What are you trying to say?

Our first guest blog is by my friend an publisher Taryn Johnson, who offers some great tips on writing. If it's true that everyone has a book in them then here's some sage advice to help you get started. Thanks Taryn and enjoy...

When it comes to writing a book, there are a few things you need to consider before simply deciding to start and sitting at your desk typing away. Don’t get me wrong I know many authors that have done that but they’d all tell you that this was one of their first mistakes. I say first because when it comes to being an author you’ll make quite a few! Hopefully though, I can help you to avoid some of the pitfalls and keep you motivated to continue. One of the first questions I urge you to ask yourself is “What am I trying to say?” Followed by - “What is the message the book is conveying?” This will help you in so many different ways, it will: • Help you to decide the tone of voice • Help you to target your audience • Help you to determine how many other books are on this topic • Help you to decide how best to market it Once you know what it is you want to say you then have to decide how best to say it! One of the key most important things to remember is tone of voice. Regardless of the genre and topic the book HAS to sound like you. Don’t be tempted to write like everyone else. Just because an author is successful doesn’t mean you should emulate their tone, if in person you sound nothing like them. There is nothing worse than (especially in the self-help genre) reading a book and hearing the author speak, knowing that what you’ve read bears no resemblance to them. Don’t be afraid to use your own colloquialisms or phrases you’re known for. Once you’ve achieved this then it’s about figuring out the language for your audience. This is tricky if you’re writing for a younger generation for example as you need to ensure you come across as non-patronising but not too high level. It’s also worth spending time in book shops. This way you can see what’s already on the shelf in your field. By all means check out the competition and also take some time to look at designs and layouts. Being able to visualise how your book could look in your mind will help you on days when you feel you’re getting nowhere or hit the “wall”. Take some time to do your market research, find out if there is a readers market for what you want to write. Also what people in your field want to hear about. Finally before you start, make some clear notes, understand what you want to add in and I’d advise a skeleton to help you plan where the book is going to go and what the order of contents should be. Then it’s time to write.. remember “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.” Confucius If you’d like more help and advice then I’d be happy to chat to you!

Taryn Johnson
FCM Publishing

01522 262687