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013 - Starting off the New Year with a Book Manuscript

2020 manuscript Jan 01, 2020

Happy New Year! Today is the first blank page in your 365 page book. Are you off to writing a good one? Literally! Are you?

So, you want to write a book and you have no idea where to start. I want to talk about how to get started. I know you’ve been thinking about it for awhile and you want to step into this decade as an author. 

If you’ve been listening to my shows you know that I’m a huge proponent of a few things as it relates to your book: 

  1. Aligning with your values, goals, and objectives outside the book (your platform)
  2. Using your book as a tool to leverage the material in other communication or training, and 
  3. Using the book to set you apart and position you as an expert on your subject

If you’ve been listening for awhile you’ve heard some of this already so I won’t repeat myself, but now you’re ready to get started with some brainstorming but your not exactly sure where to start. 

In my podcast yesterday I talked about the idea of setting up 15 chapter headings…consider these sub-sets of the title or major groups of similar topics. I want you to get out a piece of paper and write the title of your book at the top and number 1 through 15.

We are going to pick a random topic as an example here….I love coffee. How about coffee? So we want to write a book about the lovely aromatic cup of seductive goodness…but we also want to keep in mind our goals for it’s production. If you are writing about coffee just because you like coffee are you ok with only making an income from book sales? In other words, if you are not running a coffee business, are you aware that the book may not likely earn you many profits. Is that OK? Now if you are in the business of coffee you can align the content of your book a bit differently. Where do you make your largest profits in your coffee business? Clearly these will be hot topics in your book because they are your profit centers. But, are these interesting to the reader? Is your reader someone that just loves coffee or someone looking for your advice about owning and operating a coffee shop, a coffee roasting business, an entrepreneurial coffee importation business, farming the beans…who are you talking to and how can you organize the book to hit that target reader? And, how can you break up the content to entertain the coffee connoisseur but also build a business of coaching, teaching, training, or some kind of speaking or consulting as an expert in all things coffee?

Your goal is going to define how we initially choose the content. Are you clear on the goal? Most people struggle to write a book when they aren’t quite an expert in something, but then others struggle with the results if they haven’t built or don’t intend to build out a platform.

You’ve got to approach the writing with the idea that you are either doing this project for pure entertainment or for some other goal. You’ve also got to decide if you want to be an author or a writer. If you are a creative writer and your not planning to write another book then you have to know your profits may be relatively small. But, if you want to be a writer and continue writing then you have to be actively marketing your next book as soon as you finish the one you are working on. If you are an author then you have something to say but you have an entirely independent other business or income that is supporting your efforts. But, you can also use the books content to position you or define or redefine your platform.

so, back to the coffee…

Lets say we want to title the book “For the Love of Coffee”. We would assume this is a feel good book about all the wondrous joys of that little bean - how to prepare it, how to buy it, etc. But, if we shift the name slightly to “Growing a Coffee Business” then we’ve identified this is not so much a book about the enjoyment of the cup, but more the entrepreneurial aspects of the business. It doesn’t mean that we can’t also talk about enjoying and preparing the perfect cup, but we’ve told the reader we are going to help them do something…build their coffee business. Now we can shift the title slightly again and call the book “A Step by Step Guide for Returning a Profit From Your Coffee Business”. Now we are sure to believe there is an expert speaking to us about how to grow and expand our business and we might be more inclined to read the book AND…if we like it maybe the author is teaching courses for training me and/or my staff? 

Are you understanding this better now? You want to use your book as a tool to expand your business, but it doesn’t mean you can’t hit on all the good stuff either.  After all, if the coffee isn’t good your not staying in business. So put that all in there and then start building out the chapters to support a training or consulting program. Identify the key aspects for your consulting. You can now position yourself as an expert of coffee AND an expert at helping others…you are showcasing your value now.

So back to to those 15 chapter headings…

Chapter 1 can now be all about the love of coffee and you could even have an intro describing why you and how you started with your love affair of coffee.

So here we are:

Intro: Build yourself up and say why you are the person for the job (the consultant job we just made for you) by showcasing your history and experience with coffee.

Chapter 1: Identify the structure for what’s about to come.

Chapter 2: Lay the framework for your approach

Chapter 3: Get them excited with action and stimulate them with ideas…present the opportunity

Chapter 4: Keep building a relationship with the reader…how can you do that?

Chapter 5: Showcase your knowledge in a practical way and showcase your mastery of all things coffee yes, but are you a good business person? How do you come across? 

You see how this is coming together now? Can you take this offline and keep going? Think about where you provide value…even make a list and incorporate that into the chapters. Always keep in mind as your writing how these concepts move into relatable real world business or service as this is the real return on your investment over time. Best-sellers come and go, but using a book to build out a solid business plan is a lifelong return on the investment of both time and money!

OK guys…I want to leave you with all that to get going and realize that the more you can get done before you take a manuscript to the editor the lower your cost for editing will be. Use the editor to enhance your work, not write your book. You have to align with your personal and business platform first as an editor wouldn’t know these things. So, be sure to always work hard and do your best before you contact an editor. We can talk a bit more about this in the next podcast. For now, keep going or defining your chapter headings then break them down a bit further into subheadings…you’ll need to fill in the content with some 3,000 words to get you a good sized 200-250 page book. You’ve got to put forward the effort here outside of my coaching or training and prior to it going to an editor. So, this is where your personal magic happens. This is what separates the author from the writer. 

We’ll keep going here and building this out in the next episodes, but for now keep focused on your values, visions, purpose, and plan for the outcome of the book…the content will fill in with more focus on the end result. 

I’m off to walk my dogs and I’ll check in again soon. Keep going and keep up! Get clear on your vision and in no time you’ll work yourself into becoming an author in 2020. I can help you with all phases of the project. I’ve been a book designer and layout artist for many years. So I’ve got you covered! 

Let me know what topics your interested in and we can add those to a show for you to keep you going. 

Eyes on the prize! 

Until next time…


Material repurposed from our podcast. Season 3, Episode 1. Listen here.

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