December 22, 2015
Think you have what it takes to write that book? Unless it’s purely for personal fulfillment, you likely need a helpful rubric to guide you along the pathway to success. It’s time to become acquainted with the criteria that make for the most successful types of books.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with choosing a popular theme or debatable topic; in fact, we can’t recommend it enough! The problem typically occurs when writers don’t bring anything new to the discussion table.
Why is someone going to buy or be impressed with your book if it’s the same old, same old? Maybe you’d like to write a book about online dating—great! But before you begin typing away, peruse the relationship shelves at your local bookstore or library and check out what the best-selling online dating books have to say. While you might repeat some of those points, don’t mimic something that’s already been done.
Think about it: why is someone going to invest in your book when they can buy a book stamped with New York Times Bestseller? Start valuing what you have to contribute and focus on those points. Or consider a different delivery method. For example, if most online dating books are written in an advice format, you might consider a narrative that explores your online dating experience throughout the course of a year.
Love, loss, success, passion, pain, anger—whatever angle you’re going for, your readers want to feel emotionally stirred in some way…even if you’re writing a nonfiction book that mainly aims to inform. People are social creatures searching for new experiences that will help them feel connected. Readers feel those experiences via the emotion your words, characters, and or/examples spark.
Your readers want to believe in your idea. But they also want to know where you’re getting the information (a.k.a. facts, statistics, etc.) that lead to your conclusion. The more research you have to support your thoughts, the more likely you are to impact your readers, and the less research you have, the more likely you are to, well, tick them off.
Take a few minutes to scan readers’ reviews of nonfiction books at sites like Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com. You’ll see right away how much readers value thorough fact-finding that supports authors’ claims. Building this credibility with your readers is perhaps the most critical factor to creating successful types of books, so if it means taking longer to finish your book, that’s okay. It WILL be worth it.
Remember our emotional connection tip? This comes into play with your characters as well. Your readers want to feel as if they’re in the story – perhaps even live vicariously through your main hero or heroine.
But they won’t feel like they’re in your story if they can’t relate to at least one of your main characters on some level. Don’t create a main character who’s so perfect that your readers feel completely indifferent. At best, detached readers have ho-hum things to say about your book (if they actually follow through to the end, that is). Give your character(s) some idiosyncrasies or even an obsession – your readers will instantly connect and want to keep reading.
On the flip side, if your main character is villainous, your readers need a way to emotionally attach to him/her. Give this miscreant at least one trait that humanizes him/her — such as a good sense of humor or a tragic childhood. Consider even painting the hope that this character is capable of change — even if he/she is unable to follow through with it at your story’s end.
If you’re a nonfiction writer, you can’t create relatable characters, but you can do something equivalent: provide poignant examples that give your readers something to connect to and even identify with. Sure, you may have beautifully delivered your main point and even followed up with an elaborate sentence or two.
But if you really want to drive home your point, grab your readers’ attention, and get them thinking and connecting, tell a real-life story or two that corroborate your main points. And don’t be afraid to spend significantly more time on these examples than on crafting your claims to create successful types of books.
As Shakespeare’s Polonius says in Hamlet, “This above all: to thine own self be true…” Authenticity is a huge component to successful writing, and your readers are much more intuitive than you think! Don’t intentionally turn the notch down when it comes to word choice and language structure.
First, you won’t earn any points as far as the critics are concerned. Even if you earn their highest praises for characterization or plot, they’ll tear you to shreds on diction. Second, don’t worry so much about whether your readers will understand you. They will, especially with your relatable characters and/or vivid examples that help them connect. Besides, readers tend to be a fairly intelligent bunch…have faith.
When you’ve completed your book, which we know will be rife with all the characteristics that successful types of books contain, give us a call! You’ll need an affordable, expert printing company that you can trust to craft the packaging of your book into a presentable work of art that screams, “Read me!”
We print books as thick as 300 pages and as thin as 8, starting with orders of just 25 books.
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