Deciding to step out and write a book is an exciting decision. However, before you start writing, there are some things you need to know. The type of book you are writing and how much you already know will determine just how much you will need to learn before you can begin the process.
While there are several things you need to know before writing your book, the two main categories I would break them into are facts and craft.
I love reading historical fiction. There’s just something… less stressful about things gone by. One of the biggest complaints I’ve seen in reviews from other readers in this genre is historical inaccuracies. If you are writing historical fiction, researching the time period is crucial. You have to know everything from what they ate to what they wore (and what they called it), and even how they talked, walked, and traveled.
There are resources for almost every time period you can think of for historical fiction authors. My old library had a whole section with monstrous books on time period clothing among other things.
Even if you are writing in modern day, it is important to check your facts. I read through a heated debated a while back in the comments section of an Amazon review where two reviewers were arguing about whether or not the main character (MC) should have been getting eggs out of a hen house on a snowy day.
Another example would be if you write a scene about a car breaking down and your MC has to take it to the mechanics to get it fixed, you need to make sure your symptom matches the diagnoses.
It’s that simple.
Unless your work of fiction is based in a fantasy world, you need to make sure you have your facts straight. Take the time to do some research and make sure you are writing a believable story.
If you are writing fantasy, facts still matter, you just only have to worry about being consistent and true to what you have created. But consistency in your facts is still important.
If you are writing non-fiction, facts matter even more. Non-fiction authors are generally experts in their fields, so having factual errors can severely damage your credibility. And, depending on your niche, it could be detrimental to your readers if you have incorrect information or portrait an opinion as a fact.
What it comes down to is that, for the most part, it doesn’t matter what you are writing, having your facts straight is a must. Then comes crafting the facts into a book worth reading.
Writing is an art. If you want to do well, you have to learn the craft. Most experts recommend writing every single day. The more you write, the better you will get. But it is equally important to study the craft of writing. On our blog, I have listed 6 books on our blog that I recommend for learning the craft of writing. You can find them here: www.trainingauthors.com/6-books-every-writer-needs
However, the craft of writing is about more than just learning to write. Crafting a fiction story is almost more important than having a story worth telling. I have read countless books that were well written that I cannot for the life of me remember what they were about, but I finished them (and probably left a decent review on Amazon). On the flip side, if the author could not craft the story in a believable or coherent manner, I probably put it down and/or left a negative review.
Learning to write well takes work.
Most people cannot just wake up one day and decide to write a book—at least not a good one. You will need to know about character development, plotting, point of view, story structure, and so much more.
Shelley wrote a post on our blog with six essential books for fiction authors (you can find it here: www.trainingauthors.com/6-essential-books-for-fiction-authors), but if you are writing a fiction novel, you’ll need to do even more research than just those six books. If you want to succeed, you need to study and learn the craft.
While most non-fiction authors don’t need to study plotting and character development, knowing how to craft a sentence, use correct grammar, and outline a book are all still important. Finding books to help non-fiction writers with their craft is much more difficult than finding books for fiction authors, but they do exist. You can find a list of books I recommend on our website here:
Additional Research for Non-Fiction Authors
Another thing that non-fiction authors should research ahead of time is their niche and target audience. Before you write a non-fiction book, you need to know that there is an audience for it. Who will read your book? Then, you should write it with them in mind. If you are writing a book for teens, you will want to know the way they talk, words they use, and examples they will relate to.
Non-fiction authors should know quite a bit about their market before they sit down to write their book. They need to know what their target audience has questions about or is interested in. Knowing your market beforehand will help you write a book they want to read.
I encourage you to take the time to do the research you need to write a great book with best-seller potential.
Research really can make the difference.