sell. It will cost you money, time, and effort.

I know a man who wants to sell lots and lots of copies of his book. But he wasn’t willing to make the changes to make it a salable book, and he’s not willing to learn to use social media and the other tools available to him to sell more copies.

There’s nothing wrong with deciding against that investment, but if the copies don’t sell, don’t be surprised.

If you do put effort into marketing, and the books don’t sell as well as you would like, then you can analyze your results to see what you can improve next time.

Ineffective Book Marketing

The key to making your book marketing count is to know your audience. Know them as well as you know your brother or your best friend. What they think, how they feel, what worries them, what makes them feel safe.

If you write fiction, it’s all about immersing them in the story so that they can’t leave.

In a video of a keynote speech, Seth Godin says that your audience (and everyone) is saying, “People like us do things like this.” In other words, they have an image of themselves, and what you’re promoting must fit that image, or they won’t relate to it.

Three Questions

If you’re planning to write a book, I’ve got three questions that will help you get it on track and stay that way.

  1. What is your goal for writing?

  2. Who is your audience?

  3. What transformation does your book offer?

If you’ve already started writing, these questions may help gather up the threads of your book so that you have more control over where it’s going.

If you’ve already published your book, you can use these questions to measure whether your goals matched your results and what you might do differently next time.

With a little time and these three questions, you can map the territory you want to cover before you begin.

4 views0 comments


bottom of page