Start here: 12 questions to plan your book with clarity

Sonja Jefferson

Congratulations on your decision to write a business book. Once you have made the momentous decision to get on and write your book, the temptation is to do just that – jump straight in and start writing the content. This can no doubt be pretty cathartic – I am sure that after all this time there is a burning desire to get those ideas out of your head and down on paper, fast. But starting to write without some careful planning can lead to a lot of rework and frustration further down the line.

Start by stepping back. Here are 12 questions to help plan your book before you start to write.

Questions to answer when planning your book

1. Why are you writing the book – what do you want it to do for you and your business?

2. What is the book about?

3. Who is it written for? Why do they need to read it?

4. What important questions does it answer for the reader? What problems does it solve?

5. What does it teach them? What will the reader learn?

6. What are the main messages in your book?

7. What makes this book distinctive is…

8. Your credibility pitch – why are you particularly qualified to write it?

9. What is the marketplace for your book? Where will it sit on the shelves of a bookstore? Who will buy it?

10. How can you reach those buyers? How will you promote the book?

11. What material will the book include and how will it be organised? Come up with a sensible organisation for your content

12. Any interesting features that will help the reader apply your ideas e.g. case studies, plans, techniques?

Answer these questions first, before you pen your first chapter. You will find the book far easier to write, publish and promote if you work to a carefully thought-through plan.

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3 Comments

  1. Great questions Sonja.

    I believe it’s so important to establish clear focus at the start so that you are intentional in your actions, moving purposefully to what you want.

    Reply
  2. Sonja,

    This is a really helpful checklist and I shall stop staring at an empty screen trying to start writing and answer these questions first.

    Best wishes

    James

    Reply
  3. Good to know James. It’s hard I know from personal experience (I’m writing the Valuable Content book at the moment). Planning really helps. The best of luck with your book.

    Reply

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