Dr. Liz Alexander visited ThoughtWorks Bangalore today (Sunday Apr 29, 2012) to give a talk about writing a non-fiction book. Many thanks to her for agreeing to give a talk on a sunday morning. It was great to hear from someone who has written 13 books and has a readership of a million.
Below are my key takeaways from talk.
Why to write a book?
- The question I like to answer is ……
- Who is my target audience?
- Where are the audience and how do I find them?
- Establish a writing platform, show up at places, expand reputation. Blogs, magazine, conferences matter.
SEO of book writing, it is OES
- O-Opt-in identifier. Take into account demography and psychography.
- E-Emotional hook. Can people relate themselves to the book?
- S-Special sauce. Our knowledge and expertise.
Help from others
- We need the help of proof readers, critical reviewers, layout artists, cover artists, page look and feel designers for a book to be of publishable quality.
- Vanity publishing vs commercial publishing
- Vanity publishing requires upfront investment from the author to get it to the market.
- Commercial publishing takes a lot of effort, credibility, being at the right place right time. Also pays upfront but a lion’s share of revenue goes to the publisher for the risk taken.
Ego vs care for readers
- It will be tempting to push an idea into a book through vanity publishing which is like a startup idea being tried in a small office space at the corner of the road without any business plans.
- The desire to sell the books written will also focus on what the readers want than trying to get the book published and not sell much.
- Critical reviewers are very important to shape the final look. Friends, relatives and fans will just praise the effort without helping to improve.
Once again I thank Dr. Liz Alexander for her presence and sharing the knowledge, Rajiv Mathew for arranging the meetup.
Image: Rajiv Mathew/ThoughtWorks