Short shelf life? No Problem!

In light (or darkness) of the upcoming solar eclipse predicted in the U.S. on August 1, best-selling author Pam Hine wrote an informational book to prepare the U.S. for what’s to come. Her book, Total Eclipse of the Sun: Coast to Coast USA, comes in response to the best-selling success of her first book from 1999, Total Eclipse of the Sun in Cornwall and South Devon: Wednesday, 11th August. In just three short months, Hine’s new book is already seeing similar success as her first. Sure, it’s awesome to be able to create so much buzz so quick with a book about an upcoming event, but wouldn’t it be better to capitalize off a book with a longer shelf life? It depends on your goal. What information or story do you want to share? What audience do you want to appeal to? If you’re an eclipse fanatic like Hine and want to get the world excited about the next solar eclipse, it makes sense to write a book specific to that event. If she were to write a general book about eclipses, she might not have gotten as much of a buzz—it wouldn’t appeal to people who aren’t normally interested in astronomy when there isn’t something exciting about to happen. So, she’s been writing easy-to-understand books for readers of all backgrounds to educate and prepare her audience for what’s to come. In similar fashion, authors Robert Kulik and Matthew Dowd wrote Go Trump! Beat Crooked Hillary! and Go Hillary! Beat The Donald!  in honor of the 2016 Election. These punchy board books were fun gifts for any voter to pass around and add to the election hype. But just because this election season has passed, doesn’t mean the authors can’t keep this buzz going with new candidates in future elections, just as Hine keeps her buzz going with each upcoming eclipse. In short, don’t rule out a topic just because it might have a short shelf life. Whether you keep writing about a recurring event or have expertise to write about many different topics, sometimes a time sensitive angle can be more successful than a general angle, even if it only lasts a few months.

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