Tuesday, August 15, 2017

From the Edit Desk: What's the Takeaway?

When new writers approach me about publishing their nonfiction books, or hire me to coach them as they write their book, the first thing I want to know is how their book will benefit the reader. What's the takeaway?

Writing our stories so that others can learn from them, or be encouraged by, or inspired by, or challenged by is crucial. But just writing down the facts and figures isn't enough. You want to provide the reader with a story or information that stays with them after they've finished reading. Start with asking yourself questions.

What is your book's purpose? What do you want to accomplish with this book? Create a simple statement of one to three sentences to answer these questions - they will serve as your guide as you write each chapter. Hone your message by keeping these questions in mind.

How will your book connect with readers? Think of themes within your message, and then broaden those themes from a reader's perspective. Take your story, your message and make it relevant to your reader.

As you write, imagine one specific reader of your book. What do you want her to tell others about your book? What do you want him to remember most? How do you want your words,  your story, your message to change that person's life?

What's different about your message? Why are you the right one to tell this story, share this message? How can you tie your uniqueness together with the broad overall themes to give your reader the most takeaway?

Write your book with those questions in mind, and your message should resonate with readers.


Recent articles:

I Want to Write a Book - Where Do I Start?
From the Edit Desk: Before Sending that Manuscript to Editor or Publisher
From the Edit Desk: Sense of Place
From the Edit Desk: What's the Takeaway?
Do You Dream?
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