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008 - How Do You Come Up With Content For Your Book?

I’m gonna warn you in advance – I’m gonna give you a bit of “tough love” today! I’m also going to give you a bit of thinking to do that may be hard to follow along with so you may want to take that offline later…

I want to know how many times you have considered writing a book, played out the ideas in your head and the response your readers would have, felt that longing to bang on the keyboard and tell your story and dreamt about being on stage sharing your experiences and gifts. And, I want to talk about the day you finally sat down to write and you had NOTHING TO SAY!

Writing a book seems like a great idea until you sit down to write and your stumped on how to fill the pages with content. In my book Let’s Get Your Book Published, I give you a few tools for writers block and these are pretty typical across the board for any kind of writing. But, these tools are not what I want to talk about today.

I want to talk about the importance of aligning your content with your message, purpose, values, vision, and your overall goal for writing in the first place. You see, these typical writers block tools are great for the creative writer. But, my program is particularly designed to help authors get very clear on what they intend to do with their book upon publishing it. 

Just about everywhere you look on the internet you are going to find discussions on how to enhance your writing, get you a best-seller status, or otherwise be more creative with your storyline. I’m most certainly not knocking any of this, but so many of these systems focus on churning out writers and not business development focused authors.

You see, if you really understand the purpose for writing your book and how it enhances or aligns with your business message or overall platform, then you should really have no trouble defining the content…considering you are both clear on and good at what you do. So it’s really more a matter of structure…your just adding another form of communication to your message or sales funnel.

What are the core offerings of your business? What are the money makers? Where are your interests and time vested? Where are you a specialist? What makes you an expert in your field? How can you help your reader solve a problem? Where can you provide value? Where do you want to go with your personal and professional life in the future? Do you plan to speak, do workshops, teach or train on your subject? How can you structure your books content to address all these questions and use it to better define and even understand your brand, business, talents, or unique offerings to enhance your message?

Providing structure means creating an outline, yes. I think that’s pretty typical in this process. Let’s start knocking this down and getting you thinking about how you’d like to approach defining the content in your book. 

Let’s start thinking about it in terms of chapters and pages first and hopefully you can follow along here in my thinking before we start plugging in your particular content.

Begin to think about attaining a certain page count and then how many words fit into the chapters…

  • So lets say you want to reach a pretty typical 250 page book. This might be around 50,000 words.
  • Now figure out how many chapters you want.
  • You can do the math and figure out how many words you will need to write to fill each chapter.
  • Lets just say you want to have 15 chapters, then you would have just over 3,000 words per chapter.

OK, so I may have lots you there, but…my point is now we know we need 15 chapter headings. But how do go about creating the chapter subjects or headings?

  • We can talk about major subjects,
  • Move in chronological order in a story or experience,
  • Define processes,
  • or maybe we define the modules for a training program,
  • or define a chapter for each speech we might give

Making sense? We just have to draw out 3,000 words for each one of these chapters. Do you see how you are starting to get a bit of structure here now?

We can use something similar to draw out each chapter.

  • We can define the “thing”
  • How we know that “thing”
  • or how we relate to that thing
  • How us knowing that “thing” makes as an expert in that subject

Then, we make it relatable to the reader by talking to them like we are having a conversation. We talk in terms of “you” and not so much “I”.

  • What can “you” do?
  • How do “you” relate?
  • Here’s this thing I did, how would “you” do it differently?

Find your offerings, your talents, your experiences and then offer the reader value. The great thing about this approach is that it not only gets you clearer on your book, it gives you an incredible opportunity to reset your business. You almost begin to reassess the structure of your offerings. Where am I lacking and where are my strengths. It may just have you asking where you want to go and what you are missing to get there. Trust me, this process of writing a book with this approach gets you much clearer on your goals, objectives, and values.

You see, what we are really doing is kinda writing a business plan. You become your own consultant. Your going to invest a lot of time and money to produce your book and if you want a good return on your investment in any business you want to know there is some kind of return that works in your favor. Trust me, selling your books it not likely going to be that thing. The profit margins are slim unless you happen to have written a masterpiece and your lucky lottery ticket has been pulled. 

To put things into perspective…the average full time author might be lucky enough to pull a $100k income annually….as a full time author!

If you pay $14/per book to produce a high-quality hard cover book and you sell it for $24.95 and pay for shipping and handling and packaging you might return a $5 profit.

Unless, of course, you are using a distributor. My distributor in NY is currently selling my Let’s Get Your Book Published book for $4! I pay a fee for distribution and my original cost per book was $14. No one is buying my book on my website for $24.95 because why would they? You see how much money I’m loosing?

So imagine if you write a memoire, a short story, an expensive to print children’s full color book…and you haven’t built in a platform to support those you are going to struggle. Unless you plan to do something with these books…earn an income teaching or speaking…write and promote your new book immediately as a professional writer…you following me?

This is why my program teaches to write with an outcome in mind, write a small business plan, use your book as an analysis tool to harness your skill-set and your gifts to showcase them in a format that earns you an income…OUTSIDE THE BOOK!

None of this is meant to discourage you and I’m sure your even questioning if any of this is true. It just comes down to asking yourself if you’ve thought out a plan post book launch or you’re so focused on telling your story that you are willing to take a chance. I know I was for my first 2 books. And that’s ok too. The system I teach is the same regardless, but I felt so compelled to tell would-be authors the truth that I embarked on a 3-year journey to produce my program. I want to get you a published and printed book you can be proud of and make purposeful that’s all. I’ll coach you to write a book or I’ll coach and push you to get you aligned with a positive return on investment.

I’ve studied yoga for many years and I understand that a good teacher (or coach or guru) will poke and provoke and elevate you. It’s my nature to want to make you better on the other end. I’m not here to be paid and move on. If you’ve looked at the other coaching systems and your sold on the pie-eyed idea of fortune and fame I’m going to flat out tell you I’m not the coach for you! I’ll also tell you I’m not going to make you a creative writer. But I will tell you that if you invest in me and my services I’m vested in delivery you to the truth. I’m not giving you the easy system and the easy way out. But, I am getting you to the finish line with a beautiful end product you can be proud of because you did the work and put in the time…because I care!

Until next time guys…as always…good luck on your book project!

(repurposed content from podcast 008)

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