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Page Up Ep #6: How to Structure A Book


In this episode you will learn how different book structures create different results for authors. The 3 primary types of books we work with at The Author Incubator will be reviewed including List Building books, Platform Speaking books, and Client Conversion books. Once you know the type of book you are right, organizing the structure is a snap.

In this episode you will learn:

  • How different book structures lead to different outcome
  • When to answer the question of structure
  • The specific questions you need to ask BEFORE you structure your book
  • A simple process for figuring our a structure that will work for you
  • How to know if you have the right structure for your book

Featured on the Show:

Example List Building Book: Strengths Finder

Example Platform Speaking Book: Blink

Example Client Conversion Books: If I’m So Smart, Why Can’t I Lose Weight & Finding Your Own North Star

My Book: The Difference

Sample Outline

Review your Structure with me:

Listen To The Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to page up with Dr. Angela Lauria Episode Six. How to structure a book.

Welcome to PageUp, a podcast for authors and transformation, featuring advice on the basic fundamentals and overcoming writer’s block to advance techniques for publishing and marketing nonfiction books. Now, get ready to press page up on your book with your host, best selling author and publisher, Dr. Angela Lauria.

Well, Hey everyone, it is Page up and I am your host, Angela Lauria. On today’s show, we are going to talk about one of the issues that I hear most from authors starting a book that is a concern from them, which is how to structure your book. Let’s say you know what you want to write about, and you know who you want to help? How do you know what the right order is? And how do you make the biggest impact on your life? readers, and really for yourself as an author, how do you structure a book. So, today what we’re going to do is we are going to talk about how different book structures lead to different outcomes. And we’re going to talk about what structure is right for your book and how you decide that before you start writing before you actually even structure your book. So let’s start by talking about how different book structures lead to different outcomes. And I’ll tell you the three types of books that we work with the most. The first I refer to as a list building or a lead generation book. The second type of book we work with most frequently is a platform speaking book. And the third type of book is a client conversion buck. So we’ll just review those again list building platform, speaking Client conversion, how are these books different? And how does that affect the structure? 

Well, the first thing you need to know is your outcome. So if you are just starting in a new space, if you’re starting a new, a new business or a new product offering, and you don’t already have a list that is interested in your services, and you’re using the book to help establish yourself, then a list building book can be a great option. If you are doing a little bit of speaking and you would like to be making more money as a speaker and to be featured in bigger and bigger platforms, then I recommend a platform building book. And finally, if you have a program and the program has been at least moderately successful, but you would like to fill it and fill it more frequently and easily with clients Who are ready to sign up to work with you? A client conversion book is the way to go. So that is the question, I would encourage you to answer right off the bat. Okay, now I’m going to talk about these three different structures once you know what you’re going for, how are these books structured differently.

So a list building book, The goal is to get people to know you like you trust you want to be on your list. And so your list building book needs to have a component that will require them to give you their email address. So let’s say you’re an EFT practitioner, having a video that is essential that people download. That’s a great way to do this having a workbook that goes along with your book. Maybe you have a diet or detox book. So having printable shopping lists, that can be a way to do it. But you want to think right off the bat with this book about what you can have. And you should always have in any book an offer. But for a list building book, it actually needs to be almost required. And I’m going to give you what I think is the best list building book in the history of list building books. That is the book finding your strengths. So if you know this book, excuse me, there is an entire book that is about what your strengths are and how to use them in a work environment, or in your relationships or whatever. And when you get the book, there’s a scratch off code to go take the personality test that they call the strengthsfinder test. If you do not take this test, it’s very difficult to use the book you could read about other people’s strengths. You could sort Guess what you’re good at. But until you give them your email address, you can’t really use the book. So if your goal is to have a book that builds your list, I want you to think right off the bat, about a structure like a quiz that is required for readers. If you’re teaching about meditation, having meditations that they need to download in the book, it’s gonna say, here’s the chapter one meditation go get this and the rest of the book won’t make sense without it.

