Answer these 4 questions to make your book a success

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Your book better be good. Today more business books are being published than ever before. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Your business book won’t compete only with other business books. It will also compete with every other way your readers learn about new and better ways to do business.

There are seminars and webinars. There are online courses. Let’s not forget YouTube videos or articles in business publications. You must be good. You must stand out from the crowd.

Here are four questions that will help you produce a successful book. The first two questions should guide your writing. The other two questions will help you make your marketing more successful.

Who?

Who will buy your book? Let’s get one thing clear. Markets do not buy books. People buy books. Demographic descriptions don’t buy books, either. People buy books.

When you’re thinking about who will buy and read your book, don’t think about an audience. Think about a single person sitting alone and reading your book. Identify a single real person or realistic persona to write to. Remember, a real person is someone with a Social Security number and some bad habits.

Keep the description of your ideal reader handy. If you chose a real person, use their picture to remind you of their humanity. Then, write your book as if you’re having a conversation with that one person.

Why?

Now that you know who you’re writing for, it’s time for the second question. Why will they buy and read your book?

What’s the big promise of your book? Can you write it down in a sentence or two? How will your reader’s life be different and better after they read your book?

Here are six questions I learned to ask writing direct response copy. They work well for books, too. There are questions your ideal reader will ask when they’re thinking about buying your book.

  • Will it make me rich? Your book should tell them how to increase revenue or decrease expenses.
  • Will it make things easier? You could substitute “more efficient” for “easier.”
  • Will it make me famous?
  • Will it make me powerful?
  • Will it make me safe or secure?
  • Will it make me loved?

When you understand why people will buy and read your book, you can use that in two ways. Use it to guide your writing. Make sure you keep the promise of the book all the way through. Use it as the core of your marketing. The next two questions will help with that, too.

Where?

Where will they buy your book? Part of the answer for any business book is, “from Amazon.”

Learn what it takes to sell well on Amazon. You want to pick the best categories for the book. You want your book cover to stand out when it’s a small thumbnail that shows up in initial searches. You want to develop a description of the book that makes people want to buy it.

But Amazon isn’t all there is. Your book is likely to sell through specialty outlets such as association and convention bookstores. If you give speeches or workshops, you’ll want to sell your book to participants. Identify specialty outlets that are likely to work for you, then develop a plan.

Don’t forget to plan how you’ll use the web and social media to make people aware of your book and sell a few of them, too. Will you give your book a separate website? How about a separate landing page? Will you sell directly, or point people to Amazon? Plan how you will use social media to build awareness for your book.

How?

How will potential readers learn about your book? Identify the journey a person will take to buy your book. Perhaps they’ll start on social media. Perhaps they’ll read a favorable review. A friend might recommend your book. What will you do so that those things are more likely to happen and likely to be easy for a potential reader?

These are basic questions, but they’re not the only ones you will ask. If you pay attention and answer these four questions at the start of your project, then keep them handy to guide your efforts, you’re more likely to make your book a success.

Takeaways

Who will buy and read your book?

Markets don’t buy books, people buy books.

What’s the big promise of your book?

What’s in it for them?

How will your book make their life different and better?

Where will they buy your book?

Where will they buy your book besides Amazon?

How will they learn about your book?

Describe the journey to buying your book.

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