My mom called me the other day. "How's the book coming along?" she asked. For heaven's sake, Mom, it's only been a few weeks since I decided to write one! I told her that I was still doing the research and working on a proposal.
"Forget about all that!" she said, "Why aren't you writing?" (I suspect she thinks I'm going to change my mind.) I tried to explain: You can't just jump into something as complicated as writing a book. . . it's not like writing a thank-you note, especially if it's your first foray into the world of publishing. Just like your first trip to Walt Disney World, there is a certain amount of research and planning that must be done ahead of time if the thing is going to be successful.
Have you ever mentioned an upcoming WDW vacation to someone and got a reaction like: "Oh, we took the kids to Disney once. . . and once was ENOUGH!" The statement is usually accompanied with much head shaking, a grimace or at the very least, some eye-rolling. You dig a little further...
"When did you go?" ~ ~ "The middle of July."
"Where did you stay?" ~ ~ "Oh, just some hotel on the highway; those Disney hotels are so expensive!"
"How did you do your planning? Guidebooks? The Internet?" ~ ~ "Huh?"
Then they go on to complain about how hot and crowded the parks were and how they had to wait in line for over an hour to ride Space Mountain.
"Didn't you use Fast Pass?" ~ ~ "Hmmpf! The tickets were expensive enough; I'm not spending extra money for a special pass!"
Oh, the humanity! If only this hapless individual had done some research and planning in advance. . . what magical memories they could have had. Worse yet, that their children could have had. It almost makes me want to cry. . .
It's the same way with writing a book; you don't just jump in and start writing willy-nilly. You have to have a plan. I'm not talking about a simple chapter outline. . . writing a book proposal is a major undertaking. It's up to the author to "sell" her book idea to agents and editors. After all, they're making a financial investment in your work. You have to research and explain your book's market (readers), your competition, and how you plan to promote your book. You also need to promote yourself, to convince your investors that you are qualified to write the book.
Hmmm. I've already told you about book idea, now let's talk about the book's market. That seems fairly obvious, doesn't it? Now, who would want to read a book about the travel adventures of families on the autistic spectrum at Walt Disney World? Anyone? Anyone?
I'm guessing it would be: 1) People with friends or family on the Spectrum and, 2) People who are interested in (or completely obsessed with) Walt Disney World. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the book would appeal the most to those who fall into both groups.
It's suggested that a proposal answer even more detailed questions about the book's targeted audience. Male or female? Age? Education? Income? Social Class?
My answer: "all of the above!"
Autism Spectrum Disorders do not discriminate; they affect families of every race, ethnic, and socio-economic group. I'm not sure if I would be able to dig up any statistics on how many autistic children visit WDW with their families each year, but I'll have to find some way of documenting it. I'm also not sure I would be able to document sociological breakdown of WDW guests, although statistics on general WDW theme park attendance should be easy enough to find.
And speaking of find, just where would you expect to find my book in a bookstore? Where would one expect a book like this be shelved? Parenting/Special Needs? Travel Narrative? Remember, this book is not a travel guide per se, although readers will certainly find a lot of juicy tips about touring WDW within it's pages. I don't think there's ever been another book written like the one I'm planning. If there is, I haven’t been able to find it.
The Many Adventures of a Disney-Lovin’ Spectrum Mom is not affiliated with, authorized or endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with, The Walt Disney Company or Disney Enterprises, Inc., or any of their affiliates. All trademarks, service marks, and trade names are proprietary to Disney Enterprises, Inc., its subsidiary, affiliated and related companies, as the case may be. For the official Disney website, visit disneyparks.disney.go.com