Nailing Your Purpose, Concept, and Audience

Making sure you write the RIGHT book for the RIGHT people.

First thing: clarify your purpose for writing your book
While most authors have multiple purposes and desired outcomes for their book, there are four main categories to keep in mind when you’re getting your book out there.

First, are you writing it to position yourself as an expert or an authority in your market? If so, do you want to make sure the book is designed to build certainty in your audience that you are THE person to go to in your space?

Second, is your book going to be a lead generator to bring in more prospects into your world? If that’s the case, there are certain ways to construct it that make it a valuable part of your funnel. (And by a funnel, that does not have to be the crazy funnels you see all over the place these days. Just simply the method for bringing people into your world).

Third, if you are someone that has learned some incredible things or accomplished a lot, you may want your book to be a legacy for the world or your family. If that’s the case, you can structure the book much closer to the heart and focus as much on your message as you would your audience.

Fourth, some of you may just want to write a book! It’s something that’s always been a goal and it’s on your heart, so you’re ready to make it happen. If that’s you, that’s awesome. The good news is you can combine that with any of the above three and have a double impact.

As we’ve all heard before, “start with the end in mind.” Knowing what you want your book to do for you once done will make putting it together a lot easier and more effective.

Determining your “back-end” (what are you wanting to build or create with your book?)
Just like we are told to start with the end in mind in life, the same is true for our books.

When we were referred to the back-end of your book, it’s what you’re hoping to build as a result of getting it out there.

Are you looking to build up a massive email list? Create a coaching or mentorship program? What about a large Mastermind? Maybe to get the word out for an organization you care about or your business?

Whatever it is you want to build, keep that in mind for your book.

If you have a business in mind with creating your book, you’re most likely wanting to either get on “stages” - digital or physical - or win new clients. The good news is, there’s no better tool to do that.

Whatever the goal of your book, whether it be to get the word out, build an email list, when essential new clients, or get on stages, knowing that purpose will allow you to craft it in a way that resonates with your audience and builds certainty that you’re the one to go to.

Take some time and bullet out what you’re hoping to build with the back-end of your book.

Understand your audience - the “who”
If you’re wanting to write a book that impacts lives and drives business, you have to know “who” you’re aiming for. There’s a reason that every marketing and sales program out there talks about understanding your market or your audience, and your book is no different.

Start by getting clear on the person or group you’re writing to. Oftentimes, when we’re sharing our wisdom and “lessons learned,” our audience is us a few years back. If that’s the case, close your eyes and think back to what you were thinking, feeling, and facing at those times. That’s who you’re writing to in this situation.

Understanding who this person is and forming a clear picture in your mind is called building an “avatar,” which is just a fancy way of saying you can picture the exact person you want to read and benefit from your book. Once you get a clear picture of that person, or avatar, you want to nail down where they are now and where they will be when they’re done reading your book.

Where are they now?
Where are they in their life now? What pain are they having? What struggles do they face? What frustrates the heck out of them every day, all day? You’re trying to find what they can’t stand so you can be the one to give them the right guidance to get past it and to a better place. (If you’re struggling here, go back to your avatar/target above and get a clearer picture, even if that means interviewing the people you want to position to and doing some research. It’ll be well worth it).

Where will they be?
This is where it gets fun. Anyone taking the time to read a book, study a program, or invest in a mentor or coach is looking for one thing: transformation. They want to go from a place they’re not happy with (where they are now) to a better spot in life. So, when they finish your book, assuming they do what you’re sharing, what will it be like after their journey with you? What will it feel like for them to have that pain gone? What will they be able to do or experience now? (If you’re struggling on this end of it, look for those who are already successful in what you’re sharing. Just remember to look deeper than the cars, money, fame, etc., and go for the real feelings behind the scenes).

Their considerations
If you’ve ever studied sales, you’ve heard of objections. Objections are roadblocks that people put up that stops a sale from moving forward. You’ve probably heard of limiting beliefs, too. We all have them and they are the things that we tell ourselves, consciously or subconsciously, that keep us from moving forward. They are beliefs we have that limit us (hence the term).

Your readers have these beliefs, too, and addressing them is the most powerful thing you can do. I’m not aware of any authors or ghostwriters (those that help authors actually write the words) that follow this, and that’s a huge opportunity for you.

Take time and list out every consideration - an objection or limiting belief - that your audience is likely to have. The best way to do this is to think about the “Yeah, but…” comments. For example, if I tell you, “You can have your book done in 90 days,” you might say, “Yeah, but… I don’t even know where to start.”

I could also share that “You can be a best-selling author,” and you might come back with, “Yeah, but I don’t know if my topic is good enough.”

If I make a list of all of your “Yeah, but…” limiting beliefs, and I address them in the book, two powerful things happen. First, not only will you have the knowledge you need to succeed, but you’ll also believe in yourself that you can do it. Second, I’ll be the guy that gave you that “feeling of increase” from reading my book: not only did you gain the knowledge, but you feel better about yourself, too.

So list out all of your audience’s conservations and “Yeah, but…” items and you’ll be set for your “Big Rocks” below. But first, let’s do one more thing to get crystal clear on your audience.

“North Star” quote
For every book, I like to have what I call a “North Star” quote. This isn’t a comment from you as the author, but rather the one thing your reader says when he/she lays his/her head down to sleep at night and the first thing that goes through his/her head in the morning when he/she wakes up. It’s usually something frustrating, fearful, worried, or similar. It’s usually not something positive. That’s why it works - it lets you address that pain.

