Deliver the book your reader needs

This week, it happened. I knew it would one day. I received two meal subscription boxes, from two meal subscription companies. Funny thing is: Both of them know me very well.

I was all a-fluster when the second one arrived today. (My son’s friend got the privilege of seeing my reaction when I greeted him and the latest box at the door.) With chagrin, I opened the box to unload it. And this is where there is a little humour in the mess and expense: Two of the meals in the box were the same as those in the first box! Sheet pan chicken and vegetables, check. Meatballs on potatoes, check.

This is how it works: You sign up for a subscription from Hello Fresh, Good Food, Chef’s Plate, you name it. They deliver a box to you during the week with the number of meals you asked for on your plan. You can pick your meals from curated menus. You receive all of the ingredients for the meals you ordered and a recipe card. You’re all set for dinner prep. I like it a lot. I don’t order often, but it’s a nice break from meal planning every now and then.

Problem is, you have to remember to log in and skip the week’s delivery. The bigger problem is, I have signed up for three – THREE – of these services. (Why? I don’t know, but I also shop at three grocery stores. What can I say — I like variety!) So, I have a lot of remembering to do if I don’t want to receive a box anytime soon. But this week, despite my certainty that I had skipped deliveries, I received two boxes. AFTER I did a grocery run. Right now, the fridge is bursting and we have our meals planned for the time being.

What does a meal subscription box have to do with your book? 

It’s the first rule of business to know your target market. These companies are really good at knowing their customer. Their algorithms have analyzed my previous purchases and my star ratings and suggested a meal I would likely order for my family. That way, if I am terribly disorganized and forget to skip the week, I will receive meals I like.

Even as writers we need to think about algorithms. I don’t mean algorithms in a computer calculation way. I mean in human way. We need to know our readers and what they want.

Knowing your reader is key to building your book, whether it is fiction or non-fiction. In my book coaching, I work with writers so that they aren’t only authors, they become authorities.

No matter whether you are writing about self-care, social justice or finance, you can be the authority your readers need.

And yet you cannot be the authority for all readers.

Not all readers like the same books. Not all readers need the same things at the same time. Sometimes they need reassurance, sometimes a challenge. At other times, they need delight or comfort or convincing.

There are people out there who need you and your expertise. Yes, you. They need to hear from you.

Do you know who they are? Do you know what they need, right now? Where will your book find them? Where will they find your book?

If you want your book to be read, these are the questions you need to answer.

As your book coach, I will ask you to identify your reader. Then I will challenge you to dig deep into your reader’s needs, their mindset and their circumstances. When you begin writing, you will know who you are writing for, what they need, and how you can deliver your message to them.

Let’s say you are writing a how-to book on self-care. Your approach to your message will be very different if you are writing for single, working moms with limited financial means living in dense urban neighbourhoods than if you are writing for middle-aged, nearly retired women in two-income households in suburban neighbourhoods. The needs of these two reader groups are different. Which one needs your authority?

This is the first step of the work we will do in your book coaching sessions. As we dig down, we will look at:

  • your readers’ expectations and preferences
  • the transformation you will deliver to your readers
  • the tone and approach you will take in your writing to reach your target readers
  • the book structure that will successfully deliver your message to these readers

The meal subscription companies have done this work on me. They might not be calling me up on my landline and talking to me directly, but they have set up tools to understand me. They know why I subscribe, which foods I prefer, how many servings I need, and that I am not likely to complain if they deliver a box with meals I am likely to eat, even if I am chagrined and feeling inconvenienced because I forgot to skip the delivery. Even if I am slightly red-faced over my expression of dismay in front of an 11-year-old who only came by to see if his friend wanted to go biking.

Anyone can be a writer, but if you want to be an author, you need to step into your authority. There are readers waiting for you. Your voice is as unique as they are. When you know who they are, you can write for them. Give them the opportunity to hear your message by understanding them first.

Are you ready to become an author? If you want someone to coach you through the planning of your non-fiction book project, let’s talk. I’ll point out the signposts on your journey and challenge you to map out your route towards a book that your readers cannot put down. 

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