In the age of information, it might surprise you to realize how much vital information is not accessible to the public. There are many high-dollar professions built around helping normal people with urgent and complex processes that require a special kind of expertise. To get reliable answers to some questions, you might have to pay hundreds of dollars to a consultant or licensed specialist in the area of health, law, or finance. While a book doesn’t completely replace the live, personal advice of hiring a professional, it can liberate sacred information previously kept behind closed doors.
You’ll need to decide the level of magnification and resolution you are going to apply to your topic. An infinite number of books can be written on increasingly refined, yet related, subtopics belonging to the same parent category. You can take the stance that your reader is a total newcomer and only needs a basic overview of concepts (the “Intro to” or “101” approach). You can challenge the established wisdom on a complex but well-known subject by bringing it into an esoteric domain that only a few experts on the planet will even be capable of understanding.
You can also take a common subject but talk about it from a perspective that only applies to a rare and specific kind of person. Plenty of types of people need to understand social media marketing, but not all of them need to improve their Facebook ad conversion rates, and certainly, most of them aren’t involved in the complexities of working for the aerospace industry from home. Your options are only as limited as your imagination and your ability to find enough people to pay for what you write about.
● The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding: How to Build a Product or Service into a World-Class Brand by Al and Laura Ries
● Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor's Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond by Chris Burniske and Jack Tatar
● Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction by Richard Todd and Tracy Kidder
These are the kinds of instructional guides readers will turn to when they know they have holes in their understanding of a subject that matters to them. The information they are missing
What issues are you attempting to solve for your readers? Why haven’t they been able to solve those problems until now? What will make your book their best hope for resolution? It will have to do something that no other solution has offered them. The better you understand the nature of the problem, the obstacles to overcoming it, and the approaches other authors offer, the more unique and effective your information will be. That means happier readers, marketing that speaks to the right people, and more sales sustained for the long-term future.
Philosophically oriented books take subjects readers think they understand and increase their awareness of how much they don’t yet know. The more one learns about a subject, the more they see of what else they can learn about it, such as with the examples presented here:
● As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
● The Book of Five Rings: A Classic Text on the Japanese Way of the Sword by Miyamoto Musashi
● Destination Earth: A New Philosophy of Travel by a World-Traveler by Nicos Hadjicostis
● The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Don Miguel Ruiz
● Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
Determining the ideal length of your book requires you to think about its focus, its resolution, and how it will appear in the eyes of readers once it is published, including the typical page count they have come to expect from other books on your subject. An extremely long book (compared to category conventions) can come across as either intimidating or impressive. An extremely short book can appear reader-friendly or underwhelming. The word count, once formatted according to the author’s preferences for font size and page size (known by publisher’s as the trim size), will roughly determine the total number of pages in a book.
If you are not clear in your goal for your book from the time you start writing, its scope may shift and grow beyond anticipation. Endless rounds of editing and rewriting will ensue as you realize you aren’t covering everything you want to. This is particularly a danger if you believe your book must include every valuable thought you’ve ever had or tell the story of your entire life. Believing your first book is your only shot to communicate what matters to you leads to a desperate state of content overstuffing. The influence of your book will be defined by its limits.
About the Author
Gregory Diehl is the author of the new book, The Influential Author: How and Why to Write, Publish, and Sell Nonfiction Books that Matter. The book takes a unique and in-depth look at all aspects of book planning, writing, editing, and promoting for self-publishers.
Check out The Influential Author on Amazon at: https://amzn.to/2RGTYDE
Learn more about Gregory’s work at: https://identitypublications.com
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