If you’re already committed to a particular topic for your future book and you’re reading as much as you can in your area of interest, the next step is to build your expertise.
For example, would a degree in your area of interest help? Perhaps you’re locked into a job you find dull or draining and a career change into an area of interest would be a huge boost for your day to day life. However, the proper academic background will provide the resources, contacts, and credentials to help move you toward success as a writer. My own career was helped immensely by a few key professors from both my graduate and undergraduate studies. They may even have contacts in the publishing world and can help jumpstart your career.
Academic courses will also ensure that you have read the best books available and have access to journals and any other research that may be closed off if you were not a student. Your fellow classmates are the perfect people to provide critique for your book ideas, bringing up angles you may have missed and helping you refine your ideas. Informed feedback will be a wonderful help as you move your book ideas toward a proposal.
As you read and build your expertise in your field of choice, look into ways you can begin to share it. If you’re going into writing, then you really need to think about starting a blog on your area of interest. Begin by looking for the top blogs in your area of interest. While a Google search will help, look into blog awards, blog rankings, and blog search engines (such as Technorati). Begin reading these blogs by subscribing to their RSS feed that be displayed either in your browser, on your Google homepage, or on your own RSS reader such as Bloglines. Be sure to look up the blogs listed in the sidebars of the top blogs and read them as well.
Once you have a better idea of what’s out there, set up your own blog either through wordpress.com (free but not necessarily a unique site with a unique domain name) or a hosted service such as Blue Host or any other budget blog hosting company. You should aim to spend about $4 to $7 per month if you go with a hosted service the provides a domain name and complete access to your blog’s design. Get your ideas out there, read other blogs, comment on the sites of others, and respond to whoever comments on your own blog. Commit to occasionally reading a site about professional blogging such as problogger.net so you optimize your site’s potential. This is the time to build your knowledge, refine your writing skills, and build your contacts and expertise.
When you present your book to publisher this preliminary leg work will pay off in dividends as you can show that you have established yourself as an important voice in your subject area. You’ll have a network of experts and fellow bloggers who can help review and promote your book and an easily accessible way to connect with your readers. The internet is far too important for budding authors to ignore it.