I had three conversations this week with potential book authors. Each one was unique but there was one constant with the three. They each wanted to jump into creating their book outline before they conducted extensive research on their book. Why?
I discovered through our conversations that they didn’t realize their book had to be unique in some way for it to sell. I shared that the inner circle of their networks, what is termed a Primary Circle, can only take you so far when it comes to writing books that get traction.
Therefore, it is essential to:
1) research competitive books before writing your outline.
2) Ask yourself, “How do I make my book a complementor to the many similar books on the market?”
3) Research, at the very least, the top ten books that are similar.
If you already have a subject in mind, one of the best tools on Amazon is its “Look Inside” feature where you can read the first few pages of the competitive books in your market. Here, you can compare each book’s Table of Contents and the first pages of each book. Your goal, here, would be to create as powerful and engaging a start with your book as these books have done.
Now let’s go further with three tips for effectively researching the positioning of your book so that you get what I term a “Book Smart Start.”
- Find books in your area that rank from 1-10,000. How? Type in Amazon, for example, sales or leadership or career best sellers. Here, I typed in Amazon “leadership books best seller 2017” and one of the first books that came up called “Think Wrong,” was ranked about 3000, overall in an ebook format. This means that this book is currently selling 25 to 70 books a day, according to a ranking tool for Amazon where 80% or more of all books are sold.
- Look inside these top books and note their Table of Contents. Taking the book, “Think Wrong,” again as an example, I found it contained only eight chapters when I included the introduction and the conclusion. The chapters were straight forward. The first one is titled “Be Bold. ” This makes sense as it sets up an emotional appeal to readers to commit to disrupt the current status quo. The other chapters follow, as many books of this type, to encourage readers to move beyond just thinking about new creations and, instead, making them and then improving upon them as they build a customer base.It’s obvious that this book is directed at people who want to start new business initiatives or entire new companies. Your goal here would be to juxtapose what you find from looking at the Table of Contents for this book with others that are of similar ranking.
- Read the reviews for these top books. Again looking at the book “Thinking Wrong,” I discovered people liked the research the authors shared about leaders in history who thought “wrong” or differently. Other reviewers said they liked the process and practices the authors shared around disrupting old practices of thinking to create better new products and services. On the negative side, one reader found the book too challenging to read.
Your goal, with any of the above three tips, would be to take the best ideas from the books you researched, along with anything you saw could be done differently or better. Then write a book that speaks to readers looking for fresh perspectives and unique examples/stories. Finally, when you are done writing your first draft, pull in both a good developmental editor to ensure your writing flows and is engaging and compelling.
Want more? Feel free to reach out and let me know what you would like more insight on when it comes to writing non-fiction books or any content that engages and moves people to become the best they can be.
Here’s to your publishing success!
Melissa G Wilson
Helping you make a difference through your content.