You’ve been playing around with the idea of writing a book and you’ve settled on an idea, ‘I’ll write an… all about/what you need know… book’ you decide. But while this might seem like the easiest type of book to write, in that you’re not limiting yourself with what you can and can’t put in your book, that type of book also has its own disadvantages.
For one, if you go too general your reader comes away from your book having an overall knowledge of the topic but that’s it. Going too general, will produce nothing more than something anyone could do with a Google search.
Now you may have saved them time by packaging all that information in one nice little box, but if doesn’t go beyond being a bland book, it’ll never be remembered long after the book has been closed. – It’s also doubtful if anyone will recommend it to someone else that’s looking for more information on the topic.
Why? Because it was well, ‘Meh.’
And I know you don’t want anyone thinking that of something you spent hours researching, writing, and putting together. You want them to think, ‘Wow, that was a really helpful book. It’s made me want to know more on the subject.’ Now that’s the response you want.
But how do you do that?
Firstly, although you’re meeting a reader possibly at the first time they’re looking up the topic of your book, there’s no reason why you can’t spice up your book with fascinating facts, easy ways to get started, and make it an interesting read.
For example, painting a wall could be seen as a bland topic, but if you discussed the history of painting, what goes into that tin of paint they’re holding in their hand, and how to paint a room with less paint and in half the time, I’m sure you can see that you’ve lifted a generalised book on painting into something that’s a little bit special and one that’s going to be remembered.
You’ve got to do the same.
General doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Heck, even the text on the side of a cereal box can grab your attention for 5 minutes as you’ve chewing down at breakfast time. If you want your reader to read your book from cover to cover, you’ve got to do the same. They should feel like rushing off to tell their family and friends to tell them about the things they’ve learned from you.
How to Structure Your “All About” Book:
Opening Your Book
Start With An Anecdote Or Story – Just because you’re writing a nonfiction book doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come out of the gates at a limp trot. Like all books if you don’t grab the reader at the first page, you can quickly lose them to something more exciting. Because of that you’ve got to start with an anecdote or lead in with a story.
We’re hard wired and naturally primed for stories, so it’s not only an easy way to introduce them to the topic but to build from there. Starting this way also gives them a flavor of your writing and what lies ahead for them.
Give A Brief Overview – While the topic you’re discussing might have a long history, you really only need to give the briefest history on the topic with only the most important or little-known facts needed. Like the section on anecdotes, don’t get too bogged down in every small detail they need to know, make it light and easy reading. – If they wanted in depth research they would have gone to Google.
Share What You’re Going To Share – Not only can this excite the reader to find out what lies ahead for them in the book, but they know before going further if your book is something they’re going to learn from. – This can help dispel those… ‘This book was a complete waste of my time’ reviews you see attached to books.
The Content Of Your Book
Topic And Subtopics – This shouldn’t need much explanation as this is the meat and potatoes of your book. Going through everything a beginner should know about, break your main topic down into subtopics and smaller. The more carefully you plan and outline your book here, the better the finished item will be.
When planning your book, it’s also important to remember the reader in your planning. You might have an idea for what you want to put in the book, but what does your reader want to see there? A good way to find out is to…
- Go to question and answers sites like Yahoo answers, or Quora.
- Go to forums dedicated to your topic and look for newcomers’ questions.
- Go to AskThePublic.com and research the ‘Who? What? Where? Why? and How?’ questions your audience is asking.
By providing, not only what you think should be there, but what your audience is actually looking for, means that your book is going to be a more rounded one where your reader won’t need to read anything else to get what they need.
Keep Your Reader In Mind – Another thing that you’ll need to consider is your end user. A book tailored to a twelve-year-old with look and read a lot different than one to a 40-year-old. Having an idea of your reader in mind will help greatly in how you speak, what depth you’re going to go into, and what they’re looking from your book.
Finishing Your Book
How you close your book is of course up to you, but there should be some type of summing up and going back over what your reader has learned from your book. You should also have further reading, or places of reference they can go to for more information. But if you’ve given them everything they need this mightn’t be needed. – Add it anyway.
Finally, when creating an ‘all about/what you need to know’ book look beyond providing a huge amount of generalised information and nothing else. Your book should educate, entertain, solve problems and give your reader the best start you can on the topic.
Do that and you’ll not only have a book that’s read from cover to cover, but one that makes a difference in your readers life beyond what a Google search could give them.
Now it’s up to you to write it. 🙂