If you’re looking to hire a writer for your nonfiction book, before you begin your search you’ll need to “get your house in order.”
Although the job of a professional writer is to rewrite your manuscript into a top-notch product that’ll be well received and well reviewed, they won’t be able to do their best if all they get is your manuscript.
Let me explain.
A nonfiction book is different from any other type of genre in that it’s written to problem solve. The best nonfiction books are popular because they address a deep-seated problem that their target audience has difficulty with – and then solves that problem effectively.
Now, you’re hiring a professional writer because you know that your book is great in concept, but also that your writing lacks the quality necessary to meet the high standards required for nonfiction books.
But to help the writer you hire to succeed, you’ll need to provide as thorough a picture of your book project as possible in addition to your manuscript, so that they can develop a full understanding of who you’re trying to help and why.
I’ve written this article to guide you on this path so that you can provide your writer with everything they need to create the best possible book they can on your behalf. A book which not only reads well, but can also change people’s lives for the better.
Now, in order to make someone’s life better you need to know how they feel deep inside, and so must your writer.
1) Describe Your Target Audience as Clearly as You Can
Although you want to publish a nonfiction book to take your business or your career to the next level, your goal should be one of service to your audience first. The best content will fall on deaf ears if it’s not addressed properly.
To ensure the writer you hire can succeed, you need to describe in an abundance of detail who your audience is, and in order for you to do that you’ll have to learn what their fears, challenges, frustrations, hopes and dreams are.
Start with Your Own Clients
Your entry point into the psyche of your target audience is your current and past clients. You’ve already developed a high level of trust with them and you’ve already helped them overcome a problem.
Just tell them that you’re writing a book and you need their help to develop the profile of a typical audience member so that you can properly address your book to them. Tell them that what you’re requesting will be 100% anonymous.
What you’re after are general traits, not identifiable information, so that you can develop a client “avatar.”
This avatar is a general representation of your ideal audience member (if your ideal audience encompasses both genders, then you’ll create two separate avatars).
In order to help your target audience, you’ll need to know their state of mind. Ask your clients open questions to elicit this information, especially before and after implementing your solution.
Do Online Research
Next, do online research by looking for places on the Internet where your target audience likes to frequent.
For example, join Facebook groups where you can find members of your audience asking for help and guidance. Online forums are a great source of information as well.
Many forums will have threads where members introduce themselves in an anonymous way, and very often you’ll find people sharing their innermost feelings in search for a solution to their problem.
Often they’ll even reveal their age, marital status, gender and other important details that are critical for you to create an accurate avatar – remember, it’s very difficult to help someone if you don’t know what they’re going through.
Read the Best Nonfiction Books in Your Niche
Another way to complement your avatar information is to read the best nonfiction books in your niche and see how the pros have their target audience dialed in.
Use these books to confirm your findings and to add nuance to them. The better your audience avatar is defined, the better your writer will be able to craft a book that truly creates a deep connection of trust with your audience.
It’s through trust that you’ll be able to deliver your solution in a way that’ll create that change in people’s lives and build a legacy of service to make fans out of your readers.
Create Your Audience Avatar
Now you have all the information, you need to start building your avatar. In essence, you’re looking at creating a 2-3-page profile for your avatar. This profile will include:
- A fictional name and the city and state where they live
- Their age, marital status, their children, if any, and their status (married, living at home, away at college, etc.)
- Their income level, home ownership, etc.
- Any health issue, other issues
- Their challenges, fears, hopes and dreams
- Finally, find a headshot that best represents your avatar from a free stock-photo site and paste it at the top of the profile below their name.
2) Identify Your Audience’s Main Problem
Now, specify the problem in your audience’s life (or business) that you’ve set out to solve with your nonfiction book, and keep in mind that different problems can elicit different levels of pain.
Your goal is to target a pain level between 8 and 10. If your solution addresses a low-level pain (say, 1-4) then your book will likely not be compelling enough in the eyes of your target audience.
The higher the level of pain that you solve, the more people will seek you out. The more clearly you define their problem, the better your professional writer will be able to target your audience in a way that deeply resonates with them.
3) Describe Your Unique Solution
Now it’s time to describe for your writer how your solution will address this high-level-pain problem.
The more detailed your explanation, the better your writer will understand how your solution connects directly with your audience’s pain points, and the better they’ll be able to position your solution in your book.
If your writer understands how your solution fits with the problem, they’ll be able to word it in a way that connects with your audience and then be able to craft a strong call to action to persuade them to implement your solution in their lives or businesses.
Your writer will be able to do so, for example, by describing the benefits of your solution through narrative techniques where they can paint a clear picture in the minds of the readers to help them visualize what it would feel like when they’re free of their problem.
4) Provide a Book Outline
Now that your writer is clear about who your target audience is, what their most painful problem is and how your unique solution will address and solve that problem, it’s time to share with your writer your book’s roadmap.
In order to do that, create an outline of your book that shows the order of your chapters in your manuscript, with the addition of information that’s relevant for your writer.
The idea is to show your writer the logic of your flow of ideas throughout the manuscript so that when they begin the rewrite process they understand why the various topics are shown in that specific sequence.
This roadmap will also help them see the forest for the trees so that they can suggest changes to improve readability and flow, for example by rearranging chapters or sections within a chapter.
5) De-Clutter Your Manuscript
Finally, before you hand your manuscript over to your writer make sure it’s free of spelling and grammar errors, at least as far as your word processor can detect.
Do a full scan of your manuscript and correct any spelling and grammar errors that are flagged by your word processor using its built-in spellcheck and grammar check tools.
The idea is not to do a detailed proofreading pass at this stage, but to remove as many distractions as you can that may sidetrack your writer. You want them to be able to focus on the substance of your manuscript right away.
Once you complete the above five steps, you’ll be ready to begin your search for a professional writer for your nonfiction book with the knowledge that they’ll be able to fully understand how to connect your audience with your solution (for help on your search, read this article: 5 Tips to Hire The Best Professional Writer for Your Nonfiction Book).
In doing so, they’ll be able to truly make your book shine and create a product that’ll be a great legacy while allowing you to be of service to your target audience, develop trust, and in the end create fans that’ll be eager to follow you and your work for years to come.
Good luck with your book!
If you enjoyed this article and are in the process of writing a nonfiction book, be sure to check out my free nonfiction success guide, drawn from years of experience editing books for bestselling authors (including a New York Times bestseller) and ghostwriting for CEOs and politicians. Simply click here to get instant access.
Leave me a comment below if you have any questions or a specific need that I can help you address – I operate an author services firm that specializes in helping entrepreneurs, professionals and business owners who want to publish books as a calling card for prospects, to establish their status as an expert or to just to generate additional leads for their businesses.
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Bennett R. Coles is an award-winning author of six books published through Harper Collins (New York) and Titan Publishing Group (London). He is also the publisher at Promontory Press, editor for multiple bestselling authors (including a NY Times bestseller), ghostwriter for CEOs and politicians and the founder of Cascadia Author Services, a boutique full-service firm that specializes in premium author services specifically designed for busy professionals. Our end-to-end services include writer coaching, ghostwriting, editing, proofing, cover design, book layout, eBook production, marketing, printing and distribution.