How To Write A Book… To Transform The World!
So, you want to write a book?
Nothing extra-ordinary about that. In fact, writing a book has consistently ranked among the top 10 New Year resolutions made. Literally MILLIONS of people like you have decided to write a book this year.
But… why not take it up a notch?
Since you’re going to write a book anyway, why not go big – and transform the world with it?!
I hear that grumpy little naysayer inside your head whine: “Ah, come off it. Who’s got time to bother about changing the world. Just let me write a book.”
Before you listen to The Voice, close this page, and get back to your writing, give me just a couple of minutes… to try and change your mind.
Because it’s far more fun – and a lot easier than you thought – to write a book that will transform the world.
Writing’s Hard – The Transformation Bit Is Fun!
I won’t kid you. Writing a book is hard work.
But then, you knew that already. And yet, you’ve decided to go ahead and do it anyway. That means you’ve consciously let yourself in for the toil and slog that goes into planning, writing, editing, packaging and selling a new book.
So what if you could also…
- make a difference in a way that really matters to you
- reach a huge audience of buyers who’ll eagerly order your book
- gain visibility and mindshare far beyond your regular reach
- achieve this with a near-zero ad budget, even for free
- engage your readers on a level deeper than just your content ever will
- build a tribe of loyal fans who’ll stick with you for years
… and yes, transform the world along the way.
Would you really turn down such a deal?
Especially when I’m going to show you just how simple it can be?
I didn’t think so!
Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty details – and talk about how to write a book that will make meaning, create an impact and change the world.
Why My Story Can Be Yours
Let me briefly explain how – and WHY – I write books. I’m a heart surgeon and treat kids born with serious congenital heart defects. Some of them need operations very early in life. Without one, they may not survive.
Unfortunately, in India where I live and practice, most families can’t afford the cost of treatment. That’s why I write books. To raise funds that sponsor costly surgeries that help save a child’s life.
For each book sold, I contribute a share of the profit to the project closest to my heart.
What started as a fond hope and ‘impossible’ dream progressed slowly but steadily. Today, I’m happy and proud that my non-profit foundation has funded treatment for over 150 little children!
You’ll agree that fits the promise of writing a book to transform the world, right?
However, I didn’t set out with a clear, step-by-step plan to reach this point. I just got started and muddled along. Tried out different ideas. Some worked; others didn’t. Over 20 years, I’ve learned a lot and can now see how it all could have been a lot more effective… if only I knew what I do today.
But my ‘loss’ can be your gain. With a roadmap to guide you through the steps, your success with a book can be many times bigger than mine – and quite a lot quicker, as well. Also, tailor it to reading strategies and you’ll win big.
So, are you ready to begin? The first thing to do is to…
Craft Your Book’s Mission Statement
Surprised? Don’t be.
If your aim is to go beyond typical book marketing and do something unique and special with your book, your project must be fired by energy and passion. You’ve got to be on a mission to write a book that transforms the world!
So what is that mission all about?
Describe it to yourself in a short sentence. Ideally, make it crisp enough to fit into a tweet (on Twitter that’s just 140 characters).
Use it to answer the question:
“Why does your book exist?”
- Why are you writing it?
- Why do you want people to buy it?
- What happens when they do?
Your mission statement will become the heart and soul of your writing and book marketing. So take as long as you need to come up with a compelling and convincing reason – that’s also authentic and genuine.
You see, you can’t fake this.
Because you’ll be putting it right front and center of everything you’ll do to promote your book – to readers, and to partners who help you sell it and spread word. It’s incredibly difficult to sustain an enthusiasm and eagerness that you don’t really feel.
My book writing mission statement is simple and straightforward.
I write books to save childrens’ lives.
When I tell people, it usually sparks the next question, “But how does this happen?”
And that gives me a chance to explain how my royalties fund the costs of surgery for under-privileged kids with heart defects. More often than not, the people who hear about this are keen to help spread word about this – which has been largely responsible for the 150+ operations sponsored until now.
