Are you in your book’s early stages and feel stuck? Are you almost done and feel challenged it won’t pass muster? Is it disorganized and not engaging, maybe a bit dull? Are you concerned you won’t finish your project?
Do you know the little known secret that even most editors and book coaches overlook?
You Don’t Need an Entire Outline for Your Book
That’s you telling all you know. Did you forget what your primary audience wants? If you don’t write your book to answer your target market’s concerns, you’ll really be stuck. Your writing will amble around, be unclear, and you may sell under $150 of books. That’s so disappointing, isn’t it?
You just need a focused single chapter blueprint!
What Does Your Best Audience Want?
They want and need a clear, concise and engaging chapter structure. That means you need to get into their head and heart and what’s bothering them in their world. If you don’t use headings throughout your chapter that engage them, your audience will fade away and try something easier to read.
What Does Your Best Audience Not Want?
They don’t want generalities; they don’t want your lecture; they don’t want long sentences, long paragraphs, or overwhelming information below the headings.
Think about why your best audience stops reading your precious chapter? You wouldn’t bore them would you?
Give Your Audience a Reason to Devour Your Chapters
- Fire your past writing habits – think academia, legalese, and scientific dullness. Leave passive verbs behind. Write for a 10th grader so it’s easy to understand and clear. Colloquial.
- Engage and entertain them with stories, analogies, and dialogue. Think case studies that prove your worth.
- Connect with them where they are now – their worries and challenges they want solutions for.
- Create compelling headings and subheadings. Use personality, curiosity, emotion, and surprise. Make them questions to capture their attention.
- Consider that each chapter needs a beginning, middle, and end so you don’t wander around and lose your audience.
If you don’t have a similar format for each chapter, your audience will get lost. If they get lost, you lose. They will leave immediately. If they see that the format is consistent in each chapter and each chapter is around the same length, it will easy to read. They will trust you! They will finish the chapter, then the book, then recommend it to many others as part of your 24/7 sales team.
Are You Ready to Take on this New Chapter Structure Blueprint that Catapults Book Sales and Delivers Great Clients?
Part One. The Chapter Opening – Writing the Hook
Over a long time as a full service book coach, many professional coaches, consultants, top managers and solo entrepreneurs have come to me with the biggest problem intelligent experts have – they tell, not engage.
Ask yourself, “Am I engaging my audience all through my chapters?”
That includes the questions that hook your audience in the first paragraph and the benefits to keep your readers engaged. It includes the answers they want to their challenges. For example, “Are you concerned you won’t finish your project fully?” This applies to every chapter.
Keep asking yourself, “What questions does my target audience want answered?” Remember, this is not the old “outline.”
Part Two. The Chapter Middle
In the middle of each chapter you answer the questions posed in the beginning or the hook. Here you include case studies, stories that illustrate your points and a little personality that makes you real.
Part Three. The Chapter Ending
Maybe you’ve ended your chapters with a to-do list, tips or final thoughts to ponder. Where is the engagement to get your audience to the next chapter?
Remember, when your target audience finishes the chapter and are motivated to read the next chapter, then the whole book, they will become part of your 24/7 sales team. You need many more reviews and testimonials to get your book to the top of any list. Word-of mouth still counts!
Chapter Examples of from My Clients’ Work
Hook Part 1. Turn your audience questions into the YOU voice.
The hook starts out every chapter. This client wrote a short book for her binging young women target market. Here is an example of Jeanne’s opening hook for chapter six, “Body Image”:
“Do you worry about the way you look?”
“Do you feel you look too fat?”
“Do you hide out to not be seen in public?”
Notice the way she formed questions to table her client’s worries about body image.
Hook Part 2. Give your readers a reason to keep reading.
Suzie Orman gave me this clue over 10 years ago. Start the second paragraph of the opening hook with words like, “In this chapter you will (write out in sentence form the 2-4 benefits (results) this chapter brings them).” Now your motivated audience anticipates what’s coming and will slide right into the rest of the chapter.
Example: Jeanne started the second paragraph of “Body Image” with something like this, “In this chapter you will discover how to love your body image, to overcome how you look and feel now, and how to feel confident enough to go anywhere you want.”
Do you see the connection between the hooks? You now structure your middle of the chapter in headings or headlines that can include the questions themselves. You answer the questions in your hook -about three in each chapter.
This fast-writing one edit chapter blueprint will help you keep your book concise and shorter. Busy successful people want shorter books and they buy the most books.
This gives your potential clients and target market book buyers the solutions to their worries or concerns – exactly what they wanted!
Remember, your readers don’t like to be preached to. They want answers to their problems.
The Chapter Middle Examples – Get Lifelong Fans!
Now you can shine. Build snappy headings and subheadings. Some of you can take the powerful, yet easy way. For each big heading, just ask the question you posed in your opening hook. After the headings, include stories, your useful tips, analogies, dialogue, client studies, and other potent information. These warm up the copy (not quite steaming) and bring your audience back for more new books, ecourses, trainings, and coaching/consulting.
Create Each Headline to Motivate your Readers to Keep Reading
Hand-hold your readers to get them to your “gold.” They don’t respond to just telling. They will not finish your chapter if you don’t make it easy and readable for them. If they don’t finish, you won’t get their support for your follow-up marketing. There goes your word-of-mouth.
Example: Christos Kartalis, author of “The General Manager’s Cockpit–Piloting Your Company to Achieve Your Objectives and Outperform Your Competitors Consistently”.
Christos’ second chapter, “General Managers – Where Do They Come From?” included the headings:
“Let’s First Define Born.”
“Can Leaders be “Made”?”
and “Can Leaders Really be Assigned?”
Let’s talk about the first heading “Let’s First Define Born.”
Can a general manager be “born” as such? That sounds quite bold, doesn’t it?
“Born” obviously doesn’t refer to the actual act of giving birth of a child who has “leader” written on his forehead.
Born refers to the environment in which a person grew up, by the degree to which he was influenced by it, and by his chances to lead, team up, or follow. Moreover, it has to do with the opportunities he or she had to observe behaviors that would be useful to future roles.
Many people have better chances of becoming leaders because they have this additional element throughout their childhood. This should not be taken lightly.
End of the Chapter Example – Christos’ Chapter Take Aways:
*Yes, a Leader can be “born,” be “made,” or be assigned. The less of the three you have, the more work you need to do to catch up.
*Age, Gender, or Culture are not made or break characteristics but by understanding where you come from and adjusting accordingly to the environment and situation, you can increase performance.
*You were chosen for the job not because you are the best in one area but because you are the second best in most others.
*If you are internally promoted don’t take success for granted. If you are externally hired, work harder to catch up.
I advised Christos to review a bit of what benefits readers received in this chapter and to point out benefits in the next chapter. A great motivation to keep your reader engaged.
If this style of chapter structure is new to you, take a second and third look.
Make this how to report a part of your new chapter blueprint that your clients and readers will love! Why? Because it’s so clear, easy to read, and engages them to be your fan and promoter. No better marketing than this! Remember, you market inside the book as well as the outside.
By understanding these examples, you can get a draft up fast.
What “ahas” did you from this post?
What will you try out in your present book project? Feel free to tell us the name of your book too!
Latest posts by Judy Cullins (see all)
- Changing the Way We Do Business in 2018 - January 8, 2018
- Blog, Book Chapter and Other Openings that Hook your Readers - November 28, 2017
- Warning! The 5 Most Common Subject Line Mistakes for Business Writers - October 24, 2017