Five questions to ask before starting your book

Five questions to ask before starting your book

Publishing and marketing a book is an all-consuming process. That’s why it’s worth getting ahead and doing some preparation. Below is a list of five issues to consider before starting your book.

Each one will help get you get a piece of essential work done. As with any project, writing a book depends on good planning and preparation. So thinking through these issues could be the difference between success and failure.

Use these areas as a checklist and go through each one before starting your book. It may only take a few minutes to prepare, but those few minutes could make a big difference to your book.

Here are the five issues you need to consider before starting your book.

1: Do you have the money?

  • Set your book budget based on what you are able to invest in it. This will stop you getting carried away and over-spending. It will also mean you don’t have to worry about having to stop work part-way through due to lack of funds.
  • Think about the kind of book you want to write. What resources or help will you need to get it done i.e. editing, coaching/mentoring, technical work. Get some quotes and find out what everything costs before you begin.
  • Look around and check out some prices: how much will it cost to get the help you want with your book i.e. do you want a book coach or mentor, an editor, a cover designer, an eBook formatting service? Only budget for the services you want or need.
  • Review your budget and check that it’s realistic. Avoid trying to do all the work yourself, especially if it will take a long time, be difficult to learn or cause you stress.

2: Do you have support and help on hand?

  • Consider who you want to hire to help you with your book. Who is going to edit it, coach you through the writing process, design your cover and format your book for electronic publication etc. Are you happy to source a supplier through online platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr or People Per Hour? Or would you prefer a recommendation from someone you know?
  • What experience do you need from your team? Don’t hire a proof-reader to ‘edit’ your book if you really need a ghost-writer. Educate yourself so you can hire the right people to do the right jobs.
  • Before starting your book, gather together a small support team of friends and family. This will give you accountability as well as opportunities for pick-me-ups if you need them. Keep your support team intimate so you can truly share any low moments – Facebook isn’t the place for this!
  • Get some reviewers in place. Ask other experts in your field, colleagues, clients and any ‘big names’ you know if they’ll either give you feedback or give you a review you can use it to promote your book.


    Good preparation can help make your book easier to write.

3: Have you done some research and development?

  • Once you have an idea, spend some time exploring and developing it. Write, think, play and allow your idea room to grow and evolve. You can do this by writing blog posts, posting ideas on social media, deepening your knowledge and asking questions.
  • Develop some book title ideas before starting your book. Think about what you want your book to be about and what you want to say. Get a picture in your head of what you want, create a vision board or gather a file (real or virtual) of other titles and covers you like.
  • If you want to produce a printed book, take a look around at the different Print on Demand companies and get some dummy copies (blank versions of books) so you can see what your finished book will look like. You could even get a dummy cover produced and wrapped around your dummy book (publishers do this all the time!) to create a prototype. You can then get feedback on it or use it to pre-sell your book it at talks.
  • Use your dummy book to guide your decisions about the length (number of pages), size (i.e. A5, 5” x 8“, Pocketbook) and paper quality (cream, pure white, heavier weight paper) of your book. A physical dummy will help you make decisions and produce the book you want. It will also help you work out how long you want to make your book and how many words you’ll need to write to fill it!
  • Get a 3D image of your book made up early on so you can use it on early promotional material and to get a feel for how your book will look when it’s finished (you can get this done for $5 on
  • Are there are areas of your knowledge where there are gaps? Do you need to support your ideas with additional facts and data? If so, begin doing that research now. Gather together any quotations, case studies or stories that will illustrate your key points. Seek out anyone you want to interview and start to schedule the time you need into your diary.

4: Have you considered your sales and marketing approach?

  • Before you begin to write, think about how you are going to market and sell your book. Use the time before you start work on your book in earnest to create some free resources so you can build your list. This will make your launch easier and help you sell more books.
  • Spend some time getting clear about why you are writing your book. Is it to get people into your sales funnel? Is it to promote your courses or workshops? Is it to enhance your reputation in your field? Is it so you can get noticed and widen your reach? Use this information to help you shape your book so it meets your goals.
  • Make sure you have a sales page/autoresponder system set up for list-building purposes. It can be demanding to do this kind of tech work while you are in the throes of writing and publishing your book. It’s especially hard if you’re not comfortable with techie stuff or it’s something you find challenging.

5: Can you make the time to do the work?

  • Plan, plan, and plan again! The more you plan, the more easily you will write and finish your book. Planning force you to think ahead so you make informed decisions. It will save you a lot of time if you make a few key decisions early on.
  • Decide on a publication date and work out whether it is achievable. Publishing involves other people so make sure you leave enough time for editors etc to do their work. Bear in mind that it can take time to get review copies of your book back from a Print On Demand company and for all elements of a Kindle book to go live on Amazon (i.e. Look Inside facility).
  • Get as many routine jobs done in advance as you can i.e. blog posts, social media, business admin etc. Free up as much time as possible so you can focus on your book while you’re writing and publishing it.

Finally, keep up your momentum. Do as much preparation and planning as you can in advance of starting your book. Anything you do ahead of time will be a help. Apart from anything else, it’ll be easier to do this sort of work before you start writing and marketing your book.

If you want to write a book but you’re not sure how to get started, why not book a free session with me to talk through the process and what you might need to get started. Arrange a FREE Publishing Strategy session today and work out the best way for you to publish your book so you achieve your goals and dreams.

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About The Author

Deborah Taylor

Deborah Taylor is a book-writing coach and publishing consultant. Her goal is to make publishing easy, fast and fun so all entrepreneurs from coaches and consultants to therapists and trainers can get a book out there that will launch their business. Deborah has 15 years' publishing experience gained with blue-chip publishing companies such as Hodder & Stoughton, BBC Books, Cassell and Pearson. She has extensive editorial experience working with a wide range of experts from chefs and gardeners to life coaches and careers consultants. Deborah's goal is to get your book published, and having achieved that with well over 100 books already, she is confident that she can help you publish yours too.