Are you an expert in your field? Do you have a very special niche you have considered self-publishing on? If so, have you considered publishing a guide for consumers? Writing a guide in your expert area commands authority. Two-time author, Jeremy LeBlanc of The North American Whiskey Guide shares his positive experience with us about authenticity, finding your flow, why writing a guide makes sense if you're an expert and a little advice for those of you considering this path.
FastPencil: Do you think being an expert in your field helped drive sales of your guide?
JL: 100 percent. With a guide, people want to know that you’ve troubleshot it all the way through. Knowing your field inside and out definitely invites sales!
FastPencil: From a marketing perspective, do you think the photography was worth the splurge/why?
JL: It’s important to use really high quality photography/art. Because people have so little time these days, it made sense to draw people in with high-style, cool, colorful imagery. For us, we wanted to make our signature feel defined through the photography.
FastPencil: Did you find that writing a guide had a certain flow to it?
JL: As opposed to my previous book, the guide offers much different content. We put this guide together by how we understand our expert area so the flow becomes inherent. We set things up in a way that the readers have not ever seen yet. For example, we featured blind taste-tastings. A unique arrangement kept people in our flow. Because it’s a guide, you still have to make it exciting for the reader! We put the guide together with the reader's attention span in mind- and I highly suggest you find your flow by looking at where your expertise meets your reader's attention span.
FastPencil: What advice do you have for other experts writing guides?
JL: Definitely be able to taste your product -to taste all of the amazing whiskies was great, ha ha, but no seriously, we found our niche and we were passionate about it- that clearly defines the flow I described above as well. First remember that you are the expert, but your audience may not be. Define your goal with your guide- for example, with our guide- it can be for an expert or a beginner, it's inclusive, not exclusionary- it really defined our target market so it was approachable. Be sure to be approachable, offer anecdotal advice whenever possible to convey authenticity.
What's your expert area? Have you already defined your target market? Could your current book idea be made into a bigger driver for sales if it were transformed into a guide? Share your experience with other self-publishing authors here.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!