Dynamic non-fiction should move with Efficiency and be Tantalizing to readers and publishers.
By Eric Maisel
Writers in the real world tend to make one of the following choices:
- “I do not care about success in the marketplace or access to the marketplace. I am writing my work the way it needs to be written.”
- “I care about success in the marketplace and access to the marketplace, but still I mean to write my work the way it needs to be written. Perhaps a miracle will occur and my poem, story, article or book will be wanted despite its disregard for commercial expectations.”
- “I care about success in the marketplace, and I will strive to make my writing commercially viable. This may mean that my ideas may cease to exist in their original form and that only a portion of their depth will be retained. But I can live with that.”
Deep writing is one thing and career considerations are another, but it is hard not to want to think about both and find some way to craft a happy marriage between them. I am straddling the fence, advocating neither the purely personal nor the purely commercial, because both choices leave a lot to be desired. With the first, the likelihood is great that what you write will not be wanted or will be wanted in a limited way, and psychological pain accompanies this outcome. With the second, you may well feel that you’ve violated some important ethical principles and are likely to experience psychological discomfort as a result. The most satisfactory path is to strive to marry the deep and the commercial in such a way that your truth gets told and also reaches a wide audience.
Before you go too far, try to answer each of these:
A. Working Title
B. Tag Line
C. Primary Audience
D. Features (these are things the book offers—like, “eight steps to better writing.”)
E. Benefits (these are what the reader receives—like, “will make your work more appealing to readers and editors.”)
F. Urgency (Why is this subject important now?)
G. Your Image (What makes you the special person to write this?)