So many book coaching requests come to me for help writing a book. Especially getting started. You are far more likely to successfully write, publish, and sell your book if you follow these tips before you write a single chapter.
1. Write your print or eBook’s working title.
It helps you focus and answer the readers’ number one question about the topic. Some non-fiction needs subtitles as well. The subtitle is your book’s promise. It’s better to be clear than clever, but the ultimate winning combination is clear and clever. Which titles grab you? “Passion At Any Age: Twelve Ways to Unleash It,” “Self-Promotion for the Creative Person.” or “Quadruple your Book’s Online Sales in Less Than Five Months.” Think about how you will grab your readers’ attention.
2. Write your book’s thesis.
A thesis is a sentence or so stating the audience’s main problem/challenge and how your book will solve it. Knowing the thesis before you write the book keeps you on track so you write focused, compelling copy that is easy to read. All chapters should support your book’s thesis. For one client’s passion book, perhaps this thesis will work. From the title, “Passion at Any Age,” comes the thesis, “Each of you has passion and you can unleash it through these twelve steps.” A best title often includes your thesis. For instance, “Write your eBook or Other Short Book Fast!
3. Test your book’s significance.
While most writers fear their book won’t be good enough to sell, your book is significant if it has these elements:
- It presents useful information.
- It has the potential to positively affect people’s lives.
- It’s lively, humorous.
- It helps answer important reader questions.
- It creates a deeper understanding of human nature.
If your book has only two elements, it will be worth writing. With three or more, it’s a potential best seller. Make your book a priority so you can express your mission helping others to a better life, and at the same time make a consistent lifelong income.
4. Pinpoint your primary audience.
When you give your book an angle, it sells much better. No, not everyone will want to read your book. When you write for one audience at a time, each story, tip, or how to packs in so much more power. General writing is all right if you are already famous, but choose and post your audience’s picture and profile right in front of you as you write. Now, each chapter will be focused, each word and paragraph will be organized and compelling. This idea transfers well to websites and ecommerce too. It’s far easier to market a book to a primary audience than to a general one.
Create an audience profile…
- How old are your prospective readers?
- Male? Female?
- Are they interested in personal growth, science fiction, mystery, how-to books?
- What challenges do they face?
- Are they business people?
- What magazines and websites do they surf?
- Are they internet savvy?
- What causes do they support?
- Will they be willing to spend $15-$30 on your book?
- Where will they go to buy it?
Think internet rather than a book store. And now with the newest technology think eBooks on Kindle. Kindle sales are much higher than print ones on Amazon.
5. Know your book’s 30-60 second “tell and sell” before you write it.
Like a billboard, this 2-3 sentence blurb will be so useful to you when you meet people and have only a few minutes to talk about your book. Like an elevator speech, you need to give your potential readers a reason to buy in a few sound bites. It’s the hook, not the book.
First, write down your title. Second, write down your primary audience. Third, list your book’s top three benefits. Last, compare your book with a famous author in your field. “Passion at Any Age” is the “Artists Way” for seniors.
Practice this short statement. Ask your associates for feedback. Which benefits impressed them? What do they remember most from it? Be willing to edit this piece up to 10 times.
6. Write down your publishing goals for this book.
Which suits your more–self publishing or a traditional publisher? Think about Print on Demand and whether these companies can deliver you a fair deal. Think about writing an eBook first or at the same time as your print book. You need far fewer resources and time to sell an eBook. Remember the saying, “Do what you do best, and hire the rest.” Think about using a book coach to shorten your journey and save you a lot of expensive mistakes.”
7. Organize your book files.
We waste over 150 hours a year looking for mislaid information. To get easy and fast book files retrieval:
First, create a master folder with your book’s title. Inside, keep a separate file for each chapter. Name each chapter to make sense later. Within those, add your different notes, research or resources. Title and date each file easily to find it later. For instance, Chapter One. Why Write a Book? -8-20-11. You will know what chapter version is the latest with new editing.
This system allows you to manage those multiple projects easily and compares to filing important hard files alphabetically and vertically.
You will now stop wasting time and money because unfinished projects that don’t get shared, don’t make you money and get your unique word out to your awaiting audience.
8. Write down your chapter’s format.
Readers expect a clear map to guide them. They like consistency. In non-fiction, each chapter should be approximately the same length and have the same sections. To make your chapters sparkle, use stories, case studies, anecdotes, headings, photos, maps, graphs, exercises, tips. Readers like easy-to-read side bars in boxes. From many years of coaching most emerging authors want to know what’s important to include and what’s not. When they find out–their book will be magical and hook their readers to the end. Now they will have a 24/7 sales team to help them make their book profitable.
9. Write the back cover or website sales material before you write your book.
This “outline” helps give your book direction and helps you focus only on what’s important to your thesis or theme.
Include what sells:
- reader and famous people’s testimonials
- a benefit-driven headline to hook the reader to open the book and read the table of contents
- and bulleted benefits
Since your readers want benefits and other reasons to buy, place your bio and picture on the inside of the back cover. Later, you can recreate this back cover piece into a longer sales letter for your web site. Always think marketing as you write your book.
10. Mock up a front cover in your book’s early stages.
Keep it by your computer to inspire you. To sell your books, your cover and title have around four-ten seconds to sell your reader. Covers are the number one hot selling point that sells a book–that means 20% more sales. Browse the bookstores and copy a few ideas to get you started. Choose colors that suit your audience. Blue and red work for business books. Aqua, yellow, and reds work for personal growth books.
Writing a book is so much easier when you approach it in small bites. Knowing these ten parts help you ask and answer the specific questions and challenges your audience wants solutions for.