The One Thing You Should Do Before Starting to Write a Book

how to research the market for your book

I walked into my local Barnes & Noble a few weeks ago and took a big huff of that bookstore smell. Ahhhh. Instant destressor. Do you do that too? Feel that release of tension when you walk into a bookstore or library and smell that distinct book-y smell? It’s almost as if there’s a scent to the words and paper that can’t be explained by science. (But it actually can be!)

I still get that feeling every single time I walk in any bookstore or library. And then I feel a thrill of possibility. Of knowing that spread out before me is the knowledge of the world’s greatest thinkers throughout time, bound in a portable, shareable form. And it can be mine for $19.95.

That’s why I’m convinced that a bookstore visit is a cure for all of life’s ailments. Feeling uninspired? Browse the stacks of your favorite genre or category. Overwhelmed with how much you have to do? Breathe in that bookstore air and remember why it’s worth it. Tired? Have a coffee and a seat and escape into another world. And that’s not even getting into the nonfiction shelves, where you can find advice on how to handle nearly every one of life’s struggles.

A bookstore visit is also the very first thing I prescribe to anyone who’s thinking about writing a book. Go, get thee to the bookstore, and send word of what you uncover, I say! Usually in a less Shakespearean way. But sometimes in an even more Shakespearean way.

And what should you do once you’ve walked into that temple of tomes? Well, it just so happens that I have some suggestions for you:

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