To write a better book, do these five things before you start writing

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Too many business authors write their book and then figure out how to market it. If you want your book to be successful, do it the other way. Here’s what you can do to plan the marketing before you write your book.

Who’s Going to Read Your Book?

You probably have a rough idea in your head of who will read your book. They’re people you’ve worked with as a consultant or trainer. They’re the people in the audiences you speak to. It’s time to make that general concept specific.

Choose people from those you’ve worked with. Describe who they are, what they do, and why they will clamor to read book you want to write. Don’t keep this in your head. Writing it down forces you to be specific. You’ll learn a lot about your audience.

How Many of Them Are There?

If there aren’t enough potential book buyers out there, there’s no point in writing a book they’ll like. There’s no way to do this scientifically. Use your best judgement and some hard thinking. Get a friend or a professional colleague to help you figure it out.

Search for Your Book on Amazon

Assume that you finished your book. How will the people you want to read it search for it? Use search words you think they will use. Check out categories you think they might explore.

When you research “your book” on Amazon, you’ll learn a lot about what’s out there. You’ll discover how to make your book distinctive and better.

Write the Elevator Speech for Your Book

You will write a better book if you’re crystal clear about what your book will do for the reader. One of the best ways to get clarity is to write a short elevator speech for your book. I use a three-step format.

You know how …;

Well, my book …

So, that …

You know how should describe your reader and his or her problem. Well, my book should describe how you will help them solve it. So, that should describe what their life will be like after they read your book.

Here’s an example. It’s an elevator speech for my recent e-book, Now You’re the Boss.

“Companies promote thousands of people from individual contributor to a manager every year. Few get any help making this critical transition. Now You’re the Boss helps them understand the transition, learn the important skills they need for their new job, and master the skills of learning from experience they can use for the rest of their life.”

You won’t dash this off in a few moments. For most of the people I work with, and for me, the process stretches over several days and many drafts. It’s worth it, because if you can write a good elevator speech for your book, you’ll write a better book.

Write the Marketing Copy for Your Book

You’ve got your elevator speech, now flesh it out. Draft the basic marketing copy you can use in several locations. Don’t worry, you can change it later if you need to.

Write a short description. This should be about 400 characters long.

Write a longer description. Make it 3500 characters at most.

Choose seven search words you think people are likely to use when they look for a book like yours. Identify the Amazon categories where your book will fit.

For extra credit, you can describe the best-selling books in those categories and how your book is both different and distinctive.

Bottom Line

One of the best ways to write a successful business book is to think about marketing it before you write.

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