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Oh No! The Health Provider Who Wrote the Wrong Book [Case Study]

Without guidance you can waste precious time and money writing the wrong book.

Oh No! The Health Provider Who Wrote the Wrong Book [Case Study]

Imagine you have some kind of health problem, or perhaps you want to lose weight, have more energy or sleep better. You check Amazon or your favorite book store. A number of books seem to address this issue, so you pick up the ones that capture your attention.

You read the titles and back covers, (the book description on Amazon). Perhaps you peak inside and read a page or two. Based on this you buy a book that seems to provide the solution to your problem.

You dive in, eager to change your situation. After a few chapters, you have a sinking realization that this book offers a completely different solution than was promised on the cover.

You feel betrayed

As a reader, you are likely to return the book, or write a scathing review on Amazon.

That’s what could have happened to one of the participants in my pilot program, Write Your Health & Wellness Book.

Fortunately we discovered the problem early on, and she is now excited about writing the book she was meant to write.

Here’s what happened.

Pam (not her real name) is a specialist in an area of nutrition. She’s passionate about helping people, and was quite sure of the topic she wanted to write about, which was related to digestion.

Problem #1: The wrong target audience

During my Write a Health Book course, one of the first things we talk about is finding your target audience.

Now, for many areas of health and nutrition, a large number of people can be suffering from the problem you address, everyone from children to young adults, to middle aged and older men and women.

Their interests and life situations may vary greatly, so even though they may all suffer from the same problem, the solutions you provide might be quite different because children and adults eat different foods and have different lifestyles.

When you write a book, you have to write directly to your avatar. This means you picture, in great detail, the person who will be your ideal reader. It’s often one type of patient or client you currently work with. Although Pam’s solution could help more than one type of reader, realistically not all of them would buy her book, so she needed to find her ideal buyer.

So the first problem was that Pam thought she was writing for one audience, but in fact she wrote for a different one.

Problems #2: The wrong solution

The main problem, however, is that Pam offered a solution that didn’t answer the promise of her title and cover.

You see, when you write a health and wellness book, it’s like making a pledge or vow to your readers. You promise to take them from point A, where they are now, to point B, where they want to be.

This means your readers are suffering from some kind of health problem and are looking for relief, or they are aspiring to something better, such as being slimmer, more energized, or happier.

The title, subtitle and image on your book cover all come together to make a promise – to relieve their suffering or show them how to get what they aspire to.

Your promise: it’s the reason a reader picks up your book

The title and cover of Pam’s book promised that this book was related to food as a solution.

Instead, Pam’s manuscript took a spiritual approach.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with writing a spiritual book – far from it. There are whole bookshelves and even publishing companies devoted to every aspect of spirituality.

The problem was that Pam’s book didn’t make that promise, so it didn’t attract readers looking for a spiritual solution.

To anyone who was not spiritual and was looking for a food-based solution, this book would have turned them off, perhaps to the point of writing a bad review on Amazon – definitely not what you want with your first book as a health provider!

And anyone who was seeking a spiritual solution would never have seen this book, because it would have been in the nutrition section of Amazon and any book stores.

So both types of readers would have lost out, and equally importantly, Pam would have missed the opportunity to help the right people, and build her reputation as an authority in her area.

Lessons learned:

  1. Your book must target a specific audience, and you need to know who that audience is before your start writing. Otherwise you risk attracting an audience who will not be happy with your book, potentially damaging your reputation.
  1. Your wellness book must make a promise to your reader. The title, subtitle and cover image all have to work in harmony to make that promise to your reader.
  1. Your book must deliver on that promise. If you don’t, you’ll have an unsuccessful book that can damage your reputation.

Oh no! Avoid catastrophe by get the right guidance

When Pam sent me the first draft of her book, she was elated to having finished it, and emailed me: “My book is finished!”

I was excited for her, and looked forward to discussing the language and flow. But I quickly realized the two problems: that she had written for the wrong audience, and failed to fulfill the promise in her title.

Fortunately, we pinpointed the problem early enough, and Pam is now working on a revised version of the book, that’s tightly focused and will attract the right readers.

Whew, disaster averted!

Don’t waste your precious time

As a wellness profession, your time is precious. You can’t afford to take months or years writing the wrong book.

Self-publishing is a wonderful way to get your book out into the world much more quickly than waiting for a publisher, and gives you complete control over how you market and sell it.

But with freedom comes responsibility, and without guidance, you can have a disaster.

Think about this: a publishing house never publishes a first draft. You work closely with an editor, going through several drafts until your book is ready to go out into the world. (That’s why the first draft is often called the “dirty” first draft.)

I know this process very well because I’ve written 40 books, with three major publishers.

But if you’ve never done this before, you can make painful mistakes that chew up your precious time and money, and worse – harm your professional reputation.

That’s why when you self-publish you need guidance, whether it’s a course or professional coaching to shape your book.

If you’re interested, I’m offering a free 5-day bootcamp in early 2017, to walk you through all the steps of writing and self-publishing.

To find out more, sign up for my free road map: 7 Steps to Write and Publish Your Wellness Book, and you’ll be on my list to be notified about the bootcamp.

Just scroll down and add your name and email for your free guide.

What about you? I love to hear from you. Please add your questions and comments below and I’ll be sure to respond!