Here are a few examples from authors I know, in the format of (book purpose - North Star quote):
Build effective sales teams - “I’ve got nothing left today. If I don’t scale, I’m going to lose it all - my family, business, and growth”
Take the leap and start a business - “I’m so scared of what could go wrong. I don’t have X, Y, Z - what if I blow it?”
Financial planning for pilots - “Yeah, it’s good now, but things can turn on a dime, and then what will I do?”
Believe that God wants you to win and succeed - “I’m not supposed to like money and ‘winning’ as a Christian. It means I’m greedy if I try to succeed”

If you’re struggling with this, don’t worry too much. Just make sure you come back to it as you start the “core” of the writing process ahead. I promise you, if you can get a good North Star quote, you will focus your book smartly on your audience and it will become a hit.

Refining your concept - what is this really about?
What’s your book really about? Based on everything above, what will it do for them? How will it create a transformation in their life? Your answer determines your concept or the big outcome of your book.

You want to think about the items you’ll discuss in the book, the tips and advice you’ll share, and your offer. Your offer is simply what you’re providing them and there’s a very simple structure below to help you identify it. (This offer will also be useful when you create your landing page later on).

Before you create your offer, one note: if you’re struggling to nail down a concept, there’s a good chance you are trying to go too broad and cover too much ground. In other words, you may be trying to appeal to too many different people or stepping outside of the zone where you can be THE person (not a person). So keep narrowing that concept down. The offer is the test of how beneficial (and narrow) your concept is.

The offer you make to the reader
When you write and publish your book, you create value for others. Expressing that value and what the reader will get is your offer. You’re offering them something in exchange for the effort of reading your book. There’s a simple but powerful formula for nailing down your offer.

How to [thing they really want] without [thing they don’t want/are afraid of] even if [their biggest concern or consideration].

In other words, you’re giving them what they really want, which you know from your audience research above, while making sure they don’t have to do something they don’t want to do or are afraid to do (which you also know from above). Then, you’re telling them they can do it even if they have the biggest concern or consideration your market has.

Here’s an example: “How to write and publish a best-selling book in 90 days that drives new business to your door without spending big money or having to write a word, even if you don’t know where to start.”

That’s the offer for this guide, and it’s plain and simple. If you’re here, you want to write and publish a book, and most of you want it to bring in new business. You also probably don’t want to spend big money and sit down and type it all out, and you may not even know where to start. Well, good news, this is the solution.

See how that works? Now, go craft your offer using the formula above. And don’t worry - it’s not set in stone at this point. You’re simply getting clearer on what you’re offering.

By framing your offer before you start producing the content of your book, you have a really good idea of what to cover, or what I call the “Big Rocks.”

Layout your “Big Rocks”
This is where it starts to get fun. You have your offer from above and you have your audience research based on where they are now (what we’ll call “point A”) and where they want to be (which we’ll call “point B”).

|A| > > > > > > > > > > > > |B|

First, write out what point A is - where they are now that makes them uncomfortable or unhappy. Then, write out what point B is - where they will feel amazing and confident and successful at the end, after the transformation you provide.

Then, you simply fill in the blanks by listing out all the items they need to either know or do. This list forms your “Big Rocks,” or what will be in the book. That’s it! Don’t worry about the organization at this point, that’s coming up soon. Focus on the Big Rocks keeping the considerations above in mind and you’ll set.

Take time and list out anywhere from five to 10 items or “steps” that you need to cover to get them from A to B. That’s not a hard and fast rule, but it is a good guide. Too many more and you may find that some should be grouped together. Too few and you’re probably too broad.

After getting your Big Rocks, or the main points you’ll make in your book, thought out, it’s time to start thinking about your title and subtitle.

Title and subtitle
Your title needs to do at least one of three things: 1) shock them/grab attention, 2) make a big promise, 3) share a big benefit.

Some titles grab attention, such as the book Unf*ck Yourself. If you’re scrolling through Amazon, that’ll probably get you to stop.

Others rely on making a big promise that makes the reader salivate for the outcome. While it’s best to have a believable promise, not everyone follows those rules. (Think of a book called How to Make a Million Dollars in 10 Days with NO Work! Even though you read the title and realize it’s probably far-fetched, it’s likely to arouse your curiosity.

Finally, you want your title to share a big benefit. Such as 3 Keys to Retiring Wealthy. The difference is that it’s simply sharing the benefit you’ll get from the book instead of an elaborate promise.

The clearer you can be, the better. Ideally, your potential reader says, “I want that!” or “Whoa, what?” when they see your title.

Just remember, the main purpose of your title isn’t to sell them on reading the book, but instead to get them to read your subtitle...and that’s what gets them really interested.

With that in mind, your subtitle should do two things: 1) elaborate on the big promise or benefit in your title, and 2) identify or call out your ideal target market or reader. You want your subtitle to hit home with them to where they say, “Wow, that’s me. That’s what’s missing. That’s what I want.”

Remember your offer above? The “How to, without” format? That’s a simple way to structure your subtitle. You can expand on your title/big benefit and call out your market by saying something like, “How any [person your targeting] can [benefit] without [biggest worry].”

For example, if you’re writing a book for new Realtors called 7 Ways to Make The Sale, your subtitle might be, How New Realtors Can Close the Deal Without Feeling Uncomfortable Asking for Business. That calls out your market - new Realtors - while building on the title/benefit and taking away their fear (being uncomfortable doing it).

If you’ve done your audience research right, your title and subtitle should easily generate that “Whoa, I gotta have that!” response.