What are some of the ideas you want to write about in your first book?

Posted July 24th @ 6:49 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Before starting to write and self-publish a brand-building book, first-time authors should ask, What are some of the ideas I want to write about?

It’s never to early to begin to identify and organize the information you’re going to share to help your readers solve their problems and achieve their goals.

This is the 16th in a series of questions, ideas, and tips to help you write a book to build your brand.

Content options

The information you’re going to share in your book is likely to fall into 1, or more, of the following categories:

  • Principles. Principles areĀ  the fundamental building blocks, or big ideas, that readers need to understand in order to take informed action. Think in terms of Steven Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Principles resemble the underlying rules of physics rather than specific actions to be taken in specific circumstances.
  • Strategies. Strategies are more specific; they are approaches to solving a problem or achieving a goal that multiple individual steps or procedures. Think in terms of use an inclined plane to lift heavy objects, rather than locate a source of wood to build a ramp. Strategies typically include several tasks, or steps taken in the correct order.
  • Shortcuts. Shortcuts and tips are more specific. They describe how to efficiently take action in specific situations. Shortcuts and tips assume that readers understand the steps that need to be taken, but want to save time or reduce the amount of effort required to take action.
  • Examples. Information, alone, is rarely enough to engage and maintain the attention of your readers. Examples, including case studies and anecdotes, permit you to reinforce your ideas with stories that illustrate your ideas at work. Examples add credibility to your ideas and make it easier for readers to remember your ideas.
  • Inspiration. Inspiration plays a major role in successful “how to” books. Readers are not only looking for information, readers are also looking for hope–the possibility that they can solve their problems and achieve their goals. Information without hope is unlikely to succeed, just as inspiration without practical, action-oriented information is not enough. Both must be present in your book.

Taking action

Your journey to writing and publishing success begins when you begin to make a list of the ideas you want to include in your book, and start to organize your ideas into the above categories.

You can create your list of content ideas for your book on yellow legal pads of paper, or you can use the lists and tables features of your word processing program. Or, even better, as shown in the above graphic, you can organize your ideas using a mind mapping program like Mindjet’s MindManager.

Free Q&A workbook

If you’re writing a book to build your personal brand, I invite you to download my (currently) free workbook, 99 Questions to Ask Before Starting to Write & Self-Publish a Brand-Building Book.

Whether you’re a first-time author, or an experienced author looking for fresh perspectives and tips, 99 Questions will help you clarify goals, analyze your readers, examine competing books, choose a book title, and explore your options. It will also help you prepare a successful book marketing and post-publication profit plan. It will save you time and help you avoid false starts and wasted effort. Share your comments and questions about writing and publishing below, or use my online form.

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