I always ask my nonfiction book coaching and copy editing clients two questions before we begin any work on their book:

  1. Why are you writing your book?
  2. Why will someone buy your book?

The first steps

The first step to writing a book or ebook is to determine these two motivations:

  1. Author motivation: why do you want to write this book or ebook?
  2. Reader motivation: why will readers want to buy this book or ebook?

Let me clarify what these mean.

Author motivation can include a variety of goals such as:

  1. make passive income
  2. share expertise
  3. solve a problem
  4. teach a skill
  5. spread a message
  6. promote a brand
  7. build a writing career
  8. use ebook for promotion
  9. enjoy creative output

You may have a different motivation, so think about what it is and write it down. Or you may have more than one. As you move through the process of writing a book or ebook and confront challenges or distractions, you need to connect with your motivation(s) to keep your forward momentum. (Don’t even think you won’t have distractions or excuses, because you will; that’s why it’s so important to have a reason to write your book!)

Reader motivation has to be strong enough for someone to take out their credit card and click BUY NOW! If you want to sell your books and ebooks, you have to know why someone would buy them. Some reasons might be:

  1. need a solution to a problem
  2. want more information on a subject
  3. desire to learn a new skill
  4. find inspiration or guidance
  5. follow an author

Use author motivation to define your book

Besides your author motivation moving your forward, it also helps you define your book. How? Because it guides you in choosing what content to include, how long the book will be, whether it will be one book or a series, and much more. In order to achieve your author motivation, your book has to get you there. For example, if you want to teach a skill, your book could be a preliminary manual leading to an online course that goes into more detail. Or if your motivation is to promote a brand, you may want to plan a series of books on related subjects or a similar style like the Chicken Soup for the Soul or For Dummies books.

Use reader motivation to develop your book

Besides your reader motivation moving you forward, it also helps you develop your book. How? Because it guides you to write a book that delivers on the motivation or why a reader would buy your book. Why do you buy books? Why would someone buy your book, instead of someone else’s? If you don’t have readers buying your book, you won’t achieve your author or reader motivations. Knowing what you want the reader to take away helps you develop your book in a way that satisfies the reader, which means more sales.

So before you sit down to write your book or ebook, dig down deep to determine the author and reader motivations. Write these down and keep them where you can see them near your computer. They’ll keep you focused and pumped up any time you get writers’ block, overwhelm, distractions, or fear! You have a goal to reach and you have readers to serve. Go get ’em!

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