How-to Books are like a Recipe

Apr 9, 2012 | Writing A Book

Many people who contact me are experts. They know their subject well. They often give training programs and speeches about their subject. Often they want to turn that expertise into a how-to book.

How-to Books are Like a Recipe

A good how-to book is like a recipe Your reader should be able to get good results by assembling the ingredients and following your directions.

Don’t Expect Master Chef Results

You’re the master chef. You can adjust the recipe so it works well in any situation. Don’t expect your readers to be master chefs. Keep things simple.

Don’t Expect them to Learn Outside the Recipe

Define your ideal reader. Outline your expectations of what he or she should know. Write the recipe with that in mind.

Test Your Recipe

Find some people like your target readers. Don’t just have them read your recipe, have them try it out. If the results are good, move to publication. If not, revise, revise.

Good how-to books can be perennial best sellers. You’re more likely to produce a good one if you keep it simple, test it, and revise until everything works.