If you missed Part 1 of Finding the Right Topic for Your Book, you can find it here.
What Do You Want Your Book to Do For Your Readers?
Once you have established what you want your book to do for you, you need to address the more important question of what you want your book to do for your reader.
Of course you want your book to help your reader, but in what way? Do you want to give them a deeper understanding of the topic? Do you want to give them steps to take to help themselves? Do you want your readers to feel like they have found someone who understands their wants and needs?
No matter what you want the book to do for your reader, it must also include some sort of transformation from them. Your book must take them from where they are to a better place; it must move them forward on their journey.
You also want your book to give your reader a “win” so they have a positive experience with you. Your book should include steps or checklists to help them transform that part of their lives that they need help with. In short, they need something concrete to prove their progress.
Dig into Frequently Asked Questions
If you have been in your field for any length of time, you can name the most common problems that people come to you with. You probably get the same requests over and over. For example, as a book coach, people constantly ask me about copyright and ISBN. That is such a small part of the book process but it is something that people worry about. To me, it’s no big deal. To people who don’t know about it, it’s this looming “thing” that they need to understand. So I make sure I address those topics in my talks or in my books.
The common questions can be large or small problems. You may want to make a list of Frequently Asked Questions and create your book from some (or all) of those questions. If people are asking the same questions over and over, they are telling you there is a need for information on that topic and that they want to know about it. That’s a huge clue as to what your book should be about!
Don’t Hold Back
Many people are afraid to put their entire process into a book. “Why would they pay for my consulting when it’s all in the book?”
Have you ever tried to learn a language by listening to the audios? Did you stick with it? Some people have been successful but the vast majority needed more help, either attending classes, going to a language immersion school, traveling to a foreign country, or hiring a tutor. It’s the same way with a book. A small percentage of people will be able to implement what you teach on their own. Most will need more personalized help. (And those who don’t need your help may want to support you or meet you in person. People pay for access.)
One of the best talks I ever heard was by a speaker who gave away every secret of what he did in his business. It was a two hour talk and he told us where he found virtual assistants, exactly what he did, types of ads and emails and all the nitpicky stuff that happened on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. By the end of the talk, I could do what he did but I didn’t WANT to. Holy cow it was a lot of work! It was much easier to PAY him to do it than to put all those processes in place. If you provide a service, smart people are happy to pay you to do the work rather than reinvent the wheel. (And admit it: We all want to work with smart people.)
Which leads to knowing exactly who your target customer/ideal client is. You must have a very firm picture in your mind of who you want to attract to your business.
But My Stuff is for Everyone!
Your stuff may be for everyone, but when it comes time to work with people, you probably prefer some more than others. My friend Tara Jacobsen at Marketing Artfully markets specifically to women. Does she get male clients? Yes. She says, “Any man who can wade through miles of pink poop is more than welcome.” You will automatically attract people who are not your ideal clients. But you market to your ideal client.
Sharon Vornholt of Louisville Gals Real Estate Blog has information for everyone on her blog. But she works mostly with more advanced investors and business people. While she will occasionally write something for the newbie, the majority of her blog posts and podcasts are for intermediate to advanced people.
If you have several target markets, you may need to write more than one book. Again, that’s not a bad thing. More books = more authority. (As long as they are well-written books with quality content. But you knew that.)
Bottom Line: Your Book is for Your Reader
Too often, entrepreneurs start a business selling what they have instead of finding out what people need and providing that. The right topic for your book starts with asking what your reader needs that you can provide. Yes, you may have to make adjustments in your business, particularly if you’re not finding all the clients you need to sustain your ideal lifestyle. But keeping the needs of your clients in the forefront of your business process is a key component of your success.
FREE WORKSHEET WITH BOOK PURPOSE/TYPE MATRIX
Ready to narrow down your topic and the type of book you’re going to write? I’ve designed a worksheet to help you find the right topic for your book. Fill your information in the box below and you’ll be redirected to the worksheet immediately.