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The Guide to Writing Coaching Books – Part 2 of 3

Posted by on Oct 4, 2018 in Busybird | Comments Off on The Guide to Writing Coaching Books – Part 2 of 3

Avoid repetition
Repetition might work for midnight infomercials, where the presenter is saying to you, ‘But, wait, there’s more!’ But TV is a visual medium where repetition works as an assault to gain attention. In reading you already have your audience’s attention. The reader would not have picked up your book unless they were interested in what you have to say.

Don’t make the same point over and over and over, thinking that the more times you say something, the stronger you’re making that point. You’re not. You’re boring your reader. Writing is about economy. Say things once. Move on. Trust your reader got it. How would you like it if I stood by your side and reread this paragraph to you ad nauseam? You wouldn’t. You’d go nuts. There’s no reason to do the same thing in print.

The only time to use repetition is if it’s for stylistic purposes.

 
Don’t self-quote
This has grown as a trend throughout this market – authors quoting themselves, the way they’d cite quotes from other names of note in their field.

I understand the logic behind it. It’s a form of self-elevation, so the author stands parallel to their peers, but there’s a gross redundancy about it.

The whole book is the author talking to the reader. So why the need for a quote?

 
Avoid repetition
Repetition might work for midnight infomercials, where the presenter is saying to you, ‘But, wait, there’s more!’ But TV is a visual medium where repetition works as an assault to gain attention. In reading you already have your audience’s attention. The reader would not have picked up your book unless they were interested in what you have to say.

Don’t make the same point over and over and over, thinking that the more times you say something, the stronger you’re making that point. You’re not. You’re boring your reader. Writing is about economy. Say things once. Move on. Trust your reader got it. How would you like it if I stood by your side and reread this paragraph to you ad nauseam? You wouldn’t. You’d go nuts. There’s no reason to do the same thing in print.

The only time to use repetition is if it’s for stylistic purposes, like this.

 
Be thorough but succinct
Everybody can have a tendency to babble, particularly verbally. Have you been at a party when you’ve needed to explain something, only to go on and on, and then realise later how you could’ve been much more expedient? You often think of how to be more concise once you’ve thought things through, or had a chance to take another stab at it.

Take this example:

    Setting up a new business can be daunting. It’s a prospect filled with many risks. There are many things to consider – pitfalls that both the inexperienced and experienced can fall into, which is one of the reasons operating a business can be so frightening. There are numerous tasks to consider, and it’s best to have a system in place – a framework of procedures and protocols that establish your parameters and cant act as guides.

This is a very wordy way of saying:

    Setting up a new business can be filled with many risks, both for the experienced and inexperienced. It’s best to get a system in place to act as a guide to help avoid pitfalls.

Which is better to read? The first example is clunky and dense, using 74 words. The second uses just 34 words to say exactly the same thing.

 
Tell me who everybody is
Don’t start prattling on about workmates or family or friends without introducing them – like everybody should know who they are, e.g.

    ‘Gary was surprised by the response we got to this incentive.’

Who is Gary? Is he a friend? A brother? A boss? The dog? This occurs frequently – authors mentioning somebody they might know well, but whom the reader is going to be unfamiliar with. If you’re going to introduce somebody, the first time you introduce them clarify who they are in relation to you.

    ‘Gary, our Regional Manager, was surprised by the response we got to this incentive.’

That’s how simple clarity is.

To Be Concluded in Part 3 …

 

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The Guide to Writing Coaching Books – Part 1 of 3

Posted by on Sep 27, 2018 in Busybird | 0 comments

There is no formula for writing a book that works for everybody, although there are templates that tell you that a book should be X chapters, include a bonus chapter, contain these and those appendices, and each chapter should contain roughly 2,500 words, accumulating to a total of roughly forty to fifty thousand words.

What it comes down to is this: in writing a book, your job is to deliver your message in the least amount of words possible, not the most amount of words available. Yes, that’s right: the least amount of words possible. This doesn’t mean you have to skimp or take shortcuts or omit details.

Include everything that is NECESSARY.

If you can cut something and it doesn’t affect what you’re trying to say in your book, then it’s UNNECESSARY. It might be the greatest piece of writing ever. You may be sure it’s going to wow readers. Well, tough. If it doesn’t serve a purpose, your book doesn’t need it.

For example, you might have a particularly amusing anecdote. Ask yourself:

  • are you telling this anecdote simply because it’s a nice story?
  • are you telling this anecdote because it characterises some aspect of your business or imparts a lesson?

A book is as long as it needs to be to communicate its message. If that means it’s 10,000 words or 100,000 words, that’s fine. There’s NO set formula. Just say what you have to say. It’ll take as long as it has to take. Don’t feel short-changed if your book is shorter than others on the market. Consider The Go-Giver, by Bob Burg and John David Mann, which is only about 30,000 words but a global bestseller.

Here are some pointers worth considering …

 
Your message should be unique
If your book only exists so you can relay what other business and/or self-help gurus have suggested, then you have nothing original to say. Go away.

You are your own person. You have your own message, your own experiences, your own way of doing things. These other people might complement or support what you have to say, but your message should be truly your own. If it’s anybody else’s, then you may as well hand out a pamphlet recommending that other person’s book.

Make sure your book says what only you can say, that you wrote it because you were the only person qualified to write it, and nobody else could deliver the information you have.

 
What message are you trying to communicate?
What’s your book about? Make sure you have this clear in your head. A book about better business practices isn’t a memoir, although it might use real experiences to demonstrate those practices, whether successfully or unsuccessfully – as long as they have a point. Be clear on your message. Break down how you’re going to deliver that message. Outline it, if necessary, and what chapters will be dedicated to what components to deliver your message.

 
Cross-reference as little as possible
It’s not building anticipation if, in Chapter 1, you say, ‘In Chapter 7, we’ll discuss so and so’, and if in Chapter 2, you say, ‘But we’ll discuss this more in Chapter 6’. There might be a necessity for some cross-referencing, but limit this AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Too much cross-referencing is sloppy and confusing, and suggests that content is scattered haphazardly throughout the book, instead of self-contained to the chapters where it belongs.

 

To Be Continued in Part 2 …

 

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