Now that you have your topic, it's time to conduct some research to ensure your book is able to reach the masses effectively. Researching your topic ensures that you offer expert advice, stay on the curve of public interest, and write with authority.
How to Research Your Book
Identify a dedicated space
First, establish where you are going to store and access your research findings. You will need to reference your research as you cite author's or articles, so keep them all organized in one place.
Start a Binder (Printed version)
Some of us are just old school! We need a pencil and/or pen and paper to tap into our creative mode. You can start a binder and add articles of interest and then go back and highlight all the significant findings or insights you believe will be helpful. Add additional paper for notes which you can organize later.
Go Green! (online version)
Create a Folder on your hard drive or in a cloud based format on Google Drive or Dropbox for your findings.
Save articles of interest on a single document by inserting links on a list or add all the articles to the folder individually by saving each article as a pdf file.
Create a document titled "Book Research" and make notes of specialists in the field and other major works done on this topic.
Identify topics to research
Secondly, ask yourself, "What are the main topics I should research based on my book idea?
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Your topics are a flushing out of your main topic. If you are writing about a business model you developed, topics would include: top business authors and books, other models for business, and/or steps other authors have recommended to achieve the type of results your model is going to recommend.
If you are writing an autobiography, read and research others to get a feel for the style and strategy different authors utilize to tell their story.
Key Questions to ask
Always start with the basic questions: Why?, What?, How?, Where?, and When?
Why is this a good topic? Why am I an expert? Why do people need to read about this topic? Why is this my passion?
The right questions will help you establish a solid knowledge base which will inform you writing and establish your expertise.
Don't get lost in research.
It is possible to conduct so much research that you procrastinate actually starting to write your book. Set 3 main goals for your research and stay on task.
Our three suggested goals are:
1. Establish that your book topic is relevant and popular, ensuring you will be able to gain a following.
2. Establish that your topic is truly your passion. The research process is tedious and requires focus and discipline. The writing process will not be one you enjoy if you are not truly invested in the topic.
3. Establish your own knowledge base and make sure that you are an authority on your topic.
See our next post for more writing strategies...