Today I spoke with my editor to see what we need to do now that the brain dump and audience have been defined. Below is an outline of our conversation.
Since my last post, I worked on getting an initial brain dump to the editor. We set a deadline of Dec 9. I was able to get this off much earlier thanks to my constant organizing of ideas from my initial research months ago. Feedback from my editor came quick.
She was interested in further details about the audience. The audience isn’t one person but multiple profiles, all with an interest in MBA programs. Looking at the current description of the audience, I further refined and expanded on it. Initially, those coming straight out of undergraduate school were not part of the target group. Many business schools prefer work experience, as it enriches class discussions. But business schools periodically make exceptions and allow undergraduates without any work experience to enter. I now see how the book can add value for this profile of undergraduates.
With the brain dump organized, the audience well defined, I was anxious to put pen to paper. However, my editor was quick to point out were aren’t there yet. Oh the suspense.
We decided it best to have another phone conversation and discuss next steps. In the conversation, we went over the audience and concluded they basically fall into two groups – those entertaining the idea of getting an MBA and those that know they want an MBA but are looking to shortcut the research process. This breaks the book up into two sections. It also has the benefit of helping layout bullet points for the back cover. When someone picks up the book, they’ll look at the cover, table of contents, back of the book and may read a few pages of the first chapter. These are critical selling point areas. The reader needs to determine if the book is for him and does the book seem interesting. If you’ve identified your audience and pointed out the benefits of your book (back of book or intro) to this group, the reader should be able to tell if the book is for him. Next, the reader will check the table of contents and hopefully read the first few pages of chapter one. Again, these two areas are additional selling points. Your cover, back cover and intro have done the heavy lifting in getting the reader this far. Now its time for your well crafted hook to close the deal. The reader needs to be drawn past the point of putting your book back on the shelf or clicking away versus checking out and ringing up a sale.
My editor suggested I begin a loose outline to structure the book. This will include putting together a table of contents, chapters and back cover bullet points. The first section will start with people who are entertaining the idea of getting an MBA while the second section will focus on those that know they want an MBA but need help with research.
If chapters don’t break out, that’s ok. Structure is the main focus at this point. We decided I will have everything ready by Dec 16th and will meet again at that point.
About back cover bullet points, these points aren’t just for the back cover. They will be part of your book’s core selling message. This they can be used on your website, Twitter, Facebook, email, and other forms of media.
One last thing: The editor did give me a good tip on avoiding writer’s block: Sometimes you can become stuck out of frustration because you aren’t sure which way to go. Just remember to break it down into small pieces.