Purpose & Plan

If readers don’t know your book exists they won’t look for it! - Cynthia Lee De Boer

When we write it’s an absolute must to decide on our purpose and from that, we can plan how to reach our intended audience.

My purpose for writing ‘Me, Myself & Eye, The Realities of Living With a Prosthetic Eye’, was to inspire others to find their inner strength through this challenging time of loss by offering important information. The taboo of a ‘glass eye’ definitely needs to be addressed and I was determined to bring it into the light of understanding. My plan was born from this. I sent out one hundred and seventy-one books to ocularists (medical artists creating prosthetic eyes) around the country and began speaking and attending book signings.

Here are two very different purposes:

1. Ernest Vincent Wright’s purpose for ‘Gadsby’ was to write a Lipogram (a text which excludes a letter or letters). ‘Gadsby’ excludes the vowel ‘E’ from its 50,000 plus words. The letter ‘E’ is used nearly five times more than any other and Wright wanted to prove no matter what others believed it could be done.

2. Jean-Dominique Bauby’s purpose for ‘The Diving Bell & The Butterfly’ was to write his account of life before and after a stroke left him with Locked-in Syndrome. It was written with help, Dauby would choose one letter at a time by blinking his left eye.

Back to you: Are you compiling your family tree to share with children and relatives? Are you writing a ‘How To’ book for a specific market? Is your book a memoir, emphasizing a particular issue or location? Are you writing for children, what age group? Or, are you writing for your enjoyment to become a published author?

Once your purpose is clear. Write it down and post it where you work. It will help keep you on track. It’s easy to start out with a simple idea or plot and then the ‘What Ifs?’ enter your mind. You begin to think ‘what if’ I add another character, location or more information. Before you know it, the real purpose for your work is unrecognizable – lost in the pages of extras. Once again, decide on your purpose, write it down, keep it in plain view and in the forefront of your mind at all times. Believe me, I went through a few rewrites because I wanted to add things that didn’t really fit my true purpose.

“If readers don’t know your book exists they won’t look for it!“

How do you decide on a plan? Well here it comes folks, that four-letter word, WORK! As hard as you worked writing your book you will have to work just as hard on every aspect of publishing and marketing. This takes time, research and experimentation on the possible ways to reach your target audience.

First things first! You need to be absolutely sure that you retain all your rights, in country and foreign. Retain complete ownership of your cover, artwork, and photos, literally every part of your book. This has to be part of the plan!

What we see first: We’ve all heard the saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” but as readers, we do exactly that. One of the best ways to choose a cover is to explore other books in your genre. This will help you decide exactly what appeals to you. A cover can reveal or conceal your plot so plan it carefully. How much do you want to give away? Many authors are overwhelmed and turn to cover designers for help.

Genres dictate page count and printing style. For example, books used in a speaking platform will typically be between one hundred and one hundred and fifty pages in length, while children’s stories vary widely on age with many telling the story through illustrations with minimal wording. Plan to fit your genre.

Plan your font type and size. If you’re writing a children’s book these change with the age you’re writing for. A young children’s book may need a cartoon like font in a large size while, an adult comic be completely different. In my case, I chose a simple 16-point font for ease of reading for those visually challenged. You will also need to decide what size, paper type, binding and if it’s to be a hardbound or paperback book? All aspects influence your book’s appeal and printing cost.

Remember to include reviews, testimonials and any sponsors you may have in your book. If you’re writing with the intention of using your book as the platform for a speaking career, part of your plan should include a Press or Media Kit. This contains a press release, a biography and some frequently asked questions. These are then sent out to prospective clients and sometimes include a copy of your book. Social Media and website needs also differ depending on the purpose of the book.

Finally, editing is a must, and differs on specific needs and genres. Consulting specialists on cover design, layout and printing is also wise. And of course, one of your greatest resources is a fellow author that has traveled the same road. Reach out for advice and support each other when possible.

Writers are passionate about our craft and passion deserves to be shared.





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