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Sophie: So I have got an idea of a book in my head but I haven’t got the foggiest idea how to get that anywhere other than in my head.
Joe: Ok, that makes a lot of sense people think that you can just start writing a book straight away. From that point on the first thing you’ve got to answer is the question “What is the book going to do for the reader”?
So you work out what solution that book is going to offer or what pain that book is going to help with. Once you have got that you work out some steps that you can help people through and they will be your sort of bigger area things so it could be if it was a book on marketing it could be finding customers, how to actually keep customers and how to build referrals, they could be your three areas and within that then you can always chunk down into some detail so if you had three main areas and seven sub areas you are starting to map out the hierarchy for your book of sections and chapters.
What I have found is once you’ve actually worked hard on these titles you then have the question asked and posed to yourself and you will write much more easily and then you just fill in the gaps. A typical book these days you can get a good self-help book of about 28,000 words, so if you had, say if you had a book where there were three sections you could work that out in to chunks, I can’t do the maths but it is not actually a big job you may find each small chunk is only 500-600 words and that makes the writing bite size. So if you have got to work up to a 30,000 count, you could actually do it in a month if you set yourself a target to write every day.
Sophie: So start with the end in mind and then work backwards?
Joe: Yeah work back, you’ve got to have a picture. I think most people, it’s like going on holiday if you don’t know where you are going you couldn get there but you don’t know what vehicle you’re going to use or which way you’re going to go next, whereas if you’ve got a map it sort of takes care of itself and so I’ve always found the first thing of where people get stuck is they start writing really good stuff but they haven’t actually got the overriding structure and they haven’t even thought about what the solution or the questions they are answering for their audience are and they end up with a book, I see it a lot people will write loads of stuff about their business and their history and their story but because it hasn’t got any intention to answer any questions mostly it gets thrown out and so it’s good actually to read a lot as well, you’ll find out, you’ll see what people do wrong and what people do well and that will give you a good model and I know you have been reading a lot of Dan Kennedy books recently and I think he is a really good model for business owners as far as structuring a book.
Sophie: Yes because you get, there’s a lot of value in there but there’s a lot, you still get a lot of value from the book but there is still a lot to learn but you have still got something, it’s not, you want to get a certain amount from a book don’t you?
Joe: Yeah and if you look at his table of contents, every single chapter and section is basically the best headline you have ever heard you want to read the book and if you think further along if you’re going to turn your book into a marketing tool if your book is already written as a series of really good articles with a really strong head line you can pop bits of the book out and gain traffic and interest really quickly so that is the secret. I think his books are a really good model. I also think Richard Wiseman’s book “Luck Factor” is a really good model of a structured book if you look at each chapter they all follow the same formula.