Years ago, I was at a police training conference and spending some time at the bar with my friend Dave Smith. Dave is legendary in the police training world for the character that he uses to illustrate his points, a fellow named, “Officer J. D. ‘Buck’ Savage.” Dave is also one of those people gets right to the heart of important issues.
We were several beers into our evening when he leaned across the table and said to me, “Wally, do you know what cops buy?” I told him I didn’t.
“They buy magic cop stuff.” Actually, Dave didn’t use the word “stuff.” His word was much more colorful. But you get the point.
That’s an important insight. Cops do indeed buy “magic” cop stuff. They buy things that will get results for them, preferably without a lot of hard work. But cops aren’t the only people who buy magic stuff.
Engineers buy magic engineer stuff. Marketing managers buy magic marketing manager stuff. So do automobile mechanics and school crossing guards. So you do you. Readers will buy your book if it promises magic. They will tell all their friends about it if it delivers.
Making Your Book a Magical Success
Ask the key question: “After the reader finishes my book, what will he or she be able to do that they can’t do now?”
Once you know the answer to that one, ask another question. “Is that important to the reader?”
People buy business books so they can solve important and vexing problems. Usually they already know how to solve the problem, but the only solutions they’re aware of are hard and maybe dangerous.
Make it Easy
Help your reader understand the magic. Use stories, charts, and diagrams to aid understanding. Summarize key points. Make it easy for them to do the trick.
Make It Safe
We’re all nervous about trying something new, so make it seem as safe as possible. Share examples of how other people have done the trick and describe their success. Warn them about possible pitfalls. Describe the learning curve and where there may be speed bumps.
Magic stuff is stuff that enables ordinary people to do something they want to do but couldn’t do before. Write a book that teaches your reader an important magic trick. If you do that your book will deliver magical results for you.