Congratulations you have made the decision to write. Now you have to make it happen. Publishing a book can open up a wealth of opportunities. Bear in mind, however, that in the writing world being creative does not necessarily mean you will be successful.  A healthy dose of pragmatism, coupled with good planning and a willingness to seek and take professional advice will stand you in good stead.

As with any project, the more research and preparation you do the better. If you have never written before it is well worth joining a writing program. Expert help and input can be enormously beneficial. Think of it along the lines of trying to fix the kitchen sink without understanding the basics of plumbing. Ask for recommendations. There are also writing clubs, publishing forums and print consultants that can offer valuable advice and insight.

For most people writing requires a substantial investment of both time and resources. To give yourself the best chance going forward, consider the following:

    • Why do you want to write the book? Are you an acknowledged expert? If you are not sure what qualifies someone as an expert, research your genre thoroughly and see who has been writing what.
    • A place in the market. Who is your target audience? Will enough people want to buy your book?
    • Is there room for your book? If many books have been written on this topic it does not necessarily preclude you from writing another one but you will need to make sure you bring stunning expertise, new research or a fresh angle to the table.
    • What is your book about? You need an outline and a plan. Write a bare bones summary of each section or chapter.
    • Social media platforms can be a good way of testing the waters to see if your topic or approach is viable.
    • Content. Will you have enough for a book? It’s easy to plan an essay or article of a few thousand words, quite another to fill requirements of 40,000 words or more.
    • Timing. Writing a book takes a long time. You will need to plan for that. Are you able to devote a certain amount of time every day to writing or just be able to write at the weekends or evenings? Be realistic.
    • Research, research, research.
    • Consider joining a program like Write Your Book in 90-Days to provide the accountability, support or push you need to get writing.


The best advice to anyone who is planning on writing a book is to go ahead and write it. Self-publishing has revolutionized the possibility of seeing one’s ideas in print and unlocked doors that previously were open to just a few. The digital age and social media have given us enormous prowess in terms of marketing. Just remember though that greater access and technological advancement does not replace quality, expertise, research and planning. Those always have been, and will continue to be, cornerstones of success.

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Mary Vaux-ClarkMary Vaux-Clark is a freelance editor, proof-reader and writer. Her areas of interest include current affairs, travel, history and sport. She has travelled widely and worked in Hong Kong as an editor and ESL teacher for over ten years.