What a Book Topic Should Not Do

The number one mistake new authors make when they write the actual content for their books is to include too much content.

Think about what you’d like to include in your book. Right now, call to mind, let’s say, three concrete ideas you’d want to share with people in your book.

Now, does that feel like enough content? Too much? Too little?

You will probably have a hard time accepting what I’m about to tell you (almost every client I’ve ever worked with struggles with this). But here goes:

You are already trying to include WAY too much in your book.

Many of the most successful books out there are so basic that if you were the author, you’d be riddled with self-doubt before publishing. Let me show you a couple of examples.

The Four Agreementsby Miguel Ruiz is only 138 small pages. The author created a chapter for each agreement, plus an introduction. The agreements are:

  1. Be impeccable with your word.
  2. Don’t take anything personally.
  3. Don’t make assumptions.
  4. Always do your best.

These are not revolutionary ideas, nor are they presented in a complex way. The book isn’t long, the examples are limited, and the organization is simple.

Yet this book is routinely on the top 10 lists of people’s favorite personal development books. In fact, readers go back to this book again and again because the truths in it are perspective shifts, as well as practices, that help them move into a clearer mental state and achieve more positive results.

Imagine for a minute that you took four principles that you believe are at the heart of your topic, put them in a book with nothing else but a few stories and examples to illustrate them, and then published it. Would you feel like you’d done enough?

Probably not. Because most people who want to write a book are convinced that the burden of the book is a great one. They mistakenly believe a book’s job is to carry all of your knowledge out into the world and deliver it in a near-surgically precise way so that others can not only enjoy it and benefit from it, but stand in awe of its genius.

Please stop doing this to yourself.

You are not here to write an encyclopedia on your topic. You are here to write about your topic in a way that helps actual humans.

That, you can do.

 

 

 

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