If you think you have no topic and nothing to say, here are seven ideas for coming up with a book you can write fast:
- Get interviewed
- Interview someone else
- Write a list of ‘ways to’ or ‘resources for’ etc.
- How to i.e. ‘How to learn Twitter in a weekend’
- Hints and tips
- Resource file
A book that is structured around a collection of resources and recommendations is both simple and fast to produce. Of course, you need the resource list first, and you need to know that you can produce a book of real value to your readers. There is so much information these days, and it changes so rapidly, that unless you are going to produce an excellent reference it is not worth the time and effort involved.
Websites are the most natural places for anyone seeking information to search. They are usually the best places to get product and service recommendations, reviews and links to websites where you can buy what you need. So why publish a book?
While one of the benefits of a website is that it is always changing and always up to date (assuming it is properly managed), it can also be frustrating for exactly the same reason. It may be possible to find an article that is helpful on one visit and then find it has gone on the next. You may also find a whole slew of great websites but then lose your links or need the information when you are not using your computer.
On the other hand, even though a book is less dynamic than a website, it has the benefit of being more stable and predictable in terms of its availability. Also, a book presents its content in a far more structured way while still being able to provide links to the most up-to-date online resources. Add to this the fact that the information in a book has been researched, verified and comes with the benefit of being recommended and a book clearly still has a role to play in providing information.
The best format for a resources guide
Although Kindle is king for self-publishers, a PDF book is the ideal format for a resources guide. A PDF has the unique benefit that it can be printed out, which gives your readers the flexibility to access the book electronically and as a hard copy. This means they can make notes on the page and refer to the information wherever they happen to be working.
The PDF format also gives you the opportunity to email updated versions to your subscriber, which means you can stay in touch with your customer base. If you wish, you can include a limited number of affiliate links in your PDF guide as this is a great way to earn extra revenue. However, make sure you tell your reader that you are doing this. It is important to be honest about using affiliate links because otherwise your readers may not trust your recommendations and they may begin to think the whole book is about you earning from the links than providing them with the best resources.
Different kinds of resources to include
Not all resources are in a state of flux. For example, a resource file may include a list of classic books on a topic, a jargon-buster and some historical information so that it educates as well as informs the reader. The resource file may include a list of resources so you do your own research, a list of criteria to look for so you know what is important. Here is a short list of potential data that could be included in a book of resources:
- Contact and location information
- Guides, training and books
- Specifications and technical requirements
- Training and courses
- Technical jargon
- Groups, societies and organisations
Resource files confer a great deal of status because they imply that you have a deep knowledge of the field and an expert opinion that is worth listening to. For this reason, your book is likely to get recommended a lot because great resources are always regarded as worth sharing.
What your book will do for your readers is save them a lot of time and energy seeking out the best resources. You have done the work so they don’t have to. This is a key selling point so bear it in mind when you write your sales copy.
The keys to success with a resources guide
- You must seek out the best resources and a few little-known ‘secret’ resources to add value to your collections.
- Organise the resources so they can be found quickly and easily. Remember, your key selling point is that you are saving your reader time. So make sure the book reflects this benefit by having clear headings and sub-headings so the reader knows where to find what they are looking for.
- Presentation is key – you need to make sure the font is clean and easy to read and that the information is well-organised and laid out. With a Kindle book, you may not be able to use colour, but with a PDF, you can utilise all aspects of book and page design available to you to produce a simple but effective page layout.
If you have a great file of resources that you know are high-quality and of great use to your target market producing a resources guide could work well for you. However, you should avoid producing this type of book if you need to go out and find the resources first as this will simply be time-consuming and may appear half-baked to the reader.
Whatever kind of structure you use for your book, make sure it complements your business and the skills and knowledge you want to showcase, otherwise, it will turn into a red-herring and distract you from offering the best you can to your market.
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