Monday, May 5, 2008

Top Ten Writing Prompts

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."—Gandhi
What do the top ten issues facing families today mean to writers? Your writing can change the lives of others. LifeWay, an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, solicited the opinions of more than 2,000 people from around the country. Here are the Top Ten Issues Facing Families Today:

1. Anti-Christian Culture
2. Divorce
3. Busyness
4. Lack of Father Figure
5. Lack of Discipline
6. Financial Pressures
7. Lack of Communication
8. Negative Media Influences
9. Balance of Work and Family
10. Materialism

The Competitive Advantage
Okay, let’s say you do not have “brand equity,” which refers to a famous author who has a certain name, reputation, built-in audience, or media platform in the marketplace. If you want to write a book, Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers offers hope, “…Competitive advantage…is something a new title must have in order to succeed in the marketplace. You can succeed without brand equity, but you cannot succeed without a competitive advantage—at least not for very long. No author can afford to ignore it and be consistently successful.” *

Are You The Next Great Voice?
How does that advice apply to a beginning or intermediate writer? Your book must have a natural advantage over other books written on these topics. Ask yourself these questions:

1. Can I narrow any one of these topics down to a specific concern that virtually no one else is addressing?
2. Do I have a unique perspective?
3. Do I look at the topic in a fresh and exciting way?
4. Am I willing to admit weaknesses and confess fears so readers naturally trust me?
5. Is my writing compelling—a can’t-put-it-down read?
6. Can I provide practical solutions to combat real problems?
7. Do I have a catchy angle to interest the media?
8. Is this a book or several salable articles?

Reality Check
Christian Book Publishers receive nearly 250,000 manuscripts during a typical year. Some of the 300 publishers receive more than 10,000. On average about 5% of those submissions are published—approximately 12,000 titles a year. The average first printing of a book for a new author is just under 4,700 copies. (Christian Writers’ Market Guide 2008, Sally Stuart, WaterBrook 2008)

There is no secret to publication. It takes more than a great idea. If you want to be published, work at being a great writer.

* © 2007, Michael S. Hyatt. Used by Permission. Originally posted at www.michaelhyatt.com

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