Self-help books are BIG these days, and writing one may be the smartest financial move any writer can makeâ€”provided that he or she presents the material in a way that drives sales!
People are always looking for ways to enrich their lives and improve their skills. In order to get them to buy your book, you must convince them that you understand their problems, know how to resolve them and are qualified to provide solutions. This means showing off a little by describing your degrees, and work or life experience.
â€œHookâ€ potential buyers by clearly stating why your book is unique and listing the benefits it provides. Most writers put their biggest hooks on the back covers or front inside flaps of their books.
To get a feel for writing compelling â€œhooksâ€ spend a couple of hours in the self-help section of your local bookstore. Notice which of the â€œhooksâ€ you read do the best job of making you want to read more. When writing your own â€œhookâ€ be sure you list whatever tools and techniques your book will provide that readers can use.
Write a your working title and chapter headings next
Decide on a working title for your book. Your title should make people pull your book off the shelf promise readersâ€™ lives will be better in some way after reading your book. It should both define the purpose of your book and indicate a plan for action. For example, a title of â€œIncrease Sales: 10 Steps For Getting and Keeping More Customersâ€ states the purpose (increasing sales) and tells readers that you have a plan for helping them achieve it (10 steps for getting and keeping more customers.)
Organize your material logically, with a clear beginning, middle and end. Use this outline to structure your material and lead readers easily from one chapter to the next. Focus on writing compelling chapter headings.
An excellent way of doing this is making a list of the big questions/problems your audience will want your book to answer. Then turn the questions/problems into answers/solutions and use those for your chapter titles. For example, shyness is a problem for many people. Your question would be â€œHow do I overcome my shyness?â€ and your chapter head would be â€œHow to Leave Being Shy Behind!â€
Adhere strictly to a strong, well-designed format in your outline. Flesh it out by describing the process or solution youâ€™re going to give in that chapter and writing compelling subheads for each point that chapter will cover.
Grab â€˜em early in the game
Grab your readersâ€™ attention on the first page of the first chapter by painting a picture of the book. Tell them the benefits theyâ€™ll receive from the book and how those benefits will improve their lives.
Remember that everyone is very busy today. Your audience wants an easy, fast read that will help them solve a problem they have right away. You need to know the questions they want to have answered and answer them quickly.
Keep paragraphs shortâ€”no more than four or five sentences per paragraph. Keep chapters short as well. The beginning of the chapter should describe benefits. The middle of the chapter should tell readers what they need to do to get those benefits. The end should give them two or three steps they can start taking immediately and lead in to whatâ€™s going to happen in the nest chapter. Link each chapter to the bookâ€™s theme and previous chapters.
Make your book readable
Donâ€™t worry too much about your writing. Just aim to communicate clearly and simply. Write using a warm, friendly, conversational style that includes the reader. Write the reader into the book and make tem feel that you are speaking to them personally by including anecdotes and examples with which they can identify.
Use plenty of subheads to keep readersâ€™ attention moving forward. Break up the written copy by using tables, graphs, bulleted lists, drawings or even cartoons.
Whenever possible, use interactive techniques such as exercises and quizzes, which are another great way to get readers involved. A word of caution here: Be certain that you fully explain these exercises before presenting them. Ask several acquaintances read your instructions and do the exercises to be sure your directions are clear.
Your last chapter should be especially powerful and bring your book to a meaningful conclusion that includes a strong, encouraging send-off. If you havenâ€™t summarized each chapter, include a summary of the book after the last chapter.
Remember: Start by asking questions that identify and define the problem. Turn those questions/problems into answers/solutions. Write compelling chapter heads and sub heads, and always lead seamlessly from one chapter to the next.
Finally, keep it short, sweet, compelling and quick and you canâ€™t go wrong!