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What’s in it for your readers?

When a reader picks up a nonfiction book, they expect to get something out of it—a solution to a problem, a way to improve their life, or at the very least, a deeper understanding of a topic.

It’s important for authors to know and explain what their promise is to the reader.

What is a promise? In my last blog post, we discussed your message. You can think of the promise as the outcome of the message. It’s what your reader can achieve if they absorb and apply your message in their life in some way.

Don’t know how to start on finding your promise? Revisit my recent blog posts when I talked about your target reader, especially visualizing their struggles, their aspirations, their expectations.

After that, take some time to consider these questions:

● What specific problems will your book help them solve? What are the really big two or three that matter to your reader?

● If your reader absorbs and implements your message, what will happen in their life in real, relatable terms?

● If you solve their problem with this book, how will their life be improved?

● What do you think they hope to achieve by reading the book?

A good promise engages the reader emotionally and logically. It touches on their problems or pain points and it paints a picture of a better future state for them.

Your promise should be an integral part of your cover copy and marketing copy. Use it to help you think about titles and subtitles. Your subtitle should convey the promise of the book. Every part, chapter, or section of your book should fulfill the promise, so use your promise as your compass when you’re making decisions about what to include and how to frame it.

Remember that it’s okay to draft your message and promise, and then revise them both as you keep working on the foundation of your book. What’s important is to think deeply and analytically about them, and use what you learn over time to make the best choices for your book.

Find out more about the How To Write a Successful Nonfiction Book course here:


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