Then once you know what that item is that they’re going to need to give you their email address to download, then you can write the book in a way that makes that essential and structuring the book sort of becomes obvious. So let’s talk about that strengths finder example if you have a book that has 4% personality types are 16 personality types or 59 personality types, which is I think what Sally hogshead has in the fascination advantage, then it’s very easy to see how you’re going to in chapter one, talk about your philosophy behind this quiz. In chapter two, you’re going to teach people how to take it and send them to that link. You’re going to have other places in the book where you have the link to the quiz. And then the next, let’s say four chapters are going to be each of these personality types. And then maybe in each chapter, the structure would be an overview of the personality type, a case study of the personality type, this personality and work, this personality and relationships, this personality in fitness, and you would follow that exact structure for each chapter. If you were doing if you were doing Let’s say a detox or a diet or a 30 day green smoothie challenge, and you had cooking videos, or you know videos of yourself making these smoothies that they needed to, to get in order to make the smoothies, I would do the same thing. 

The beginning would be an overview of why this is important. The second chapter would be instructions on how to get these videos and watch them and where to go. And then you might do 30 short chapters, which is each day of the challenge. But with a list building book, the structure should tell you what it is based on the behavior that you want your reader to take, which should be giving your email address. So with an average book, like a client conversion book or platform speaking book, we see our clients getting between 16 and 28% of readers giving them their email addresses with a platform With a list building book, I would like to see you getting upwards of 50 to 60% of your book buyers giving you their email address because it is so integral. It is laced throughout the book. And you’ve also in the marketing copy pre-sold the fact that they’re going to have to give you their email address to get whatever this other required. Multimedia element of your book is. 

The next type of book that we will talk about is a platform speaking book. Now platform speaking books are very interesting because the classic example I could give you here is any Malcolm Gladwell book. Now, for as brilliant as Malcolm Gladwell is. None of his books have particularly made me want to download something to add it to my email list. It allows you to add me myself to his email list. Don’t even know if he has one. I have never thought about hiring him or getting certified by him. But I do think he’s brilliant. And I have downloaded a lot of videos from him. And when the TED Talks come out with him in it, I watch him. And if he was coming to Washington, DC to speak, I would think seriously about buying a ticket to go hear him speak. His books are big ideas. It’s usually one idea per book. So if you want to tell your life story, if you have a whole bunch of things you want to talk about, it’s not going to be a great platform speaking book, you have to have one big idea. And then for platform speaking, your voice has to come through in a way that you get this one big idea across to us in a way that we are surprised, interesting, interested, engaged, curious, and so the way that I would structure a platform speaking book is through storytelling. So platform speaking books really depend on you telling stories that we could almost imagine ourselves seeing you tell live. And so when you look at what is that big idea in your book, you know, with blink, it was how people make decisions quickly with David and with the David and Goliath book for Malcolm Gladwell. He was focused on how the little guy wins. So the book is then structured through however many chapters you want to write different stories telling aspects of that one point, how that point applies in different situations. And so identifying her engaging stories with surprise twists And endings, that is going to be your work. And the teaching moments will come around those stories. But your structure is going to be really based around what are the five to 15 lessons about this one point that you want to teach and what are the stories you can teach them through.

