There’s more to writing a book than writing a book

Most authors jump into the book publishing realm because they feel they have something important to share. Most do. If your plan is to create something people will want to read, though, it’s important to understand your intended audience before you make final decisions about content, style, and even the message.

Part of that includes some soul searching. It’s amazing how many authors dive into the book writing process without being clear about why they want to write a book. More often than not, these dedicated souls pour tons of time and attention into something that’s not working. Some of those authors have come to me for editing and turned into ghostwriting clients. Exhausted and frustrated from a process that often included a book writing coach, they finished feeling empty and discouraged with an underwhelming manuscript.

What drives you?

Before you start crafting your outline, buying book writing software (please know the cons before you do this), or diving into writing the book contents, consider your why. What is the reason you feel compelled to put this book out there?

Are you looking to bolster credibility as you strive to grow your business? Maybe you see a back-of-room revenue opportunity for new public speaking gigs or ones you already have scheduled? Are you looking to leave a legacy?

There's more to writing a book than writing a book image of computer screen and empty notebookMany are motivated by a desire to help people. Few realize it’s important to create a message your audience wants to read. Before you sit down to pour out your soul, spend some time thinking about what you want to share from your audience’s perspective. Then choose what you’ll include based on their likely concerns. This is rarely what you think they need to know.

Do you see a book as a way to help promote your primary business? If so, have you defined your ideal reader? That’s important. For example, if you’re a financial services provider looking to attract millennial clients who are interested in building lifestyle businesses, your style and message needs to be different than what might be appropriate for Boomers ready to retire.

Are you trying to change the world? Let’s say you have an idea that’s landmark. To make it work, you need to build alliances with those who might disagree with your views. Portraying them as idiots or using offensive language to describe those who don’t share your perspectives won’t do much to build bridges. Consider carefully how you might expand your views to present a more inclusive message as you make decisions on the content of your book.

Helping writer’s block too

Get clear about why you want to write a book. It’s okay if you just want something to share with family and friends. That’s a different investment in time and money than one where your goals involve influence, promotion, or revenue.

In the next blog post, I’ll offer a list of questions and more. It will help you figure out a book focus that will get you and your readers smiling. This post speaks to business owners writing a book, but it applies to anyone who’s busy.  And who isn’t these days?

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