—The Blog Series: Blog 8
Part 1: Develop Your Concept
5. Develop Your Concept—Compile or Brainstorm Your Book’s Specific Topics and Subtopics
You might already have a few hundred pages of notes in the form of seminar transcripts, white papers, blog posts, articles that you own the rights to, and the like, ready to be compiled into a book. If so, read through your documents, and while you’re reading, on a separate sheet of paper or in a new word-processing document, make a list of all the main topics and subtopics you have that will fit well for your purposes. These are the topics you will organize to become the chapters and sections of your book. The solutions that you will provide for your readers.
If you do not yet have written information ready to compile, write or keyboard the main topics and subtopics you want to include in your book, as the topics occur to you, in no particular order. This frees the creative mind to rapidly brainstorm ideas without stopping to speculate on organization. We’ll organize them later. Again, these are the solutions you’ll provide to your readers.
As you list your topics, keep it simple. Permit yourself to note each topic and subtopic using only a few words if you wish, instead of complete sentences.
Plan for approximately ten to twenty main topics, more or fewer if needed. These main topics will become your chapters, one chapter per main topic. For each main topic (chapter), the subtopics will be the information (sections) that will appear within that chapter.
What if you have fewer than ten topics, you ask? You can write a book that has as little as one main topic, as long as the finished print book is at least forty-nine interior pages in length (fifty-one pages total, including the covers). That’s UNESCO’s international standard. A non-periodical publication that has fewer than forty-nine interior pages is considered a pamphlet.
That said, if your published book has fewer than one hundred pages and therefore a narrow spine, it could disappear among more commanding books on a shelf.
On the other hand, a book of more than three hundred fifty pages might be costly to produce, and therefore costly for a potential buyer to purchase. If you have enough content to fill significantly more than three hundred fifty pages, consider that two books could lead to two times the exposure.
So again, plan for approximately ten to twenty main topics.
Write down your topics and subtopics now—all the ideas that come to you, even if you end up not using them all. (Save those for another book or for magazine articles or blog posts.)
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The content for this blog series is taken from my book Business Gold: How to Write a Book to Spotlight Your Expertise, Attract a Ton of New Customers, and Explode Your Profits!, available at Amazon.com. (The publisher, Business Book Productions, is now PogoFish Media, owned by the author of this article).