How to Write a Nonfiction Book in 30 Days
If you have a side-hustle, or you want to build a business based-on your proprietary framework—a nonfiction book is the perfect business card.
When you have a book you’ve got instant credibility.
You pour all your secrets—everything you know about this one topic—into the book. You position yourself as a leader in your field. You instantly become an expert. No fancy diplomas required. You’re a published author.
This book is not an ad for your business.
It’s not a tool for an up-sell.
Both of those things will be side-effects of writing a great book, but the book should stand-alone. Else, you’ll make your reader angry and you’ll come across as a scammer. You want a book that solves one problem for the reader, without having to buy anything else.
Instead, if you write the book correctly, not only will you make a great side-income from book sales, you’ll also generate new customers for your bigger projects.
When we’re done with this book, you’ll have a total of 12 chapters. You can easily self-publish this through Amazon’s publishing feature.
Every book is print-on-demand. There are no up-front costs to you. All you have to do is promote your book once it’s done. Amazon will handle the rest and take a percentage of each sale.
How Will a Book Grow Your Side-Hustle?
When you tell all your secrets in a book, you give a gift to your readers. This is everything you know. You’ve built credibility. You showed your expertise in your niche. When you have the perfect solution for your reader’s problem she’ll trust you.
How will giving-away your secrets grow your business on the back-end?
Most of your readers won’t want to do the work. A book is a how-to guide. You teach the reader how to fish so she can do the fishing herself. And some of your readers will.
However, a certain percentage of your readers will want a deeper-dive.
You serve the deep-dive audience with a high-ticket course, based on the book. With a course you offer the same content in different media. Maybe you reader wants to see you on video, or through screen-sharing, as you walk her through a specific case-study.
An even-smaller percentage of your readers will have plenty of money, but zero time.
These are you high-level clients. They want you to do the work for them. They read your book, so they understand your process. But these folks have no interest in doing the work themselves.
Since this is hands-on you can only serve a small group of done-for-you clients at once. The book brings them in, demonstrating your expertise. You charge top-dollar to do the work for them.
Start With Your Big Idea (1/2 Day)
Grab a sheet of paper and write a single question at the top: ‘What’s the one thing this book will teach the reader?’
Remember, you need one, single big idea.
This is your secret sauce. What problem can you teach someone to solve, better than anyone else, using a clear, systematic approach?
Focus on a single solution to one problem.
The entire book is one answer. This single-solution approach will help prevent you from getting side-tracked as you create your rough outline.
Your big idea must solve a big problem. We don’t pay to solve small problems. Make sure you solve a problem the reader knows she has. You don’t want to have to teach your reader about an unknown problem.
Take the easier sell. Solve only the big problems. We’re willing to pay top-dollar to solve big problems.
Write Your Hook (1/2 Day)
The hook is your big idea with a reason why at the end. You don’t write your hook at the beginning of your book. Instead, the hook is implied.
The reader will discover your hook as she works through the material.
“We do X, so you don’t have to do Y”
What is the one thing that will make the reader say, “Oh! that’s cool. I get it.” This is your hook. Remember, you don’t want to start with the hook. You give the backstory and all the facts leading to your hook.
Even if you didn’t state the hook, your reader should be able to deduce it from your content. However, you need to write your hook up-front, so you cement the main purpose/outcome for your nonfiction book.
Write an Introduction (One Day)
We’re not writing any old intro here. This isn’t an ‘I’d like to thank my family’-kind of intro. In your intro I want you to tell a great story. Walk us right into the action.
You’ll finish the story throughout the book.
We want to open in the middle of a big, personal moment—the money where everything changed for you. When you realized you found the answer—the secret formula.
Everyone loves an underdog story.
- How did you get your start?
- What obstacles did you overcome?
- What were your dreams and aspirations?
No one wants to read a book that starts with you growing-up in a perfect family, given tons of money to start your business, and succeeding on the first try.
We want the dirt. We want to know your story–where you came-from, so we see you just like us. We want to know you’re not a superhuman, so we can get the same results you did, if all we do is apply the principles in your book.
Write the Conclusion (One Day)
I think it’s important to write the end of a nonfiction book first. The conclusion gives you a map for the rest of your book. Sure, you’ll edit this later, but write a rough-draft of the conclusion. This is the moment where you crossed the finish line.
This is the arrival–your world with the solution in it.
You showed us the world you escaped-from. This was your introduction. In the conclusion you show the reader how life will be once she follows your advice.
Basically, you write the arrival—the transformation a reader will get once she goes through your entire book.
When we write the end before we write the steps in-between, we have our North Star. If we don’t know where we’re going, it’s hard to get there.
Divide Your Big Idea into 10 Steps (2 Days)
Grab a stack of 3 X 5 cards.
Write a single step, to help get your reader from the introduction to the ending. Write a card with your secret formula or acronym. Every good nonfiction book needs a proprietary formula (this way we have to buy your book if we want to learn it).
Try to write at least 20-30 steps on 20-30 cards.
This first step should take one day. The following day I want you to edit your cards down to the ten best steps, in sequential order, a reader can follow to get her from into to conclusion and win at the end.
You can use the extra cards to help enhance the main ten chapters.
Open a blank document, or blank piece of paper. Number each section one through ten. These are you final ten chapters. In the next section you’ll divide each chapter into manageable chunks.
Divide Each Step Into Four Sections (1 Day)
Take your ten-chapter list and divide each chapter into four sections. We want the reader to keep reading. Make you book hard to put-down by dividing each chapter into four sections. At the end of each section, leave a small cliffhanger.
We need to read the next section to close the loop.
Treat each chapter as it’s own book. How will you get the reader from the beginning of the chapter to the end?
What four sections can you make, that will logically lead the reader through the entire chapter?
This makes for smaller, potato-chip-sized chapters. When you divide the writing into manageable chunks you give the reader plenty of stopping points. She can read a section or two, and jump back into your content easily.
Format every section the same way. Maybe you start the chapter with a personal story, and start each section with a famous, relevant quote from a mentor.
Write Two Sections a Day (20 Days)
Write each section in 1,000-1,500 words. This will clock you at no more than 3,000 words a day. Every writer has a different pace, but you should aim to finish your 3,000 words in four hours.
When you have a time deadline, you push your subconscious to work harder for you.
Scale this method to any size you wish. If you want to write one section a day, it’ll take you 40 days to finish the bulk of the book–still a feat most business owners only dream of.
Edit the Manuscript (4 Days)
Start with the introduction. Next, edit the conclusion. Edit each section until you stop for the day. The following day, re-edit your intro and conclusion before you continue editing the rest of the book.
The most important experiences for the reader are the moment she picks-up your book and the moment she finishes it.
A bad intro or bad ending will determine the reader’s entire opinion.
The more you write and rewrite the beginning and end of your nonfiction book, the better you’ll make those two critical moments in the reader’s experience.
You don’t have to edit your manuscript alone, either. Professional help is always your best choice, but there is plenty of automated, on-line editing software that will help you improve your word choice and give you the best book possible.
Good luck with your writing!
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August Birch is an author, email expert, and entrepreneur from Michigan, USA. As a self-appointed guardian of writers and creators, August teaches indies how to make more work that sells and sell that work once it’s made. When he’s not writing or teaching, August carries a pocket knife and shaves his head with a safety razor