When setting out to write a nonfiction business book, there is often a disconnect. It happens between the pie-in-the-sky dream and the challenge of what, exactly, to write, because there is simply a great distance between idea and detailed action.
There is a way to resolve this disconnect, however. It starts by developing the project plan that grounds that dream into reality. And that project plan includes thinking, planning, writing and organizing the content based on these five key elements.
Who are you trying to reach? Who needs the information you have to share? Knowing and understanding your market and your specific target audience before you start writing your nonfiction business book is essential. When you clearly identify who your audience is, you create a laser focus for the substance and structure of your message. This allows your readers to identify with you and the business solutions you are offering to them.
It’s tempting to want to broaden your audience in an attempt to reach more people. By trying to appeal to every reader, you risk diluting your message and you may fail to capture the full attention of any segment of your audience.
Your nonfiction business book is not meant for everyone. It is meant for a specific audience that is ready, waiting, and eager to set aside their precious time to consume your information.
People will read your nonfiction business book because it helps them solve a problem. What problem is that? Describe it, including what their results (or lack thereof) will be in the future if they don’t read your book and take action now.
Your audience may be experiencing problems related to entrepreneurship, cash flow and expense management, winning contracts, improving profit margins, and a host of other possibilities.
Describe the pain your readers may be experiencing right now. It could be emotional, financial, results-oriented, physical, or personal pain. You want to identify all the potential pain points for your reader. They may not even be aware of how badly they are hurting withour your book until you describe it for them.
Even if you end up scaling back how much you actually include in the finished manuscript, think of this an ultra-effective deeper exploration of your audience identification. Your marketing efforts after the fact will love you for it. 🙂
Before readers are ready for the meat of your nonfiction business book, you want to help them trust you. Use examples that demonstrate how you’ve used your particular solution with great effect. Consider highlighting your education, talents, and experience. All of this information helps to establish your background and authority on the subject matter at hand. You don’t want to come across as arrogant or braggadocious (isn’t that a great word?). Simply demonstrate the breadth of your legitimacy, knowledge and accomplishments – all of which will give your readers confidence in the information and solutions you are providing.
You can include some of this in the introduction, as well as immediately following your description of their problem and pain.
The foreword is another key section in which you have an opportunity to establish credibility. Here you can have another individual, perhaps an author, subject matter expert, or a professional in the field of your topic vouch for you, your knowledge and expertise on the subject. This person will have read your book, and the forward they write will compliment you, testify to your talent, skill, knowledge, experience, etcetera, and recommend your book to your readers.
You will also enhance your credibility when you can cite facts, research, and other reliable sources for information you wish to build on or refer to in your nonfiction business book. Just be sure the facts you are citing are from sources that are actually credible themselves.
Answer the question, “what’s in it for me?” from the perspective of your audience. Readers of every nonfiction business book are looking for solutions to problems in their business life. Articulate every benefit that will accrue to your reader when they implement your solution. Include case studies and examples of scenarios and results. Your reader wants to know what has worked and been proven and they are ready for more than theory.
Expect this to be the longest section of your nonfiction business book. Obviously. Many business owners who are would-be authors find it more difficult than they anticipate to translate the concepts, actions, and approaches they know so well into written content for others.
It may help to think about this as though you were writing a training manual for someone who would be joining your business. Franchised oganizations, for example, often have detailed operations manuals that include everything from strategic positioning to their brand guide to sales and service expectations.
Break your solution down into steps, or phases, or sections. Include everything someone might need to know to fully grasp and implement each of those steps. More detail is better than less at this juncture. It is easier to cull and tighten later than it is to try to expand when you realize your book is a little short :-0. But be sure to remember your reader and keep your solution tightly focused on what they want and need.
Keep the big picture of what you are trying to accomplish in your mind as you:
Expect to invest a significant amount of time and/or money. Time if you are writing the book yourself. Money if you are hiring a ghostwriter. You’ll want to hire a professional editor and proofreader to ensure polished, professional content. Beware of offers of quick, easy, or cheap options. You already know you get what you pay for.
Boni is co-founder of Ingenium Books. She's author of One Million Readers: The Definitive Strategy to a Nonfiction Book Marketing Strategy that Saves Time, Money, and Sells More Books. Boni is an author coach, editor, and ghostwriter. As an award-winning former Canadian television reporter, news anchor, producer, and talk show host, working under the names Boni Fox and Boni Fox Gray (it's a long story), Boni covered politics, government, the economy, health, First Nations, and crime. She won several Canadian Association of Broadcaster (CAB) awards and a Jack Webster Award for best documentary. Boni also held senior management roles in government, leading teams responsible for editorial, issues management, media relations, and strategic communications planning. Boni is co-author of Rock Your Business: 26 Essential Lessons to Start, Run, and Grow Your New Business From the Ground Up and, like any good author, has several books in progress.
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