How to Write Your Author Prospectus Part One

We’re going to dive straight into putting together a prospectus, the primary aim of which is to sell yourself to yourself.

In other words, by doing this exercise in full, you should arrive at a far better understanding of what it is you are trying to do as a writer, how you in particular (as opposed to anyone else) do it, and what that all means for achieving viability as a writer in the shortest possible time.

We’re going to start by asking some tricky questions, the first of which is:

Who are your readers?

Don’t worry, your first answer to this may be ‘I haven’t the faintest idea!’ or simply ‘Just readers’. That’s perfectly fine — as long as you realise that the lack of an answer to this question is a major obstacle to achieving your goals. We will definitely come back to this later, but for now, the following sub-questions might help you to break down a workable answer for the moment:

•what kinds of genres do you prefer to write in?

•are your protagonists of a certain age, gender, disposition, race or career?

•what are the outcomes of your best stories?

•where do you set your best stories?

•when do you set your best stories?

•what would you say (and there’s much more on this later, don’t worry) your best stories are about in terms of theme?

•what do you hope readers are learning from your best stories?

•what do you hope readers are experiencing from your best stories?

Note that I’m saying ‘best stories’ — that’s on purpose. All writers will have some work which is ‘better’ than other work, in their own opinion. As we want to boost your career and maybe even your writing beyond your current condition, we’re going to base all of this on your best work.

In answering the sub-questions above, did you see any patterns emerge?

Does it look like your best readers might be young people? Old people? Male? Female? Are your stories mainly historical? Fantasy? Literary? What are they mainly ‘about’?

All you need at the moment is a vague idea in response to all the above.

From that vague idea, make a rough guess as to who would be most interested in reading your work. Old people? Teenagers? Children? Men? Women? Try to pin this down according to:

Genre preference