That’s how important the first step is.
(By the way, I’d love to hear your book’s mission statement – so please share it with me in a tweet or email. And if you want some assistance with drafting one, please ask and I’ll try to help.)
Choose Your Cause or Purpose Carefully
If your book is going to transform the world, it has to leave an impact of some kind – both on readers, as well as others who’ve never heard about your book.
Of course, the content itself may be transformational to your readers. That’s fantastic. But we’re also talking here about the tangible results of selling large quantities of your book, and using your reach and royalties to create meaningful change.
The change you wish to make might involve:
- your own efforts, or
- those of others
Maybe you run a program that empowers and encourages youth to become self-reliant. Your book may teach how to build confidence and gain financial and occupational freedom, so that the content itself helps achieve those ends. In addition, the money you’ll earn from book sales can extend the reach of your program to many more people.
On the other hand, your book might be on a completely different topic or theme, and still the revenue from book sales might enable a non-profit or business to create the kind of impact or change that you desire.
My own books are on topics unrelated to heart disease. But the money they earn is used to treat patients.
So… how to choose a cause or purpose to support through your book?
You could pick a project or idea that you’re specially interested in. Or select an organization that’s working for the kind of change you’d like to see happen.
But I’m going to blow your mind a little with this radical suggestion…
Pick a cause that lends itself to either
- greater reach through sponsors/donors, or
- is more appealing to media
Though it may sound cold-blooded and calculating to think this way, remember that your goal is to create a transformational change in the world with your book – and you’re going to need every little bit of assistance you can get.
If working with a particular “in-need” group will enhance your reach through supporters of the same cause, or get you greater press coverage and media visibility, there’s no reason to feel guilty or ashamed about picking it over other contenders.
For instance, savvy publicists know that it’s always easier to get a press release noticed if it’s about little babies, cute animals or pretty women. So if your cause involves any of these, you’re in luck. Your book launch is more likely to get featured in newspapers and magazines, on the radio and in TV shows.
Or maybe the non-profit you’ll support already has thousands of volunteers, donors or supporters. They now become potential evangelists who’ll happily and eagerly spread word about your forthcoming book. Why wouldn’t you want to tap into this army of buzz agents?
Actually, you should do it strategically, intentionally… so that your book will create a bigger impact and help achieve what’s close to your heart, convey lessons learned in life.
Decide How Your Book Will Align With Your Purpose
Now that you have a clearly defined mission statement for your book, and some idea of the kind of cause you’d like to support with it, it’s time to make clear plans about exactly how your book will create an impact.
Think of it like drawing up a business plan for your book launch.
While you don’t have to get deep into cash projections or sales estimates, you’ll have to figure out your approximate profit from book sales and analyze the impact this cash will make.
Let’s say your ebook will be priced at $2.99 and earn you a royalty of $2 per sale.
* What share of the royalty will you allot for your transformational project?
There’s no rulebook to follow here. Decide if you’re going to give away 50% of your earnings, or more/less… or even everything.
No option is right or wrong, better or worse than another. It’s only to help you calculate the number of books you’ll need to sell in order to achieve a result.
* How much will it cost to create an impact through your chosen project?
- Maybe you’re planning to put a teenager through college.
- Or dig a well in Africa.
- Or build homes for earthquake victims in Haiti.
Whatever you want to do, figure out how much you’ll need for it. Each of my heart operations costs around $2,500 – which helps me compute that for a $2 per sale royalty, every 1,250 book sales equals saving a child’s life!
Don’t try to get too specific at this point.
Just a back-of-the-envelope estimate will do. You’re only trying to see how your book aligns with the impact you want to create through the cause you support.
Pick a Theme
The next step in writing your book is to select its theme.
Your choice of theme will define the audience that’s likely to read your book. And because your ultimate goal is to create an impact through book sales, the nature of this audience is of great importance.
