Most people have a book idea in them, but getting the words on paper feels like a step too far. Not any more.
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You’ve probably thought about writing a book, and for good reason. Being a published author can help you in so many ways; it can establish authority and get you credibility in your field, land you paid speaking gigs, and get you new customers for your business. It's possibly the best all-purpose marketing tool there is.
The problem? Writing a book is hard, mainly because the process is loaded with friction. It takes a long time and a lot of mental effort to get your ideas out of your head and into a book, not to mention it's confusing and frustrating.
This is why so many people never finish writing the book they know would help them (or worse, they never even start it).
Well, what if you could actually finish your book – and all you had to do was talk about what you already know?
Book In A Box is a company that created a way to do just that. We've developed a simple process that allows you to get your ideas into a book that is your words and even your voice, and all it takes if you talking to them on the phone for about 15-20 hours, spread over 6 months.
It's a pretty remarkable process that's centered around conversational interviewing, and they've already helped more than 250 entrepreneurs, C-level executives, doctors, wealth managers, lawyers, and assorted other professionals write their books using this process.
The bad news is that they are not cheap. Book In A Box charges $20,000 to their full service clients (which might be considered a bargain when consider it as a marketing investment, but regardless, it's still a lot of money).
The good news is that we’ve written a book that explains the exact process we use (and it's available here for free). I'm going to give you a high level overview here, so you can understand it, and possibly even do it yourself.
It works through a simple five step process, that is centered around asking questions:
1. Do you have a book in you?
For books to be effective, they need to be focused, so the first thing Book In A Box does is to help each client refine their ideas into a clear book topic. We do this by asking the following 3 questions:
1. Why are you writing the book?
2. Who is the audience for the book?
3. Why is your book idea going to appeal to them?
People won’t read a book if it doesn’t help them, so these questions are designed to help pinpoint exactly how a set of ideas can add value or solve a problem for an audience. The answers to these questions become the foundation, or the position, of the book.
2. What does your reader need to know?
Once a clear, high-level book position is established, the book position is used to create an outline for the actual content of the book. Book In A Box has a unique method for outlining books with our clients: we create an outline by simulating a conversation between the book’s target audience and the author.
Imagine you’re sitting with your target audience, and we ask you: “Yes, I am interested in your book topic because you know how to solve my problem and get me what I want – so what do I do? Explain it to me in detail.” How would you walk us through it?
Each major step in the process should be one chapter in the book, and it should cover everything in a way that actually helps a novice reader understand and implement the concepts. This typically leaves an outline of about 5-10 pages, which covers the entire topic.
3. Talk about what you already know
The next step is to write the book, but not by sitting down at a keyboard and typing the words out by hand.
Using the book outline as a guide, talk through all your ideas as if you were explaining them to your target audience – which you are. Book In A Box literally has conversations between the author and one of our editors during this process, which allows for clarifying questions and ensures that each concept is fully explained.
4. Translate your spoken words into book prose
Since spoken language is different from written language, the next step is editing the conversation transcripts from spoken word into book prose. This part is almost like writing, but it’s much easier than starting from scratch.
All the thoughts, ideas, and even the phrasing are already there, so it's possible to take the raw conversation data and basically translate it into book prose. Organise the transcriptions by chapter, and translate each section into words that flow on a page.
This step leaves a good rough draft to work from during the editing process.
5. Now, make it smooth by reading it out loud
Much like the writing process, our editing method involves reading the book out loud – also with another person. Reading the manuscript out loud magnifies anything that sounds unnatural, doesn’t make sense, or muddles the clarity of a concept, which makes the editing process much more efficient.
Once the verbal editing process is finished, the book is ready for a traditional edit, which simply involves reading through the manuscript one sentence at a time to clean up any last errors. After that, the book is ready to publish.
If you’re a professional author, and you’re used to translating your thoughts directly from your brain to a piece of paper, Book In A Box’s method probably isn’t for you.
But if you’re a person with great ideas, and you find writing unnatural or time-consuming, like it is for most people, it might be a good idea to look into our process for yourself. All the steps are explained in detail in The Book In A Box Method, which is available as a free download to readers of this article.