Now, the third type of book is my favorite and it’s my favorite because it is the most lucrative and for many of our clients who work with the author, incubator, they are relatively new coaches, they might have two to four years of experience as a wellness coach or a life coach or relationship coach, an EFT practitioner or Reiki practitioner, a healer a reader, like an intuitive reader or an angel reader things like that. And with our clients they have, they have customers, they are selling things but one of their main goals is to increase their revenue and a lot of people come to us thinking, I’m going to increase my revenue with passive income from a book. Now you can make money from above some of our clients and most of our clients make a couple hundred dollars a month some of our clients make a couple thousand dollars a month. None of our clients are retiring on their book royalties. So is it possible that one of these days we will have a breakout hit our own little you know, 50 shades of grey or whatever? Yes, of course breakout hits happen. But most working authors in the nonfiction space are making most of their money from speaking, coaching and consulting. And so the fastest way for you to get more revenue, help more People, and then have a budget to market your book to reach a bigger audience, either through PR, or, you know, travel, doing workshops, really investing in building and building your platform. The best way to do that is to get more clients now. And so how do you do that? Well, this surprises a lot of people. But the best way to get clients from your book is to give all your best stuff away. And I know that might sound crazy or scary and you think well, then people will steal it. But the truth of the matter is, everyone’s too busy trying to do their own thing to steal your stuff. So and even if they did steal your stuff, if your mission is to make the world a better place, like steal your damn stuff, they’re never going to do it your way. It’s always going to have their twist on it anyway and if it makes the world a better place, I wouldn’t worry so much about that. Although I will say I almost never see it happen. Everyone’s got their own dreams and their own stuff going on. So if you put it in your book, the chance of somebody taking it is actually really small. The chance of it helping people is greater. But I want to talk to you about the classic for me, the classic example of a client conversion book. That book for me. And if you follow me, you know, because I talk about this book all the time. It’s Burke Castillo’s, if I’m so smart, why can’t I lose weight. And even if you don’t have any weight to lose, I encourage you to go to Amazon and pick up a copy of this book. You can learn about being an author from this book, what Burke does is pretty amazing. And also, you’ll learn amazing things about yourself from the book, even if you don’t have weight to lose. And so the thing about Brooke’s book, and I’m holding it In my hand right now, I’m thinking about this book is that she tells you every single step of the way. So the subtitle is a choice to get it done.

And here we go. We’ve got our eating tools, exercise tools, feelings, tools, belief tools, in our self care tools, and future tools. So this book is chock full of specific tools and exercises, that if you were working one on one with Brooke, I can tell you because I’ve done it, she would teach you these exact same exercises. And so how can she give that away and get clients? Well here is what is amazing. The more detail and the more information you give away about your program, the more people will get to know you like you and trust you understand. If you’re a fit for them, and they will be like I was after finishing this book, ready to work with you when they finish your book. And that’s really what I want for you is clients that are begging to work with you. Because when they finish the book, they’re like, yes, whatever this person has, I want this, like, teach me how to do it. And even though you teach them in your book, every single step along the way, it’s not the same as the level of depth and intimacy, they will get working with you either directly or through a group program. And so if you have a program, it could be a group or individual that you run people through, I would look for a framework. I would look for what are the tools or the steps or the organization that you teach in that class? What are the same things you teach over and over again? And how can you structure a book to do that? A repeatable teachable framework is the key to making a client conversion book work. Yes, you absolutely need to tell stories in the book just like with a platform speaking book, or a list building book. But the stories that you tell in this book can follow the steps or the tools that you teach in your program. The most important thing about a client conversion book is that you must have a specific problem you’re solving and a specific outcome that your reader will get at the end of the book. And the outcome that you’re promising at the end of the book is actually the same exact outcome that you would promise at the end of your program. So if you read Brookes book, if I’m so smart, why can’t I lose weight and you followed every single step that she teaches, you would lose weight, but what will happen likely on your journey and this isn’t true for for everyone, but what will happen is somewhere along the way, something’s gonna go come up that makes it hard to follow one of these steps. And so I’ll use the easiest tool. One of the things that Brooks says makes a lot of sense is eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. So what happens when you find that you? You eat when you’re hungry, and then you keep eating until you’re so full that you can barely walk in and are very uncomfortable. Well, then you will read in Brookes book that you are punishing yourself and you think, well, I don’t know why I’d be punishing myself. I just wanted to eat that delicious meal. And now you’re confused. Now you’re stuck. You’re having trouble executing Brookes plan, executing all the suggestions in her book, and that’s when you might want to reach out to her for extra support. 