Any successful book is written to target a specific type of audience. Whether you choose a theme based on market research, or model other books in the same genre, or just pick one at random, your sales and royalties will depend upon how closely your theme mirrors a reader’s interests.
While this applies for every book, what’s unique to you (as a writer seeking to transform the world through your book) is that you also need readers who will
- support your cause, and
- help spread word about it
I’ve found that entrepreneurs and business owners are ideal because they have money and are willing to contribute it towards a worthy cause. And they’re already good at spreading word about things they care for.
Another great audience segment is people already supportive of your cause.
Let’s say you’re working with a nonprofit that puts up stray dogs for adoption. Writing about how to train dogs will make your book a perfect fit for its donors and sponsors who probably own dogs themselves.
That’s how choosing the right theme for your book lets you tap into synergies and extend your reach to new readers – without doing anything extra or different.
And while you’re at it, brainstorm a catchy title for your book!
Write Your Book
I won’t get into much detail about this. There are enough guides, tutorials and courses out there on how to write a book. Let me just say that you should write the best book that you’re capable of writing.
It’s obvious why.
Although your book marketing will be energized by the deeper purpose of your writing, there’s still a basic expectation that your book must fulfil.
If a reader feels let down by your book, even if they care about the cause your book supports, they won’t tell others about it. And then, you lose your biggest ‘force multiplier’ for a book that creates impact – word of mouth marketing.
So take the time and effort to create a work of real value to your audience. That makes all the other steps easier, especially the next one where you’ll…
Reach Out To Influencers
Many authors dream of being on Oprah, or getting featured on a powerful book review site, or having celebrities endorse their work. But that’s really difficult to pull off. Your chances are about the same as winning the state lottery.
By taking the approach you’ve done, however, you set your book apart from the crowd by making it so much MORE than ‘just a book’.
Let me explain with an example.
When we were close to funding our 50th surgery, I had the idea for a new book. ’47 Hearts’ would be about forty-seven powerful lessons to be happy and successful in life.
Based on its content alone, I’d have to compete against every book in the ‘Self Improvement’ and ‘Success/Leadership’ genre.
But I didn’t… because of the book’s mission!
Something’s magical about picking up a book that’s called “47 Hearts” because the author’s writing has funded lifesaving treatment for 47 children… and knowing that your purchase itself will help save a child’s life. There’s a clear benefit to the buyer right there – and it’s delivered even before they open your book to the first page!
And your book marketing partners will love that. Because by telling others about your book, they are helping create this magic.
You’ll reach influencers infinitely more easily than you otherwise would. When you reach out for their help to spread word about your book, and explain the impact you seek to create through your writing, you’ll experience the power of that magic – because so many of them will enthusiastically support you.
It’s a special kind of rush to experience that… and it simply isn’t there when you promote a regular book in the usual way.
When you see how effectively you’re able to convince people to help you sell your book, you’ll be encouraged to reach out to even more people – and create an upward spiral that keeps growing bigger and wider.
Prepare Your Marketing Content
The fundamentals of book marketing are still the same, regardless of why you’re trying to sell it.
Your launch partners will expect you to do most of the work for them. So it’s your responsibility to have promotional material ready for their use.
- Create book blurbs and mini-reviews.
- Have tweets pre-written.
- Draft ready-to-go Facebook posts.
- Design banners and buttons.
- Do interviews.
- Prepare pre-written blog posts.
- Get an eye-catching book cover.
But you’ll do all of this with a twist – to focus on your mission, rather than only on your book.
What you’re doing is to make your book a mere tool that gets a bigger thing done. Your book becomes the means to an end. You talk more about the impact readers will help create… through buying your book.
That’s what creates transformational impact!
Make Your Launch an Event
That’s right. Make a song and dance about your book launch. Because people enjoy some drama and excitement.
No, you don’t have to buy a slot on primetime TV or take out a full page ad in the New York Times (unless you want to, of course!).
