Yesterday, I mentioned that I was going to split this post in half. Today, I am posting 2.2 of Know What Your Book Is About. If you haven’t read Part 2.1, you can read it here.
Yesterday, we touched on the subject, What is Your Book About? And I went through each section, explaining my process with my own work in progress, Curse of the Midnight King.
Today we’ll be continuing Step #02 of The Author Training Manual by Nina Amir by answering the questions, How Will Your Book Benefit Readers, and Does Your Book Have a Purpose?
HOW WILL YOUR BOOK BENEFIT READERS?
In The Author Training Manual, Amir says, “Your book must focus on providing readers with benefits. Think of benefits as concrete “things” you will “give” readers in the pages of your book. You can also consider them the promises you make to your readers.”
Your book has to benefit your reader in some way. Otherwise, what is the point of the story? When we storytellers write a book, and want to get said book published, we can’t be writing it just for ourselves. Because once it’s published, the book no longer belongs to us. It now belongs to the reader. So we have to make sure that we write our story for them, not just for our own pleasure.
“…concentrate on how to conceive your book with your readers’ interests in mind. Once you can write and talk about those benefits in a concise manner, you can later write your book with your readers’ interests in mind as well.”
How will Curse of the Midnight King benefit my readers? What will I give them once they start to read? I honestly thought I had the answer to these questions, but when faced with them, I stalled. What am I giving my readers?
I think that the core benefit of my book is Faye de la Rou, my main character. She believes that she has no self-worth, and so throughout the story she learns that you don’t have to be anyone special to be worth more than the world. The main benefit my readers would receive is knowing that there are others out there who struggle with self-worth, just like they do.
DOES YOUR BOOK HAVE A PURPOSE?
The purpose of your book is the same as your goal. What do you hope to accomplish when writing your book? If the answer is money, then you’re writing the book for the wrong reason.
In The Author Training Manual, Amir asks, “What will you accomplish by writing your book? … What is the purpose or mission of writing this book?”
The first reason I wrote Curse of the Midnight King was because I wanted to write a fairytale retelling. And it turned into an outlet for all of the self-hatred that I was feeling. I put Faye through all of the degradation I felt myself going through, creating characters to represent certain things or people. For example, the villain of the story, Pathos, represented my inner critic taunting me, telling me I would never achieve my life’s goal. And Leo, or Prince Lionheart, represented the self-kindness I struggled to find.
In the end, I realized how Curse of the Midnight King could benefit others in the same way it helped me. So, I guess I could say that the purpose of my book is to help others find self-worth. To help them realize that they are worth more than the barbed words others throw at them.
The rest of Step #02 touches on several other subjects like title, and overview, but for the sake of making this post short(ish) I’ll only touch on one of the other subjects—writing a pitch.
A pitch is usually only a handful of words that you can write down on a business card and you use it to snag editors or agents at writing conferences. I’ve only been to one writing conference, and since it was a small one, it had no agents or editors, so I never really thought of creating a pitch.
How do I sum up Curse of the Midnight King in only a few words? The Author Training Manual offers this formula for fiction:
- Sentence 1: character name + vocation + initial situation
- Sentence 2: when + the doorway of no return (inciting incident)
- Sentence 3: now + death overhanging (physical, profession, or phycological death)
Faye is cursed to dance every night for the Midnight King, with no hope for escape. But when the king announces a ball in honor of his son, Faye believes that winning his heart will help her and her sisters escape. Now, it is a race against time as she tries to win Leo’s heart before she is married to the Midnight King’s son and dragged into the Underworld forever.
Exactly 70 words. It will take some time, but initially, we’ll want our pitches to be 50 words or less. Which means I’ll have to figure a way to make this one shorter.
Pitches are used for a multitude of things. As it says in The Author Training Manual, “…when you pitch to media, when you provide a book description on Amazon (or other book distributers), when you write guest blog posts or articles, when you create press releases, or when you tell the person sitting next to you on the plane about your book … Your pitch appears in a query letter, too.”
TO SUM IT UP
Before you move forward in your publishing plan, or when you write, you want to know exactly what you’re writing for, and who you’re writing for. And figuring it all out before hand can be super, super helpful.
I know now that who I’m writing for it those struggling with self-worth, or those who enjoy a good fairytale retelling, or even those who like subtle romances. And the purpose of my book it to help others know that they are not alone.
Thank you for sticking with me through this long post! I hope you’ll join me next Friday for our next installment in the Author Project series!