Welcome to our multi-part blog series: How to Write a Book for Your Business. This series is for small business owners and entrepreneurs who are ready to write a book that supports your business.
- In Part I we introduce the idea of writing a book (Read it here)
- Part 2 speaks to the four wide-reaching benefits to writing a book (Read it here)
And here, in Part 3a, we’re talking about ways to find the perfect subject for your book and what steps you can take to ensure it speaks to the precise purpose of your business.
Book Writing Preparatory Housekeeping
By this point in your “I actually think I’m going to write a book to support my business!” journey, you’re aware that there are a few mental and emotional housekeeping steps that needs to happen prior to your entering that great phase in which you’re spending Saturday mornings in the local co-working space happily typing away.
Steps 1 & 2, Check
Step 1: The Introduction. Either you introduce the idea to yourself consciously through abundant planning and forethought, smack into it as if it were a telephone pole you failed to notice on the sidewalk, or a third party sideswipes you with it.
Step 2: “The Four Stages of ROP” (Recognition of Possibility) (why yes, as a matter of fact, I did make that up, thank you!)
- Outright refusal: “Hilarious, me? No f-ing way. I’m no writer!”
- Disbelief: “Who, me?”
- Early acceptance: “Well, actually, wait a gosh darned second. Why not me?”
- Final acceptance, “Heck yeah, me!”
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Step 3: Gather Your Interior Reinforcements
The third step is when you take stock: sit quietly and acknowledge that a) yes, this is a thing you can do, and b) of course you are up to the task- you own a business, for heaven’s sake. You will have read Part I: Am I Ready to Write a Book? which lays out all of the groundwork for getting your thoughts together and organizing your early planning.
In this phase, you begin gathering interior reinforcements so you’re mentally and emotionally prepared to take on this work, ultimately coming around to recognizing the enormous and long-reaching benefits of writing a book you and your business will enjoy in four key areas.
Lastly, Step 4: Finding your Perfect Subject
The fourth and final step of housekeeping prior to the actual cracking of the knuckles and getting down to it is when you lay a solid foundation for the project so you have an infrastructure inside of which you can begin to focus your ideas.
This phase has two parts:
1) brainstorm or plan out what your book will be about
2) refine those ideas until you have a very specific “service” book for your customers and clients.
Brainstorm or Plan the Purpose of the Book
“I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” Flannery O’Connor
Some people figure out what they want to say through the act of hacking through the brush of their minds until they hit on the locus of their thoughts.
Recognizing what you do as an entrepreneur or small business owner that would help you “fix the particular pain” of your clients and customers is core to the project. Writing into what that could look like as a book is a great way to figure out what the book’s purpose will be and what it will solve for your clients and customers.
If you’re not the “plunge in and write” type, you might want to take a more tactical or analytical approach by “interviewing” yourself to find the essence of what your book would be about. As an entrepreneur or small business owner, what you offer your clients or customers falls under one of two categories: you sell a product or provide a service.
Just as journalists hit on the five WH questions (and one “H” question for good luck) in the first paragraph of an article to make sure they’ve spoken to all of the pertinent information right off the bat, so could you in order to figure out what your book (or your first book, we can call it) will speak to and help solve for your clients and customers.
With some modification from the journalist’s process, here are the questions you can use to find your book’s topic and purpose. Note: the questions are designed to get to the heart of your client’s “pain” so you can step in with your product or service and heal it:
- Who is your specific client or customer?
- What do they want that you provide?
- Where can they get your service or products?
- When in a client or customer’s life would they want what you provide?
- Why would a client or customer want what you provide? What about it makes it special or particularly useful?
- How do you provide your service or products so they meet the precise needs of your customers and clients?
After answering these questions, you can assemble them into an outline. If your job is to heal the customer’s pain, then consider how what you do satisfies or remedies something lacking in your customer’s life or particular skill set. That will lead you to the main purpose for the book.
In the next blog, Part 3b: Writing a Book for Your Business: Refining the Perfect Subject, we’ll talk about the second step of finding your perfect subject: 2) Be Specific. See examples of small businesses refining their purpose in order to write a book that meets their customer’s exact needs, find out why being specific is great for book sales, and learn about how that specificity will foster yet more work and sales, lead to speaking engagements based on the book, and more.