I have never been one of those lucky people who thought they had a book within them. So, this prompt in the Author Blog Challenge had special meaning to me.
The prompt is "Describe the market for your book - to the tiniest detail (e.g. childless divorced women past age 50 who want to remarry). Why that demographic? How do you connect with them to market to them?"
I'm still trying to figure out if I even want to write a book. In some ways,. this prompt is the most valuable question the Challenge has asked.
I've been blogging for over 3 years - since late April 2011, daily. In the past couple of months I finally realized I was a writer. I blogged in May about my dreams of being a snowbird (I live on the edge of the snowbelt of upstate NY) and escaping the 80 plus inches of snow we get here in a normal winter. Once I retire from my day job, I need a way to generate income which will leave me free to live in two places.
One reason why I joined this challenge was to take this next step.
If I wrote a book, the Challenge would give me lots of information on interviewing, on e-book vs. traditional book publishing, on how to market, how to outline, how to - well, write.
But this question brought me to the heart of what I am trying to do: Who the heck am I directing my writing at? What is its purpose? Will anyone even be interested?
Let's take one example. I've had stray thoughts, here and there, about consolidating many of the posts I've posted since August of 2011. Thanks to Mother Nature, many have a common theme. In August of 2011, torrential rains from Tropical Storm Irene hit my area of upstate New York. Shortly thereafter, torrential rains caused by Tropical Storm Lee hit. Rivers overflowed and caused massive flooding.
My blog was a first person account of the aftermath in one particular neighborhood near Johnson City, NY. I actually wasn't here when the floods hit, which was fortunate. I would have been blogging from a shelter, which is to say I wouldn't have been blogging. And if my house had been several blocks from where it is, it may have been destroyed. Maybe 'destroyed' is too strong a word but there are houses in my neighborhood that will never again be occupied. There but for the grace.....
I wanted to bear witness to what was happening around me. I wanted to report it to the world.
But - then what? What if I had written a book based on those blog posts?
Would I have wanted it as a fundraiser, proceeds benefiting a charity that benefited my neighborhood?
Would I have wanted to interview other survivors of the flood? I know some of them. I am one of them. We can connect.
What about a memoir? I know there are lots of flood memoirs out there - By The Iowa Sea being a recent example. (And, I'm no Joe Blair.) But my life isn't exactly market material. Parts of it would put you right to sleep.
Would I have done photo essays?
Would I have wanted to aim this at political officials as a wake up call, to transmit the message that we've had two major floods in the Triple Cities of upstate NY in the past six years and if something isn't done, the next flood might be the "last straw" that destroys this beautiful area of the country?
This prompt made me think, and I realized (after two days of thought) that I did not have a demographic. So, back to the drawing board.
It will come. It just isn't coming yet.