Nonfiction authors, listen up.
There are books that don’t live up to their promises. From authors who only consulted themselves about what should be in their book, and how it should be presented.
But this also creates an opportunity, because the existence of books that don’t measure up makes it that much easier for you to be outstanding.
How? When writing nonfiction especially, you need to draw widely but focus narrowly. Try these:
- Learn to listen—everyone talks about how to find your niche, locate your market. Has anyone mentioned just listening? Attentive listening to other people is an advanced human skill that is guaranteed to make you rise above other author marketers. People—clients, co-workers, friends, bosses—are constantly telling us what they want. We only have to tune in.
- Be a beginner—it’s so difficult for seasoned experts to recapture “beginner’s mind,” yet it’s the only way to understand from the inside what people need to get started. How can you recapture that outlook? Try doing something new yourself, something that makes you feel awkward and uniformed. It can renew your taste for beginner’s mind.
- Walk the talk—dictating to others can become a habit. Specialist authors are invited to speak, taken seriously. Life can become a lot of talk. Taking action exposes you to the bracing test of the marketplace. Nothing will contribute to your authenticity more than putting your ideas into action.
- Use authority, but be a companion—expert guidance is highly valued, and so it should be. Expert or beginner, remembering that we’re all on a journey, even if it’s only for the time we spend together, reminds us to be a good companion, not just a teacher, to share the journey, not stay above it all.
- Keep learning—being new at something means being passionate about it. It means finding everything we can get our hands on about the subject of our fascination, and consuming information with gusto. If we can keep learning, we’ll be able to keep alive our connection with that passion.
When you get connected to where your readers are really coming from, when you understand the thing they most need to find out or conquer, you’ll become their hero.
You’ll be the one with the answer they didn’t know they were looking for, the advisor and companion with a wealth of experience to share. Writing from this place is sure to make you a hero to your readers.
Finally, they’ve found someone who understands them and knows what they need. Isn’t that what we all want?
Photo by Cia Gould