Some books are written because there is a demand for them. Gossip, for example, is in great demand. If you can get the scoop on a famous person and make it juicy, then you can write a book that will sell well—even if it’s not particularly good and even if it doesn’t really add any value to the world. Careers are made and thrive on these kinds of books.
Some books are written because there is a need for them. Sometimes the need starts in the heart and mind of the author. Sometimes the need is an outside force that claims the author for its fulfillment. Sometimes it’s a mix of both. Regardless of how it starts, books that are written because there is a need for them may or may not be in demand.
I had the pleasure of participating in the creation of book that is very much needed. It is, however, not yet in great demand. Why? Because the right people don’t know it exists and the right people don’t know what the book offers. That’s where marketing comes in. Marketing is about creating demand. For a gossip book, that’s easy enough to do. Unfortunately, books that are needed can be very difficult projects to market. While the need is there, the demand—knowing that the need can be met—isn’t.
Big PR moves can help, but the reality is that building demand for something that’s needed means reaching out—maybe one by one—to the people who need it. In order to do that, you need marketing materials that convincingly show how the need is met by what you have to offer. Sometimes you have to start by convincing the people who need it that their need is there. In the end, doing something that truly matters is worth it. But don’t let yourself think that need is the same as demand.