Step 3. Decide on your genre and book style
I mostly work with people who write self-help, business books or memoirs, as these naturally lend themselves to the objectives of coaches, consultants and speakers.
With self-help, you’re teaching the reader a specific set of skills and taking a practical approach ot helping them learn something, achieve something or solve problems.
In a self-help book, the language can be very informal, and you need to decide in advance if you are going to let the reader ‘choose their own journey’ or if they need to read from cover to cover.
Also, you decide on the level of starting knowledge you assume your reader has, and then start the book as appropriate. If it’s very basic, you need to go right back to basics. Or maybe you decide your reader already knows a certain amount, and you start there.
A business book will be similar in approach as self-help, but the differences will be mainly around topic, writing style and language, which may be more format.
For example, a book about accountancy is more likely to fall under ‘business’, whereas something around personal growth would be ‘self-help’… even though the person reading the accountancy book is trying to help themselves understand accounting better. The genre doesn’t matter THAT much ? it is more about which category you’re going to list it on Amazon than anything else.
There are also sub-categories in both these genres:
There are endless options for formatting self-help and business books. I strongly suggest doing some homework by browsing a selection of other books in the genre you think you want to write.
Look at a selection in Kindle (just download samples) or go to the library. Read through and see what resonates with you and feels good for your topic.
Memoirs are great if you’ve had a complicated/interesting life… which led you to where you are now. But only if you have a way for the reader to work with you at the end.
Simply ‘sharing your story’ to help others, but you work in a completely different field, is not really going to work. You are much more likely to lose steam and motivation along the way.
The way people naturally write tends to be in ‘journal’ style, but this is super boring for readers.
Creative non-fiction, which is non-fiction written like a novel, is my preferred style for memoirs. In this style, you are the narrator and central character of the story – and you include a combination of dialogue, action, thoughts, description told through your eyes.
Like with the other genres, definitely do your homework on this. Read the opening chapter of at least ten memoirs and see what draws you in.
Don’t skip this step!