When you set out to write your book, you face the dreaded blank page (or blank screen — doesn’t matter).
Where to begin?
I’d like to give you a handhold on that cliff. Three questions you’ll answer in the course of your book, and a suggestion for the best order to answer them.
As you survey the information you plan to give in your book, you need to understand that “why” forks in two directions:
- Your reader
At best, you will weave the two whys together in your origin story. If you have experience of the problem your reader faces, the weaving will be easy.
Your origin story tells how you came to do this thing you do for your clients. Did intractable pain lead you to a career in pain management? Did your mother’s death make you concerned about orphans? Did a lifelong love for reading make you want to be a teacher?
As you explain where you came from, you express the needs and aspirations of your reader. You show that you understand them and that you empathize with them from your own experience.
What if you don’t have that deep personal experience? In that case, you can use a case study of someone you helped, told with the same deep attention to detail that you would if it were your autobiography.
If you immerse your reader in the why, you will gain trust and a sense that you are a worthy guide.
The second question is a glimpse at the result of your process.
Your reader is stuck in the mire of an urgent problem, and you can help. What does the result look like?
A clear vision of the outcome of your service:
- A child learning to read
- A life free from pain
- A comfortable retirement
- (Whatever it is you offer)
The what shows your readers that you understand their aspirations. The clarity of that will even help them achieve their goals.
Knowing the process will give your readers confidence that it will work.
I’m sorry to say that this works even with bogus cures and fake science. Snake oil salesmen and scammers give detailed mechanisms of how their scams pay off. They tell the secret process by which their victims profit against all odds. And their victims believe so strongly that they can barely overcome their belief even when it’s proved wrong.
I’m not suggesting anyone do that. It’s evil.
But it’s an illustration of the power of “how.”
Maybe you have a proprietary process and are afraid someone will steal it from you. You can share the general principles.
Maybe it’s very complicated, and you’re concerned that your reader won’t understand it. Use a metaphor. Put it in terms your reader can understand.
Tell them the steps in your process and how it works.
Beginning Your Book
As you begin your book, you’ll write down notes for everything you want to include.
Think in terms of the categories of Why, What, and How and the outline of your book will grow and take shape.