I was talking today with someone about writing a book about a tough subject, but one that could have lasting positive – and maybe a few negative – repercussions. For her, writing the right book, at the right time for the right readers, means a book that gets attention. A book that inspires change. A book that is hard to walk away from. It’s about writing what needs to be written – and sometimes it’s not always the one you think is burning to be written.
Last week, over brunch on a Sunday morning, I talked this over with another author I’d worked with last year, who mentioned that her business coach discussed this with her, and they both agreed, that her first book was the one that has had the most impact, and means that her next book – the one she originally thought she should start with – will have a lot more impact.
You see, you have to be willing to put it out there as to why what you want to say what matters. If you just focus on sharing the wisdom without the story that goes behind your gaining that wisdom, it’s potentially not going to have the same levels of connection for the reader. Readers like to know that you have the right to share and give advice.
About 20 years ago, I was adviced by a colleague to read Anita Broddicks book about The Body Shop. He felt that because she was a dynamic woman in business, and he viewed me as having similar potential perhaps, that I’d get a lot out of it. As I respected him and his views, I brought the book and ploughed slowly through it. Then decided never to read it again. She was not a single mother, working like a trojan to raise kids, pay the bills, survive the chaos and loneliness of an existence that I was enduring at the time. Her kids had grown, she had a husband, and money to put into her dreams. All things that were unrelatable for me. I wanted inspiration from someone that had walked my journey, and could give me hope that I’d survive beyond next month.
If you wish to inspire, provoke, lead changes, become a recognised author-ity in any area, you have to earn the right to the respect of your readers, your fans, to ensure that they get who you are and why they should care about what you’re banging on about.
It really is that simple.
So how do you know if what you want to write is the right book for now, for what you want to achieve?
First, identify what it is that you are really aiming for. It may not be quite what you think. For example: If you’re going to write about leadership, how can you demonstrate that you get the kind of leadership that YOUR readers want to learn about? Ahh, so who are those readers? The real first step is to identify them.
I’m currently about to launch ‘That Sex Book’. It’s a sassy little number about having great relationships, dating, and excellent sex for over 50 year olds. It’s for predominantly straight single women, aged 50 – 75. It’s intended to give hope, discuss ideas, and share some of the funny and interesting stories about these three things. Yes, married people will maybe read it too, and so might some from the LGBT Community. Some men will also read it, I’m sure of that. But the people most likely to buy it and read it and share it are those outlined above. So I’ve ensured that as I’ve written it, I’ve kept Sally, the 55 year old, sassy attractive, single for the last two years, friend in mind. I’ve also considered that Janet, my married for 40 years, still sexually active friend is also going to enjoy reading it, and might share it with her husband who will laugh and perhaps recommend it to his best mate too.
I’m possibly going to be asked by any interviewers why I have not gone into more detail about some aspects of sexuality for the LGBT Community but quite simply, that’s both not my primary market and also it’s a demographic I have very limited personal experience with sexually.
No one said you have to write a non-fiction book that is only about facts and ideas. You can write any kind of book you want to write, because it’s YOUR book. You don’t get to ask a new parent why they decided to have children with blue eyes instead of brown. It’s just how it worked out. Write the RIGHT book at the Right time for the Right readers first. Open them up to who you are and why you care, so they know why they should care too.
If you want more on how to develop this skill of the right book, right time, right readers, please check out the details for the Online Idea to Author-ity Course Here