Entertaining Your Readers

Beneath the Cover, nuts and bolts, successful business books, entertainment in your bookIn our last post, we looked at how to present the methods – or the nuts and bolts – of the ideas in your book in a way that not only appeals to the person who craves a step-by-step methodology, but to anyone who wants to get a sense of how your process plays out.

But in addition to giving you a process to impart information, every book needs to be entertaining, too. Even the most intriguing ideas are hard to get through if the writing is uninspired, or if the text is merely explanatory with little or no color.

What elements of your book are fun, pleasurable, and entertaining?

Again, not every book has to contain every element in detail. Some categories are just naturally weak in this area. But that doesn’t mean you get a pass, because the more you can raise your book to above average status in your weak areas, the better.

Say, for example, that your book is about accounting, and most likely directed toward an audience that’s made up of people who have methodical personalities (you know, accountants). Well, it’s natural that your book contain many how-to procedures, nuts-and-bolts processes. Every accounting book has these. But the elements that will set your book apart in this field are its Big Idea and its Hope and Entertainment.

What are the stories behind those procedures? What are the narratives behind the processes? Whom did these things help – where did the services take them? Where were they before and where are they now? 

These are what drive readers to turn pages. They want to be informed – but they also want a story.

This is why so many successful business books are staged as mystery puzzles. The authors present the reader with a question, or a conundrum to be solved. Then they seek to how the answer contradicts traditional wisdom.

Good to Great is exactly this kind of book. In it, Jim Collins and his team pored over data from companies that made the jump to greatness. The author recounted how these companies discovered the steps, processes, and characteristics that enabled them to achieve greatness

Good to Great could have simply laid out the steps in a straightforward fashion, minus the storytelling and sense of discovery. But then the book wouldn’t have been nearly as entertaining a read.

And it wouldn’t have been a success.

And it wouldn’t have been remembered.

It definitely would have been boring. And we wouldn’t be talking about it now. Today’s audience wants more than facts. We want engagement, and that means stories, and emotion, and hope.

The day of the dry business book is over. You need entertainment in your book, and the tools in the chart below show you the way to fill your book with that essential, useful and stimulating entertainment. Make sure you use them.

So what’s the story you are telling in your book?

We’ll explore this a little further in our next post.

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