Writing a Book: The Research Treasure Hunt

Apr 22, 2013 | Writing A Book

In school, doing research was usually a slog. Your teacher picked the topic. Almost all your research involved reading. And a lot of that reading was mind-numbing. It was like breaking rocks on a chain gang.

The research that adds value to your book is more like a treasure hunt where you run from one great discovery to another. It’s exciting and energizing. Here are some tips for doing it well.

Start with your very own personal brain. Try to wring out everything you know and want to know about your topic. Make lists of questions, key points, information sources, ideas, and people.

The research that will add value to your book will be the research that brings information or insight that’s not common knowledge yet. You get that from talking to people and from making connections between bits of information.

Use one source to point you to others. Use published information to point you to people and other published information. Use people to point you to published information and to other people. Here’s an example.

Do a search on Amazon for your topic. You’ll get a list of books, of course, but you’re on the trail to much more. Those books have authors and the authors know more about the topic than what’s in their books. Interview them.

When you talk to someone about your topic, always ask two questions. What should I read to learn more? Who else should I talk to?

Your book research is different from most of the research you did in school. It’s about something you’re interested in and the process is like a treasure hunt.

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