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The Story Part of Your Book

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If you’re writing a business book, or at least a book that explains your process or the service you offer, you will spend a lot of time going through the methods of why you do what you do or why you recommend what you recommend.

Don’t forget to tell a story.

Don’t forget stories, ever.

That’s how we remember.

You may feel that your work is too serious, or your process too scientific, or may feel you don’t have it in you to care about what you consider the province of fiction writers. But you would be wrong.

If you can explain your system or process or method by also recounting how it worked with actual people in real situations, you will have a much stronger book. And readers will remember that your process worked.

They may not remember all the details of the process – which is why it’s always good to explain things several times, in blogs, reports, newsletters, in person and in your book – but they will remember the story of someone or some business that benefited from working with you or using what you’ve created.

You don’t have to think in terms of plot – you’re not writing a thriller. But you should think in terms of situation, and of people. How did someone’s life change, or business improve, with what you’ve done? What were people’s situations before working with you, and what did they do to change, thanks to what you’re outlining in your book?

If you give palpable examples of your system, process or service through the eyes of customers or clients, you will actually have a better sense of it yourself.

A way to get the story out is to think in terms of the approach of many (too many, perhaps) newspaper articles: an anecdote lead. That is, you illustrate the point of your story by beginning that story with how someone dealt with a dilemma or situation, and then you get to the crux of the matter.

For example, “John Smith never knew that his energy bill was so high until he began using the solar panels his community forced him to install. After he installed the pricey panels he saw his monthly electricity costs were 75% lower than the previous month, and he was convinced.” The story would talk about high utility costs, the reluctance of many people to embrace solar energy, and the results of using the sun to help create electricity. But it started with someone’s story and moved to the news.

You can do a similar thing in your book. With each chapter, think in terms of how you may illustrate your point with a story. It actually gets easier to explain what you’re doing if you have “characters,” in the form of past clients or customers, whose problems you helped solve.

We all love a good story. Even those of us writing nonfiction business books.

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