Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Write What You Know

The best way to break into today’s highly competitive writing world is to follow an old axiom: write what you know. Are you an expert on fly fishing? Quilt making? Restoring antique cars? If so, you already have a niche market of fellow enthusiasts and potential readers. My neighbor Jim Stanley, a master naturalist and land management specialist, compiled his extensive knowledge into a soon-to-be-published book Hill Country Landowner’s Guide.
Your area of expertise might be your business––after all, no one knows more about your business than you. Writing a book sets you up as an authority in your field and can generate extra income. According to a study called “The Business Impact of Writing a Book,” 97 percent of the 200 authors surveyed said publishing a book benefited their businesses.
Maybe you want to write a memoir to preserve your family history for future generations. Or perhaps you’d like to share an abiding passion with readers. Photographer E. Joe Deering (who took my pictures for this blog) has a fascination with the Texas flag and colorfully conveys this in his new book Lovin’ That Lone Star Flag.
According to John Baker, editorial director of Publishers Weekly magazine, 85 percent of all books published annually are nonfiction. However, fiction titles generate more revenue. When you consider the recent growth of independent and online publishers, today more options exist for writers than ever before.
What’s your area of expertise? What’s your passion? If you write about something you know and love, your enthusiasm will shine through––to editors, agents, and readers.

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