There are many ways to make a splash without breaking the bank. And that’s magnified when your book launch relates to a cause or purpose. You’ve now got assets that can help raise visibility for your book – even if you don’t own or control those assets.
What do I mean?
- If your book ties in to a cause that other organizations already support or work with, then you can get them to participate in your launch, spread word around their network, and raise awareness about it among their audience.
- By timing your book launch to coincide with an event related to the cause you support, you can gain precious attention at little extra cost. Imagine launching a cancer prevention guide on Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Or a heart attack prevention manual on World Heart Day. Or a book on how to choose the perfect gift just before Valentine’s Day. Or setting a December launch for your guide to making effective New Year resolutions. You get the picture.
- You don’t always have to aim high. Even a smallish event in your town or neighborhood can ‘go viral’ given the reach of social media. Get a few passionate people together in a room to launch your book and let them share the news among their friends and followers. A little splash could ripple far and wide.
- And there are even ‘social media only’ events you can organize for your book launch – where folks can join in right from wherever they are at the moment. The flood of pictures of people holding a newly launched book in their hands is one example of such a ‘virtual event’ that can get your creation noticed.
Once again, you’ll enjoy the power of being more than just a book author. You’ll be seen as a social entrepreneur whose book is about to transform the world in some way.
Your event transcends the typical book launch and takes on the aura of ‘laying a foundation for social change’.
You can’t buy this for any amount of money. But you can engineer it – for free.
Engage Buyers In The Impact You (and They) Help Create
Regular authors focus on selling books. You won’t. Your focus should be on the impact you’re creating – through your book sales.
That sets you apart from every other author out there peddling their work.
Well ahead of your book launch, prepare to engage your new readers, fans and the influencers who help you reach them. Think about how you will showcase the impact they are helping you create in the world.
There are endless ways to do this. You should pick the ones that work best for you.
In my work, I feature all the children we’ve operated on our foundation’s website in a section called ‘Smiles and Stories’.
Our donors love to see the faces of little children they’ve helped, and to read their stories. They write to say how it makes them feel like a part of the mission we’re on together. And they come back to buy more books that fund even more operations.
That’s the goal.
- To foster a connection between your readers and your mission.
- To make your book the bridge between them.
- To involve buyers in the effect they help create.
Now do you understand why I said earlier that this is almost impossible to fake?
Unless you really, deeply care about the cause you’re getting behind, it’ll show up in the course of your book marketing efforts. So don’t even think about doing this… unless you truly want to change the world with your book!
Take the time to identify a purpose that matters to you. Something that you care about deeply enough to align with all your book marketing efforts.
When you do, it becomes a mutually energizing loop. You’re motivated to write because of the mission you’re on. You’ll sell more books because of its deeper purpose. And selling more books, finding new fans, making a greater impact will become your inspiration, and leads you on to write more books.
That’s a happy synergy, isn’t it?
Which brings us to the last step in this process…
Stay In Touch With Your Tribe
Remember, your goal isn’t to write a book and sell many copies of it. Your mission is to change the world through your book. And that’s not a one-shot effort. It’s an ongoing process.
On this long journey, you’ll bring along your tribe of special people… the readers who got your book, bought into your mission, and have determined to help you see it through.
They are the strongest asset any writer can hope to develop. They are your True Fans. And together, you can change the world!
You’ve got to keep in touch with them. For a long time. So make plans for it.
- How will you contact them?
- Where will you interact?
- What will you tell them?
- How often?
- And why?
Think about this in general terms right now.
Over time, you’ll modify and adapt to circumstances. But begin with a broad idea. That will guide you in how the way you promote your book, and maybe even in the way you write it.
For instance, how you plan to keep in touch will define what contact details you’ll gather – and where you’ll ask for them (on your website, or within the book itself).
So there you have it.
A step by step guide on how to write a book – and transform the world!
Now go ahead and write your own.
And change the world in your unique way!