Quite by chance, I bought a Kindle book called Book Writing Made Simple by Kalinda Rose Stevenson. Stevenson’s book has one central point and that is that you need an argument as well as a topic if you are going to write a focused, interesting and useful book. But what is an argument and why do you need one?
An argument, as I am sure you know, has nothing to do with having fight. It is a word that replaces the less academic and more opinionated sounding phrase ‘point of view’. An argument is very simply your way of getting across what you believe about a topic; it is your theory or approach to a problem or topic.
Let’s look at how an argument might help you to develop or hone an existing book concept. Let’s say you want to write a book about how to have productive sales conversations with prospective clients. Here is how the ‘argument’ perspective might alter that concept.
Concept without an argument: How to have sales conversations that convert your prospects into clients.
Concept plus an argument: How to have sales conversations that convert by focusing on service not sales.
Here, you can see that the message has made the book topic more powerful, memorable and usable. If someone has read a hundred books about sales conversations, their interest is going to be piqued by this focus on service not sales. That reader may not be tempted to buy another bog-standard book about sales conversations, but they may want to buy yours because it offers a different approach to sales conversations and a new way of thinking about them.
Your argument has other benefits, too. It helps to shape your content, influence your style and create a marketing message for your book. Your argument also helps you to get clear on what you believe and why you believe it. This will remind you of research, anecdotal evidence and alternative viewpoints that you can use to add depth to your book. You will instantly appear more expert and knowledgeable because you have considered other ideas and have a stated foundation for your own perspective.
If you have a book idea, try making a declaration about what you believe about your topic: how should a specific task or project be approached; why does one method works better than another; what results have you and others had from using your approach; how has it differed from using other approaches? The questions you ask yourself will be influenced by your topic so just ask whatever questions come to mine.
These questions will make you and your book stand out. You will become memorable. Whether your reader agrees with you or not is irrelevant, those who do will want to stay in contact, those that don’t will find another expert to follow. They will probably still write, discuss and mention you to others, though, because they understand what you are all about.
If you want to write a book that resonates with your ideal clients and gets your message across, get opinionated. Get your argument worked out and use it to make you and your business stand out.
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