The 3 E’s Every Successful Book Requires

Aspiring Authors often wonder just how to write their book. They have many ideas and struggle to determine which ones to expand and include in a manuscript and which ones to discard or save for another purpose, like a blog post or article.

If you are having trouble crafting the outline for your book or getting stuck in the middle of your manuscript, take a high level view of your work and determine if it offers the readers these three crucial E’s:

1. Education– Non Fiction readers have a purpose in mind when they pick up your book. They are seeking answers, ideas, and tools to solve a particular challenge.

Thus, you need educational information in your book. This material should be factual, logical, and presented in a way that helps the reader use the information in her life.

This educational information can be presented as:
• How-to information based on your observations and experiences
• Statistical information based on published research
• Expert interviews
• Case studies
• Survey results

Review your content and aim to present at least ten major educational ideas in your book. Doing so will ensure that your book isn’t just fluff, but offers solid and useful information which serves and delights your readers.

2. Entertainment- Readers are also looking for books which are fun to read. Even if you are writing about a very serious subject, you can write your book in a way that entertains. If your book is boring, few will finish it.

You can make your book entertaining by including:
• Stories
• Humor when appropriate
• Mystery or suspense
• Illustrations
• Quotes
• Links to today’s popular culture

When you balance the seriousness of the educational material with some entertaining information, your readers learn and are excited to keep turning the pages of your book.

3. Experience– The final ingredient of a successful book is to create a personal experience for each of your readers. This experience can be a feeling that you engender in your writing or an action readers take while they are reading the book.

Here are a few examples of experiences added into books:
• Journaling or reflection questions
• Checklists
• Self Assessments or quizzes
• Instructions for completing an activity such as a walking meditation or team building activity
• Scripts for challenging conversations

Now that you know the three E’s of a Successful Book, you may be wondering how much of each is appropriate for your book. That’s a very good question!

To answer this question, consider your ideal reader. What is she looking for? How serious is he?

If you are writing for a teen, you’ll want to add lots of entertainment and experience to hold her attention. If your book is for corporate executives, add more educational material. A book on death and dying could include quite a bit of humor…which might be refreshing or offensive, depending on the way that humor is used.

Writing a great book is both an art and a science. The three E’s are the science; you’ll want some of each of them in your book. Balancing them to appeal to your ideal reader is the art and the creative challenge which makes writing so satisfying.

What about you? Which E is most appealing to you? Share your ideas here on the blog. (Note the use of Experience!)

Comments 5

  • Thanks Lynne… Great succinct outline of contents for the guidebook I’m planning.

  • I think this article is a great example of how to write an article. It is brief, but clear. It uses a great advance organizer(3 E’s)and the bullet points make it easy on the eyes. You have put a lot of information in a short number of words. Oh, and the content is great, too. Thanks for the lesson.

  • Good article, Lynne. I think the easiest component of the three “E’s” is entertainment, followed by education. The most difficult for me to include is experience, because I’m not sure what component(s) to add that would help the reader engage what he or she has read. Very timely article for me. Thanks again!

  • This is great advice, and what I love in particular is #3. As a historian, I am not used to thinking about that kind of interaction. #1 and #2 I totally get, especially about making whatever it is entertaining (there is NO excuse for history to be “boring”) but #3 is intriguing, fun, and really feels right. Thank you!

  • Thank you SO much for this, Lynne! The Experience aspect is appealing to me, most notably Checklist, as I think readers, who a dealing with Autism, are seeking guidance and what to do next. It didn’t dawn on me to add a checklist to some key chapters in my book, and now I see that is going to be key to engaging my reader! So exciting! Cheers to you!

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