There’s a book inside you and you know it. It’s a delightful feeling. Fiction, nonfiction or memoir, you have a great story just waiting to be told. Yet if you’ve never finished writing a book and never had it published before, how do you know if you’re currently on the right track? How do you know that your current efforts will lead to producing a published book that is both worthwhile and could change your life?

As a first-time author, you need to keep in mind many things; however, there’s no reason you have to forge your own path in the wilderness. A guide can be an invaluable resource. And once equipped with a solid map to writing and publishing your first book, you can better enjoy the journey – saving countless time, effort and frustration down the road.

Based on my new book Write the Book You’re Meant to Write: A Guide for First-time Authors, here are six questions I believe every first-time author should consider:

1. What are your real reasons for writing and publishing a book?

Do you want to share your ideas and expertise with others? How about generate leads for your business? Would you like to position yourself as an authority in your field? Do you want to impart your wisdom and experience to others? Or how about simply enjoying a well-earned sense of accomplishment from the act of writing and publishing a quality book?

Whatever your motivations are, are they strong enough to drive you and your project to completion? Be honest with yourself!

2. Are you certain you’re writing the right book? For you? For the market?

To move ahead with your book project, you’ll need to decide on a genre (such as fiction, self-help or memoir) and a topic for your book (such as a love story, dealing with addiction or being a soldier). But tell me, are your goals truly in line with the book you are envisioning? And is there a specific market for your book? Will it sell more than 100 copies? How can you tell?

If you want to successfully write and publish a book, your goals and your book need to be moving in the same direction.

3. Do you know what you should you expect from publishing and selling a book?

Is it reasonable to believe that you could earn a lot of money and become famous from publishing a book? Do you know what really sells books? What are the current industry and reader standards?

As a first-time author, it’s important for you to separate fact from fiction and know what’s possible, what’s likely and how the book publishing landscape works these days.

4. How will you prepare your manuscript?

For many great books, the author’s first draft can be very different from its final published form. How did they get there though? What kind of editing do different books require? How many rounds of editing are necessary? What is the real value of an editor?

Do you know what your manuscript will need to reach its full potential?

5. What will your book look like inside and out?

Do you know what kind of cover design will convert customers for your particular book? Studies show that customers judge a book by its cover within eight seconds or less.

How the interior of a book is laid out, however, is often what separates the appearance of an amateurish book from a more professional effort.

Do you know all the signs to guarantee your book is among the titles that are taken seriously?

6. How will you market your book?

Do you know how to build specific marketing elements into your book during the creation process? Do you know how to make your book – and you the author – stand out amidst a crowded field?

Do you know what steps to take to make sure your book sells as many copies as possible?

Write the Book You’re Meant to WriteWrite the Book You're Meant to Write

Are you ready to tell that story you have inside you? To make the leap from aspiring writer to published author? To enjoy the journey ahead? If you’d like more guidance and tips, I invite you to check out Write the Book You’re Meant to Write: A Guide for First-time Authors, available from Amazon here.