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Biting Off More Than One Can Chew

posted 12/28/2016 10:37:02 AM |
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tagged: writing, travel, photography, books

Tomorrow, I conduct my first interview with a local business owner to gain information on his current bakery business and the restaurant he'll be opening across the street at the end of January.

I contacted the travel writer I know to ask him for some pointers on conducting the interview. He was more than happy to offer tips on writing and producing a guidebook, and even offered to edit it for me. He made it clear he didn't like my choice of titles, and suggested another one, which I don't like, but I may just accept his suggestion, as he's had numerous guide books published, and I haven't.

Unfortunately, he has a very narrow view of what the valley is, and no clue that it's much more than what he thinks. His suggestion was 'Fraser Valley Family Fun' - which doesn't appeal to me in the least. Why? I'm not a family and don't care what might appeal to families. I'm more interested in what appeals to those that don't have families. But this is where he's exceptionally narrow-minded. He really hasn't a clue that there are wonderful places to eat that are not family oriented. We aren't just a bunch of farmers waiting for the likes of the city folk to bless us with their superior presence and knowledge.

Nope. Actually, the Fraser Valley is exceptionally diverse. Yes, we do have a lot of farmland, where we grow the food that the city folks like to eat. We also have live theatre and numerous events and amenities that every city offers. We do not have the abundance of restaurants and eateries that bigger cities do, probably because in my area, it's considered the bible belt and although many are generous when it comes to charity, they are cheap when it comes to dining out. And that was told to me by a member of one of the religious communities.

Although we don't have the close proximity of the ocean, we have many, many lakes in the area, hiking for all levels, biking for those that want an easy ride on the 'flats' right up to mountain biking for those wanting more of a challenge. As a member of one of the hiking clubs, the photos they post of the local mountains are absolutely breath-taking. I, personally, cannot climb the peaks they do, so they will be people that I interview for the book to get some first hand experiences.

I knew I had a lot of work cut out for me when I started this book, and had a cover photo chosen, along with a title. I'm not saying my title is great, but Fraser Valley Family Fun just doesn't do it for me. But then, I'm not the one buying the book and I have to look at who my audience would be. If it's more than likely to be families, then I'd best be targeting that audience. However, if no one writes for the audience of the solo traveler, the adult couples without kids that want to explore other regions, then how will they know?

Personally, I'm not interested in 'family fun'. I'm interested in where to go to see the eagles. Which mountains have an easy hike. Which bike trails are relatively flat or with a low grade? Do I go where families go? Not in the least. I attend functions where I can avoid the madding crowds.

Would I pick up a guidebook that titled itself as being 'family fun'? Probably not. I'd more than likely avoid it like the plague and look for something more adult oriented. Maybe his idea of the title was to entice families here. Maybe he thinks it's one of those newly wed or nearly dead communities. I don't know. I do know he doesn't know much about the area, but has a very narrow opinion of it.

So I don't know, if his help consists of him telling me what to do and it's either his way or no way, that isn't going to work. Suggestions are great. But even my mother can tell you, the moment you tell me what to do, my back goes up and there's no way in hell I'm doing it.

At this point, he's given me some great suggestions and tips, and I may just leave it at that and have someone else edit the book, just so I'm not beholden to him in any way. But, again, he's the one with the experience, so I may just have to accept that, in this case, it may be prudent to take his suggestion in order to target a larger audience.

I thought I was doing okay in the getting the book started, but with his latest email, I'm looking at all the pre-planning and thinking, holy cow, I'm not even close! I just hope I haven't bitten off more than I can chew. Nah. It'll just take me a little more time than I anticipated. The next little while will have my focus and time spent on getting the pre-planning done, and conducting interviews. I can see this is going to be a lot bigger project than I initially thought.

I'm excited about it though, as it encompasses everything I like to do! I was up until midnight last night working on this project, and had no idea of how much time had gone by.

That's happiness and doing what you love. And chewing very slowly.

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Dec 28 @ 4:05PM  
To me "family fun"means more than just pursuits for parents and kids. Family has come to mean wholesome, decent fun that is within the budget of working families, not a bad image.

But as so much marketing is done online today, I would use something like:

Fraser Valley Family Fun - A Guide To …Then add on a list of key words that will further define your book, AND show up on searches for what you are selling.

Pleas keep us informed of your progress as the project develops. Good Luck.

I recently got involved with editing and proof reading of some cozy mysteries, and am discovering a lot about the world of publishing, to a market I was not aware existed. It is fun learning, and I am meeting some very nice people.

Dec 28 @ 4:14PM  
I don't know who your target market is but I would guess the larger is the "family" like Tom said because of it's wholesomeness.

This sounds like an exciting project, hope you keep us posted.

Dec 28 @ 4:43PM  
I don't know if this will help, but surely it must be worth a try. It's a Headline Analyzer.

Good luck.

Dec 28 @ 6:04PM  
Maybe take that writers suggestions and combine with some of your ideas until a title pops out that both of you can agree on?


Dec 29 @ 10:50AM  
Frasier Valley sounds like a perfect jumping off point for an article about the farm to table and slow food movements. I'm thinking there must be some sort of community bulletin board that lists all or most of the various activities, fairs, etc. I think you might be able to piece something more adult from that.

As to the notion that family fun equals wholesomeness, I'm not sure I agree. Certainly, you won't have strip clubs advertised as family oriented; however, peace and quiet is wholesome, but not necessarily family oriented.
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