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Mining Your Personal Story for Blockbuster Book Ideas

Your Story Experience Storyteller Information Narrative Concept

Your Story Experience Storyteller Information Narrative Concept

You are an accomplished professional with lots of valuable knowledge in your field. You are considered an expert and you have years of experience in whatever it is that you do. Whatever that thing is — you are among the best people to hire for it.

Does that sound like you? If it does, then you will want to use your expertise to start publishing profitable business books.

Whether you decide to write your own book and then hire a professional editor or you opt for an experienced ghostwriter who specializes in business books, you will still need to play an active role in the development of the story your book will tell.

Here’s a quick tip: start thinking of the challenges you face in your career as potential book ideas.

Even non-fiction books should tell stories. In this case, it’s your story and requires your business background and relevant experience in order for the sequence to flow in a way that will compel your readers.

Now that’s a pretty tall order when you think about it. How are you supposed to capture the essence of your personal story and seamlessly combine your expertise? It’s not necessarily as easy as everyone would like to think it is. However, there are some techniques you can use that make it easier.

It’s best to keep these tactics in mind as you begin to write your outline or the actual content of your book. These are not steps which you can go back and apply easily, they should be tools used to craft your message in the form of a book.

To get started, here are the tips we recommend:

Start With a Time Line

Creating a time line for your book is helpful in organizing your ideas and ensuring that the story flows naturally. The first step is to simply determine at which point in time your story begins and what point in time it comes to its end.

These points in time will be different for everyone, as each story is as unique as the individual telling it. Maybe it’s when you got hired by the company you work for now. Or it could start after you graduated college and began your career.

Figure out the beginning and end point and the rest will be much easier.

Identify Your “Ah-ha!” Moments

We’ve all experienced these at various times throughout our lives. Start keeping a list of each memory that stands out as being a time when something about your craft suddenly made sense when you had struggled to grasp it before. Think of how these moments of clarity changed the way you view the world and the impact they had on your work.

Choose the moments that relate to the story you are setting out to tell your readers. Also, don’t think that these have to be overly complicated or hard to grasp. In fact, we want just the opposite effect. Frame the lesson of the story in a way that readers will be able to understand and relate to.

Oftentimes, “ah-ha” moments can be something as simple as hearing a mentor or teacher say something better than anyone before them has. Their words might not be unique or covering new ground, but they were able to make you stop and think in a way that you hadn’t before.

The idea here is to move your audience and help them learn through your own experiences along the way.

Find the Right Balance of Personal vs. Professional

I’ll be honest with you, the absolute best business books are a carefully constructed balance between someone’s personal life and their work experiences. This is by no means an easy formula to tackle.

No one really wants to read a manual on how to do the job you do well. They want a compelling story that illustrates the true weight of how your work changes lives and the world around them.

You want to be sure to include enough personality and context to frame the story of your success and to ensure that your readers want more by the time they reach the end of your book.

Start finding this balance by taking notes about important and relevant things that were going on in your life within the time line you created earlier.

Go Where Others Have Not

Last but not least, go where others have not. Venture into new territory and find out what authors with similar books have left out. What do your readers need to know that no one else is showing them?

Fix this and you will stand out to them instantly. They will not group you with all the other authors writing on related subjects. Don’t join the league of other business authors that everyone has read; define your own style and go where other authors have not dared.

Melissa G Wilson

Melissa has been a leader in the book writing, publishing and marketing arena for the past two decades. To date, she has helped more than 100 thought leaders write, publish and market their books. Her clients include executives such as Dan Weinfurter a seven-time Inc 500 winner and Orlando Ashford, President of Holland Cruise Lines.

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