Another great client conversion Book is Martha Becks. And Martha backs finding your North Star steering by starlight finding your way in the wild New World, those books as opposed to her memoirs, you do those exercises, they’re fantastic. But again, when you get stuck I here’s one that I got stuck on one of the exercises in, in finding your own Northstar, one of the exercises that encourages you to find what’s in your, in your new life in your ideal life, what’s your wardrobe going to look like? And I remember spending weeks trying to figure out what my wardrobe was going to look like? Or there was another exercise that was what do you lose track of time doing? And there were a couple of exercises in there that I just couldn’t quite figure out. And so that’s when You might go to Martha and find out that she has a coach certification program. And you can learn these tools at a much closer level, you can actually work with Martha, I was able to do that. In fact, I worked with both Martha and Brooke.

And as I talked about in my book, The Difference which is available on Amazon, as I talk about my book, I’ve spent about $20,000 with each of those authors. And the reason why is because I made a $15 investment in a client conversion book that let me know it was going to be worth my while to invest with them further and it was and so finding the structure that is right for your book starts with you identifying the outcome that you want for your book. And so if you do not know What you want to come out of your book, then you will not be able to structure a book that’s going to get you that outcome.

So what I would, I would encourage you to do is to identify what your short term short term and long term goals are. And if you don’t know what those are, jump on the phone with me or jump on the phone, you can go to talk to Angela or jump on the phone with another life coach and try and identify those things. Again, for many of my clients, short term, they are focused on list building, client conversion, or platform speaking. So if you want a book that’s going to turbocharge your journey to either of those three destinations write a book that’s specific to that outcome. Now, that absolutely does not mean that you are not going to have other outcomes as well. You certainly will have other outcomes. You will write a list building book and you will be invited to be a speaker at a tele summit, you might get an individual client. There are lots of things that will come out of any type of book. But the more focused your energy is going into the book, the more focused the results will be coming out of the book. So my wish for you is that before you structure your book, you make that decision about the goal. And then you look back at the way that you have proposed to structure it or if you’re working with a book coach the way that they have suggested it or an editor You look at that, and you can say to yourself, would this get me booked as a speaker? Would this build my list at a higher rate? Would this book get clients to understand the entire process I would take them through as a client, and then be likely to convert if they were a fit. The question I asked with client conversion books is how many $20,000 clients do you need? In let’s say, two years from when your book comes out for that book to be successful? A lot of people think the way to be successful with their book is to sell lots of books. But the truth is, you can sell a few books that you find your people that are willing to go deep, and you can generate a lot of revenue and change people’s lives from your book without selling a lot of Books. Now the great thing is if you have that money from those clients, you can then invest it in getting your book out there and you don’t have to worry about the immediate ROI. So it’s a much better strategy. How many $5,000 speaking gigs would you need to get from your book in order to have the income you want for a month. And so when you stop thinking in terms of selling as many books as possible and start thinking about getting that focused outcome, the book sales ironically actually tend to come when it matters least. So I love this. There’s so many ironies in the world of being an author and this is one of the truest ways to sell books is to not need to sell books. And that is the story here. So before you start working on the structure, identity A fire goal and find the obvious structure that’s going to get you to that goal. I’m going to post up some sample outlines and some other suggestions. If you head on over to the Author Incubator comm slash six, that’s the author slash six, you can get some suggested outlines, you can get links to the resources that we’ve talked about on the show the various books that we’ve talked about here so you can find the different types of books and match them to the type of book that you want to write. And I’ll also throw up that talk to Angela Lauria link. So if you do want to review your book structure with me, we can hop on a call and we can figure out how to get you the book that you want.

We will be back next time on page up changing the world one book at a time.

This has been another episode where we help nonfiction authors write a book that makes a difference. If you like the show today, be sure to tell a friend and leave us a review on iTunes. Check out houses to show book Johnny’s also on iTunes. And don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list at WWW dot the opa where you can learn more about how you can get your book written.

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