When nonfiction authors publish a book without asking the question “Who is hungry for your book,” they often fail to create a loyal following and become a profitable author.
Most Nonfiction Authors are Ego-Centric
For those of you offended by the subtitle, I apologize. Please let me explain.
While the author is generous with sharing a wealth of information with the reader, their selection of topics comes from an internal, ego-based place. It’s not a surprise, because the average author has been thinking about their book’s topic for a very long time – sometimes decades. The natural tendency is to download all the things nagging at the author’s mind. Since the book has been in heart and mind for so long, they attempt to get it all down as quickly as possible. The AUTHOR NEEDS to say certain things in their book.
Do you notice the perspective of “author needs” is ego-centric?
Begin with Your Reader in Mind
In my GPS Coaching Program, one of the first things we do is do the download mentioned in the paragraph above. We don’t want to do any real writing…just a quick list of topics. This topic list is used later in the process of preparing for the book. For now, the topic list is set aside and will be used for selecting the best content to cover in the book.
Before we try to select the best topics to be in the book, we must identify the ideal target reader. Much like the principals in the Steven Covey book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” the author should be clear what they want from the book beyond having their name on the cover. Remember his principal of “Begin with the end in mind”?
When you think of yourself as an author five years from now:
- How are you, as a book author, perceived in the marketplace?
- Where do you see yourself five years after publication? Are you on a stage speaking before hundreds or in a small group teaching people individually?
- Who is in the audience when you speak about the book’s topics? What is the dominant gender, age range, educational level and economic condition of the audience?
- What do the followers of your book ask for when you meet? Do they want more information about a specific topic in your book? What is the topic?
When you can envision the answers to the questions above, you can actually see the people “hungry for your book” and keep them in mind as we go into the second, and perhaps the most important, step in making your reader hungry for your book.
Reader-Focus is Profitable
A book written for “anybody” is sure to fail.
However, if you write a book about success for world leaders, and give validated information to the reader, you may be noticed by such people as Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Mark Cuban who are all avid nonfiction readers. They see reading as a shortcut to the great lessons of life. Here’s a quote from George R.R. Martin, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…the man who never reads lives only one.” Borrowing experience from nonfiction books is the reason leaders are readers.
On the other hand, if your book is about the value of loving yourself, you have a totally different audience. This book’s audience is just as hungry for your book. They are likely to be very loyal when someone shares their insights into more self-love. They will go to your book signings, subscribe to your blog, attend your workshops and bring profit to the author.
I’m going to say something you might find offensive. I believe until you clearly identify your reader, you have no business authoring a book. It’s simple to me. You don’t want to become part of the endless sea of mediocre authors. You want to make all your time, work and money invested in your book to bring you pride, profits and loyal people. The ONLY way to accomplish the goal is to know your hungry reader before you publish.