There is no substitute for you
What is your story? What makes your business special?
Is there anything unique about it, or do you look, feel and sound like your competitors?
If you find it hard to answer these questions (most people do), it would be wise for you to sit down with someone you trust and conduct what my colleagues and I call an “uncovery,” which is a systematic, purposeful examination and exploration of your product, your service, and yourself. It’s designed to uncover the story that is uniquely yours to tell.
Here is a brief run-through of the process to help you get started on an uncovery of your own. There are many more questions in a good uncovery than the ones included here. This simply gives you a foundation.
Uncovering an Uncovery
First, a general examination:
â€¢ What are we trying to make happen?
â€¢ What is the first step in making that happen?
â€¢ What distractions have been holding us back?
Then, from the perspective of your future reader (or client), ask yourself the following:
â€¢ What do I need you for?
â€¢ What makes you the best choice?
â€¢ What does it cost?
â€¢ Why are you specifically qualified to help me,?
â€¢ Why do you have so many services to choose from? Can you help me narrow them down?
â€¢ Why does it take as long as it does?
â€¢ Who are you?
â€¢ Whom do you look up to?
â€¢ Who currently uses your products and services?
â€¢ How do you do it?
â€¢ How will I benefit from what you have to offer?
â€¢ How do we get started?
These client questions are organized into four groups of three, taking into account the four basic human temperamentsÂ that exist in your target audience. The Competitive typesÂ out there will consider your book in terms of what it is and what makes it so good; the Spontaneous-minded will be looking for reasons why your book is the right choice. The Humanistic person will wonder who you are. The Methodical wants to know how your process works in the book you’re writing.
Is It Your Story or Theirs?
The answer is both. First, you must uncover your unique story. Then you must tell it in a way that makes it a story about your readers. How will your story meet their needs?
In determining that first step, you are also finding out where to begin your story. And by looking at the distractions that have been holding you back, you are figuring out what to leave out of your story. Do not waste your time on things that do not contribute to your ultimate goal.
What are you going to write about? How about something really exoticâ€”something that hasnâ€™t been done yet, like a book on cats? Oh, waitâ€¦ AmazonÂ currently has something like 311,183 books listed for cats.
Well, how about something informative? What do you know that nobody else does? Gardening? You love to garden, right? You have the best roses on the block. Hmmmâ€¦AmazonÂ currently has maybe 90,000 books on gardening. Well, thenâ€¦cookingâ€”I know youâ€™re a great cook. Your crÃ¨me brÃ»lÃ©eÂ is to die for! But, Amazon has 247,031 cooking books (at least 20 on crÃ¨me brÃ»lÃ©e alone!). Maybe you can write on engineeringâ€”thatâ€™s pretty selective. Uh-oh. There are alreadyÂ few hundred thousand engineering books. Much has already been done.
So, if you canâ€™t write about what you know because a million people have already written books about what you know, what can you do? How can you create a bestsellerÂ out of a topic thatâ€™s been done, and done again, and then done again?
Hereâ€™s how: by being you.
By writing your book on cooking, or gardening, or engineering or camping or love, or how granny became a painter, with YOUR personal twist. Writing a book begins with you and your ideas of why your focusÂ on this topic is different, better, or more educational. FocusÂ on the reader and what he or she will learn (or, in fiction, what he or she will enjoy) and youâ€™ve got a great start.
Some truly outstanding, fabulous books have never made a bestsellerÂ list. And, some truly terrible books have made the bestseller listsÂ because of good marketing.
The way to becoming a bestselling author, then, is this:
â€¢ Write what you know. If you donâ€™t know enough of what you know, learn it.
â€¢ Write with passion. Make the reader feel what you feel.
â€¢ Begin your marketing before you go to publication. Start a blog, build a platform.
â€¢ Be the loudest, craziest, most sincere supporter of your own work. Find ways to tell the world about it; create a short, two- or three-sentence overview that you can deliver to anyone, at any time, one that will have people drooling over your book and rushing to Amazon or your website or your blog to buy it.
“The process of writing can be a powerful tool for self discovery. Writing demands self-knowledge; it forces the writer to become a student of human nature, to pay attention to his experience, to understand the nature of experience itself. By delving into raw experience and distilling it into a work of art, the writer is engaging in the heart and soul of philosophyâ€”making sense out of life.”
~ Georg Buehler, 1837â€“1898, scholar of ancient Indian languages and law
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