If you’re like many of the business authors I coach to write a book, the introduction to your own probably goes like this:
- Introduce the topic
- Explain more about it
- Share your viewpoint
- Explain a bit more
Which seems pretty natural, doesn’t it? After all, it’s how we were all taught to introduce an essay at school. We explained what we were going to write about, and what angle we would take, so our readers would know what to expect.
But when it comes to your book there’s a problem with this, and it’s a huge one.
Because unlike your teacher at school who was paid to read your essay, your book readers are the ones doing the paying – in both money and time. That means your introduction has to earn its place in both their wallet and their day.
So if your book starts like an essay you’re probably missing out on hundreds or even thousands of sales.
You need to turn your pre-conceived notion of an introduction on its head, and here’s why.
Your introduction isn’t about your business book
You see, your introduction isn’t about your book. Nor is it about you.
It’s about your readers.
Why not put yourself into the shoes of your potential readers. How do they decide whether or not to buy your book? The answer is that they follow a remarkably consistent pattern of behaviour, which once you understand it will make the world of difference to your book sales:
- They look at the cover to see if the title and design grab them.
- They scan the blurb on the back cover (or read the promotional description on Amazon if it’s online) to find out more.
- If they’re still keen, they look at the first couple of pages either physically or via the ‘Look Inside’ on Amazon. This is where they read some of the introduction.
- If the introduction makes it clear that the book is aimed at them, will give them information and insights they’ll find useful, and will be an enjoyable read, they may buy it.
- Once they’ve bought it, they’ll read the first few pages and decide whether or not to bother with the rest.
Harsh, isn’t it?
There are 5 hoops for you to jump through before your readers will buy your book, let alone read it.
Writing a business book introduction that sells
When I ghostwrite my clients’ business or self-help books, I know the introduction has two jobs to do:
- to reassure their readers the book is for them, and
- to convince those readers it will answer the big question they have (the reason why they’re looking for a book in the first place).
It can be hard to know how to do this, so here’s framework to help you. It isn’t set in stone (every book is different) but it’s a handy guide to make sure you’ve covered off all bases.
Here’s a non fiction book framework for you
- Show you know who your reader is and what problem they have. This demonstrates you understand them, which creates trust and reassures them they’re in the right place. You should be happy for the ‘wrong’ reader to leave at this point.
- Explain why your reader has this problem (and that it’s not their fault).
- Briefly explain your solution as a top line summary. This must contain the benefits your reader will get from your book.
- Demonstrate why you’re the best person to deliver this solution: who you are, why you’ve written this book, and why your reader should trust your advice.
- Explain what your reader will gain by reading your book, giving some ‘proof’ in the way of evidence, stories, case studies and so on. These can be brief.
- Tell your reader what they can expect from your book (for example, humour, stories, any specifics about how it’s structured).
- Encourage your reader to start reading now. As an incentive, you may want to explain why your topic is particularly timely and relevant.
Can you see the difference between this and a broad introduction to your topic? Now you know the difference between an intro that sells your book and one that sends readers away, you’re ideally placed to write the first chapter that makes the difference.
And if you’ve already written your book, you can re-work the introduction if you do a second edition. All is not lost.
If you want to find out how to become a business author of a book your readers love, apply for one of my free Strategy Sessions. I’ll get you clear on your next steps and help you on the journey.