The Five Questions I Never Asked During 30 Years in Journalism

Published: June 21, 2016

When you’re working for a newspaper or magazine, you don’t have to think that hard about your audience. The readers are already on the page. You have to make readers want to read your story, but you don’t have to draw them to you.

Books are different. You can’t rely on a major news organization to do the marketing for you. You have to find your readers, get them to know your book exists, and then convince them to buy your book instead of another one on the market.

That is why every book should start with five questions:

  • What is your book about?
  • What are you saying?
  • Who is your audience and why will they buy your book?
  • Why are you the one to write this book?
  • Why now?

Answering these questions will help you pitch a book to traditional publishing, or just sharpen up your idea before you start writing.

Now here’s an offer. It’s for non-fiction writers under 30. If you want to express your idea in a book form, we want to help you at a free seminar in Toronto, no strings attached. You’ll get to work with top editors and publishing pros for three hours on Thursday, August 25th. Send your idea in 30-300 words to Deadline is July 25.

Why are we doing this? At Barlow Books, we want to find the most inspiring young non-fiction writers in Toronto, and help them get their ideas out into the world. A book has always been a great way to do this, and it still is.

Blog post imageBarlow’s Young Writers Night
Blog post imageWhen Asking for Help Feels Good