Imagine for a sec that your book is a piece of communication. You have some info and you want to share it. That’s communicating, right?
In David Berlo’s model of communication from 1960, created in the context of expanding telecommunications from a technical point of view, every communication event has a Sender, a Message, a Channel and a Receiver. Your book is just the Channel... See how that’s not the whole process?
So what else do you need?
Clearly, as the writer, you’re the Sender.
You’re the one with the content to convey, the Message, which solves a problem for someone.
That’s where your reader comes in, AKA your Receiver.
When it comes to books, I talk about the sender being the voice aspect and the receiver being the audience.
And it’s essential to understand your audience if you’re going to craft a message (book content) that the receiver will understand, indicated to you by feedback that, yep, they are picking up what you’re putting down.
So, get specific on this question:
Who are you writing the book for?
Okay, heads up. It’s the person who has the problem your book is trying to solve.
(If you’re not sure what that is, check out this post: What Problem Does Your Book Solve?)
Knowing this person is essential. Here’s why.
You know your whole story. You've lived your whole story. You’ve learned all the information you want to teach.
Your creativity is endless and limitless.
And guess what.
For most of us passionate types, that means we could talk about this stuff all day.
Think about the topic of your book and how much you love it. When people ask you what you do, you light up. Words fly from your mouth and you want your passion to be contagious. You want them to be as excited about it as you are.
But with a book, we have to stop somewhere for it to be useful. Your reader isn’t picking up a massive textbook with all this info in. Your audience isn’t as experienced or into this subject as you are.
You are the expert.
They are the person way earlier on in their journey.
If you try telling them everything, the likelihood is you actually won’t solve their problem. And every book solves a problem. Unless it’s an encyclopaedia (do we even have those any more) or dictionary.
Only if you’re writing an encyclopaedia or dictionary do I give you permission to write everything you know. Otherwise, you’re simply solving a reader’s problem.
So learn about them and their life.
Figure out why they’re experiencing that problem.
Get inside their head.
Answer their burning questions.
Discover what brought them to the situation that they're in
Ask the people you know who are like this.
Then you have your book.
Then and only then will your book be meaningful.
Wondering if your book is going to be useful? Worried it doesn’t have a place in the world? Not sure if you know enough to solve your reader’s problem?
Get in touch to explore consulting options where we clarify your path to publishing.