I routinely talk to people who believe they have a book in them. Some hope to write it themselves. Others are looking for ghost-writing help in getting it written. Several years ago I crafted a short questionnaire to help both groups clarify their thinking.
-> Why a book? (As opposed to a white paper, a flyer, a newsletter, or a series of blog posts.)
-> Who is this book for? (“Everyone” is not an acceptable answer.)
-> Reduce this target group down to one, prototypical reader. In other words, describe the ONE person you envision needing the book. (Their sex, age, background, situation, needs, etc.)
-> After this person has read your book, what do you want them to:
- . . . understand that they didn’t understand before?
- . . . feel that they didn’t feel before?
- . . . be motivated to do that haven’t done before?
-> Describe the tone and style of the writing in this book. (Academic? Informal? Intellectual? Flowery? Profound? Humorous? Serious? Playful? Etc.)
-> What existing books would this book be comparable to? (What successful books will be sitting next to it on bookstore shelves?)
-> What materials will constitute the sources for this book?
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