Writing a Book: How not to write a dull, boring business book

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No one ever sat down to write a dull, boring business book. OK, then why are there so many of them? Here are things you can do to keep your book from winding up in the dull and boring bin.

Compelling Content to Make It Interesting

Great content is the key to a fascinating business book. Pick up any of the great business books of the past few decades, such as Jim Collins’ Good to Great. You will discover that the authors created compelling content.

Compelling content helps a reader make progress. It helps him or her solve an important problem or answer a vexing question. Compelling content starts when you know your reader’s pain points and you can show them how to make the pain go away.

Compelling content is different and distinctive. Do proprietary research. Find examples to illustrate your points that no one else uses. You can do the research yourself, hire professional help, or turn the task over to a motivated library science student.

Compelling content comprises “packages” with three ingredients. There’s the key point you want to make. You support that point with research and with stories and examples.

You must have good content to keep your book out of the dull and boring bin. But content alone is not enough.

Writing to Make it Understandable

The best writing is simple, understandable writing. You can check your readability with a variety of instruments. If you want to make sure that your writing is clear, have an intelligent 15-year-old read it and tell you what it says. If he or she gets it wrong, rewrite.

Understandable writing is smooth. Read your draft out loud. Your mouth will stumble over things your eyes miss.

Set a brisk pace. Most business book readers read at somewhere between 250 and 350 words per minute. Our minds wander after six minutes. Keep your packages at 1,500 words or less.

Make your content understandable by using devices that readers love. Charts and graphs help a reader get the key points and visualize them. Use tips and bulleted lists to isolate key learning. Do a brief recap at the end of every chapter.

Bottom Line

To write a business book that people read, use, and recommend create compelling content that’s easy to understand and easy to read.

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