In our last post, we looked at the necessity of building hope into your book, as well as in how you convey your big idea to clients and readers. We spoke about how every book needs four essential elements: a big idea, hope, a method (or nuts and bolts) and entertainment (usually in the form of stories related to how the big idea has worked).
So, what are your nuts and bolts, and how do you lay out the solutions you’re proposing?
If you’re writing a book to establish yourself as a thought leader, you really do need to have some practical takeaways and some step-by-step how-to information. (And we ask that you think about this when we meet with you to uncover your big idea and help you focus on what your message and services really are.)
Even if you’re talking about a decidedly non-DIY subject such as engineering of some sort, you will still need to include information on materials, procedures, contacts. You still need some nuts and bolts in the book, even if it’s a book primarily about ideas or concepts or new breakthroughs in an esoteric field. Readers want practical information, especially during a WE Cycle such as ours, when society craves hope, community, the common good.
So, in refining your big idea, and outlining your book, ask yourself whether you have the following:
- Instructions. These are the overall plans you will lay out for your reader or client to build toward success incorporating your system derived from your big idea.
- Steps. People sometimes really need to be told the obvious. It might be clear to you how your methods work, but readers should be taken carefully through each step so they can measure they progress, and feel that they’re working steadily toward a resolution of their problems.
- Diagrams. You can lay out your nuts and bolts in visual form that will help readers get a sense of how to proceed.
- Checklists. Many people like lists to tick off so that they can keep track of what they’ve done, what they need to do and what’s ahead.
- Diagnostics. Your methods or nuts and bolts should have clear explanations of what your method does, and why, and how a person should evaluate himself or herself at every point in the journey.
- Worksheets. Some readers and clients are hands-on and look for worksheets that can help them organize their thoughts in order to put your methods into action.
- Exercises. If you build in exercises – with suggested or established results – you will gain the confidence of your reader who needs something that seems palpable to do to incorporate your ideas into their lives in order to resolve their problems.
Do you have the practical stuff that will constitute the methods and procedures that people will look for in this book?
Now, not every book has to fully develop every element. Some categories are naturally weak in this area. But that doesn’t mean you get a pass, because the more you can raise your book to be above-average in your weak areas, the better.
We’ll explore the entertainment you need to have in your books (and in how you describe your big idea and business or service) in our next post.
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