It is critical to also select the message you want to convey about the topic. Your book may be about “trees”, but what about them? Are you for planting a lot more, caring for the ones we’ve got, building cities around them? Most books non-fiction books educate as well as advocate for something the author is passionate about. The major overarching message of your book is called the core message. There are usually only one, two or three core messages, at most, in a book. Beyond the core message at the heart of the book, there are generally also major points the author wishes to make.
For instance, the author may advocate for living life to the fullest as his or her core message. He or she may then have seven strategies (or seven major points) for how to do this. It is important for an author to keep the number of messages and major points to a number a consumer can easily comprehend and use, unless this is a professional reference or academic book.
Throughout the book, the author must convince the reader of the importance of the message through facts and statistics, examples, stories and case studies, hoping the reader will take action after reading the book.
The thing that differentiates a great book from simply a good one is its ability to transform the reader, no matter what the topic of the book is. Transformational books are the kind you always remember and which touch your life. There have been hundreds of these types of books on dozens of subjects—from business to motorcycle maintenance. It isn’t the subject matter but the author’s ability to communicate universal messages that makes a book transformational. Almost any book can increase its audience geometrically if the author thought beyond the mere subject to the life lessons that can be communicated through his or her subject. Authors of transformational books use their subjects to advocate a view of life that is usually bright, positive, and hopeful about new directions.
Although it is possible to improve the sales possibilities of almost any book with a good media message and aggressive public relations, books won’t be purchased or may be returned if they aren’t well written. And why write a book that isn’t going to impact the life of a reader?
One of the things that keeps a writer from making that leap to transformational is that the writer tells only his or her own story, assuming it will be interesting on its face to other people. Don’t make readers figure out your point. You must guide them to make the connection—deliver the message, and then illustrate it with your story and, if applicable, the stories of others.
It is also vital that you write in an authentic voice. People read between the lines and can get a sense of whether the writer is justifying a point of view, is angry about something, or is bored with a subject. Write when you are feeling the most passion about whatever it is, and the passion will come through in the words and be contagious.
If you have any doubt about your ability to write a transformational book, work with a creative coach and a book coach to get your message right up front and feedback throughout the development or writing process. An editor can help you with the common writing problems described below, but you may need a book coach who can challenge your thinking to be sure your book is transformational.