3 Tips to Figure Out What to Write Your Book About

One of the questions I get asked most frequently by my clients who want to write a non-fiction book is, “What should I write about?”

And my answer every single time is, “It depends.”  I know – not a very helpful answer but definitely a truthful one.

Tip #1:  It’s All About Purpose

What to write about in your non-fiction book depends a whole heck of a lot on what the purpose of your book is.  What do you want the book to accomplish?  For your business?  For your reader?  For you?  For the world?  If your primary purpose for your book is to attract clients to your coaching business, then you may write a how-to book about your specialty.  If your primary purpose for your book is to position yourself as an expert, then you may write about an innovative concept or a unique approach you’ve developed.

Tip #2:  A General Rule of Thumb

Another good place to start when deciding what you want your book to be about is to think about your clients and your market.  For example, if you are a speaker, what topic do you get asked to speak most frequently about?  What are the most frequent follow-up questions you field from your audiences?  The answers to those questions will begin to steer you in the direction of what your market and your readers want you to write about.

If you’re a coach or a consultant, ask yourself what is the most frequent problem your clients come to you to solve?  What is the solution you offer?  What process do you take them through?  Think of your potential reader as your typical client, present the problem that keeps them up at night, and then lead them step-by-step through your solutions-based process.  The do-it-yourselfers will become raving fans and spread the word about your book (more book sales – yay!).  The others will become convinced you are the person to help them and will buy more of your products or services (more sales – yay!).

Tip #3:  How to Make Sure Your Book Is a Page Turner

As a non-fiction author, your first mission (should you choose to accept it!) is to inform AND entertain.  Frequently new writers forget that second all important part.  With the tremendous competition for the time and attention of your readers that exists today, you must entertain them to keep them turning the pages and reading your book.

So how do you go about doing that?  Tell stories.  Forget that you are a speaker or a coach or a consultant.  For the duration of your book-writing process, you are a storyteller.  Tell stories that will illustrate the theory of what you’re informing your readers about.  Stories are entertaining.

If you can tell YOUR story, so much the better.  A reader becomes connected to and engages with the main character of a well-written novel.  A reader becomes connected to and engages with the author of a well-written non-fiction book.  One way to ensure it’s like (and maybe even love) at first sight is to dig deep and tell your story with as much authenticity and vulnerability as you can stand.  As my clients will attest, my most frequent editorial suggestion is, “Dig deeper.  Get more real.  Get naked.”

Whether you’re telling your story or presenting case studies or creating a hypothetical example, what you are always talking about is the solution of a problem.  You are painting a picture of the before, during, and after of a transformational process – before is the presentation of the problem, during is the presentation of the solution, after is the benefits and rewards of having solved the problem.

There you have it – three tips for figuring out what to write about.  Now you’re ready to write.  On your mark, get set, go!

When was the last time you were both informed and entertained by a book?  Share below.

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