Planning a business book?
You want to write a business book so that people will see you as the expert in your field? You want potential clients to be desperate to work with you? You want the book to sell or circulate in its thousands? …
What you need to do is keep those goals in mind every step of the way, isn’t it?
Frankly, a focus on those goals will lead to you writing a book which portrays you as a total ego-maniac. Nobody will want to read it, never mind act on it by seeking you out. I seriously doubt that even your nearest and dearest will be able to look you in the eye and tell you they’re impressed.
Think about it. How much time would you spend reading a book which is nothing more than an extremely wordy advert for its writer’s products or services?
Those goals are the benefits you want to achieve for yourself.
There is nothing wrong with wanting those benefits. You’re not a terrible person for having those ambitions.
If you go at the task of writing your book asking yourself constantly whether you’re sounding knowledgeable or ‘expert’ enough, or whether you’re making it clear how wonderful you’d be as your reader’s coach/mentor/consultant/etc., you are much more likely to be putting up barriers between yourself and the success you want rather than bringing success closer to yourself.
What you really need to know is this:
Good writing serves the reader. That is the material point.
Instead of focusing on your own aims, ask yourself what you can offer your readers. What value can you bring to the table or what problem can you solve for them? Why should your readers spend their time and effort bothering with this book?
‘But this is my story… Isn’t that valuable?’
We all have a story of some sort and yes, everyone’s story is valuable. Why do we find stories so interesting? Why are they so ingrained in our human natures? One word: emotion. When we read a story or watch a film, what we want is to feel what it is like to be that person and live that life. I am not sneering at stories in general nor at your personal story. Stories are wonderful expressions of ourselves.
But here’s the thing… when a person reads a novel, that emotional connection with the characters is primarily what he or she is seeking. His expectations do not go beyond that. He probably isn’t expecting to learn a lesson in his own life. When that same person reads a non-fiction book, especially a business or self-development book, a lesson he can take into his own life is exactly what he expects and wants. If he doesn’t get it, you’ve lost him.
Do share your story. Stories encourage readers to engage with your message. Stories are a key element of what makes us human. But… and I mean this kindly, as advice to save you wasted energies… make sure that when you sit down to plan, organise and write your book, you keep offering your readers value they can use in their own lives.
People crave help and advice
By putting aside your own goals for your book, then – sales of goods and services, book sales, enhanced professional reputation – and focusing instead on how you can use the book to help your readers, you will do a much better job of actually achieving your own goals. Try looking your own ambitions in the eye and they will run away and hide from you.
From January 2018, I will be running courses for people who want to write a book which will help people. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an enquiry.