Turn your dreams of becoming a published author into a reality by following this helpful guide on how to write a book on singing.
Is there a specific aspect of singing that you’d love to tell the world about? Or are you a vocal nerd with expertise in a much-misunderstood area of voice?
Then why not try writing a book? It’s a great way to share your knowledge and passion, raise your professional profile and (possibly) earn additional income.
Whether your goal is to write a book for the masses or the academic world, many of the same principles apply.
1 Find a gap in the market
Ask yourself: Is there an aspect of singing or a particular vocal niche that has not been covered extensively?
During her 20-year stint as a singing teacher for children and young people, Olivia noticed that the same questions and problems cropped up repeatedly. She realised that there was a need for a book on singing written specifically for children.
“Most children don’t think about their voices until something goes wrong – often on the day of a concert or singing exam. That’s when they would come to me with a sore throat or hoarseness and say, ‘What can I do?’. Usually, it’s a bit late at that stage. That’s why I decided to write a book on good vocal habits and [injury] prevention.”
2 Do market research
Once you’ve identified your topic, fine-tune your ideas by asking your intended audience what they want to read.
“I asked young people to say what they thought a book of this nature should contain,” she says. “Some of the questions they came up with were things I hadn’t even considered, but I wanted to ensure I answered them all.”
3 Find a publisher
Securing a publisher before you start work on your masterpiece is not a prerequisite, but it can certainly help. Write a synopsis of your book and send it to publishers to gauge potential interest. (This will also give you a clear outline of your book’s structure and direction.)
4 Know your subject
Even if you consider yourself an expert on your chosen subject, read as widely as possible and consult others.
“I did an exhaustive trawl through many journals to make sure that I understood the scope of the world of children’s vocal health,” Olivia says. “About 99% of that didn’t get anywhere near the book, but I was empowered to write through that acquired knowledge.”
5 Write for your audience
It’s vital that you tailor your writing and presentation to suit your readers. The language and tone will vary according to your audience, be they academics, amateur voice users or children.
Olivia’s target audience was children and young adults who sing in a choir, have singing lessons, or hope to study voice at a conservatoire. Her book is just 44 pages, written in clear and concise language and includes illustrations designed to help children understand the basic concepts of singing.
6 Ask for feedback
After hours of painstaking research and writing, you may feel rather proud – and protective – of your work. But showing a draft of your book to a cross-section of readers will help you to polish it even further.
Olivia invited a group of singers, ranging in age from ten to 18, for feedback. “It was incredibly useful. If I were to give one piece of advice to authors, I’d say, get feedback from your target audience; it’s the key to success with a book.”
Listen to Olivia on the Singing Teachers Talk podcast, where she explains more about her writing journey, how her dad helped her with the project and what she plans to do next.