The Must-Haves When Planning Your Lead-Generating Non-Fiction

Your book can attract unlimited business, but it's important to tick these boxes before you start.
The Must-Haves When Planning Your Lead-Generating Non-Fiction
Image credit: Westend61 | Getty Images

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor
Publisher, Book Coach and Business Mentor
11 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When someone tells me they have written a book centered on their , I am always so excited, because I know all too well the opportunities and massive benefits that come from writing and publishing a lead-generating non-fiction. However, all too often, it comes to light that the book wasn’t well planned and that huge opportunities have been missed, meaning the need to re-work the entire book, or otherwise opt to move forward with publication without ever truly maximizing on this goldmine of a tool.

For professionals across the world — whether entrepreneurs, mompreneurs, solopreneurs, speakers, thought leaders, coaches or mentors, and regardless of their industry or expertise, or even the time they have already dedicated to their career — the writing and publication of a lead-generating non-fiction presents a platform like no other. Not only does it give the author an instant boost to their professional authority and status; not only is it a larger-than-life business card, allowing the individual to showcase their skills, services and results; not only can it act as a physical sales funnel; but it’s also an evergreen tool with the ability to attract in your ideal client, have them get to know, like and trust you, and have them then pay you to become a lead — and all organically and in an entirely automated way.

When considering the power of a lead-generating non-fiction, very few other marketing strategies compare. And the true beauty of this one is that, with the right methods and techniques in your toolkit, the process is incredibly simple. However, before beginning with the book-blueprinting and -planning process, there is a need to take a look at the three most fundamental components you’ll need to have in place in order to maximize on this amazing business-changing tool.

Related: Consider This Before Self-Publishing Your Book

A Clear View on Your Ideal Client Avatar

“I work with women wanting to start a business…”

Bios like this can be seen everywhere we look on , as well as on countless professional platforms, and although they’re usually written with the very best in mind, it remains that a lack of focus can actually lead to fewer leads than those bios that are more selective. Although the emphasis here is not necessarily on the power of niching down on your ideal client and who you’d ultimately love to serve, it nonetheless is paramount that you, as an author and professional business person, know exactly who you want to work with as a result of writing your book.

The answer to “who” your book is for establishes its tone, the readers you want to attract, the journey you want to take them on, the problems they have and, most importantly, how you can help them.

Of course, there are professionals who open up their ideal client avatar to encompass a far wider population and who stand by their choice not to niche down However, “the riches are in the niches” is a turn of phrase widely used in the marketing world for a reason. To niche down, to get really clear on your ideal client — right down to their age, gender, location, and where they frequent — not only helps you to hone in on your prospective clients—in this case, your readers—and direct your book-related marketing to them (and in all the places you know they hang out), but it also does something far more valuable: it allows you to properly understand who they are, their position in the world and in their lives, how they struggle, and the urgency they feel in resolving those struggles. This is where you and your book can step into the spotlight, showcase your genius, and reassure them that a solution is not too far away. This is where your /ideal client will start to see that the courses you offer, the programs you’ve devised, the one-to-one work you do (on a very select basis) would all be absolutely perfect for them in helping them to become unstuck.  

With all of this taken into consideration, the seven critical aspects of getting clear on your ideal client avatar/reader for your book include:

  1. Identifying who your ideal client is, right down to their hobbies, favorite pastimes and where they spend their time.
  2. Establishing the key problem/problems they are facing when it comes to achieving the results/outcomes in which you specialize.
  3. Determining where they are in their journey of trying to achieve their end goal (the results/outcomes in which you specialize).
  4. Understanding the language they use.
  5. Determining the aesthetics, colors and brands that call to your ideal client.
  6. Examining exactly how an end to their problem could and would change their lives.
  7. Understanding their position both at the beginning and at the end of their journey (both with and without your expertise).

All of the above-detailed elements are so important to the book-planning process and in ensuring your book — before even a word has been written — is planned in mind of a specific clientele. The most important benefit achieved by directing attention to these components is that they can really help to position you as the expert — someone who is understanding and who relates — while tailoring your marketing and message, which should be at the very core of your lead-generating non-fiction.

Your Reader’s A-Z Journey

Writing a book is one thing, but writing a lead-generating non-fiction is something else entirely, and although the process as a whole can be incredibly easy and can be implemented by anyone and everyone, it’s essential that it’s done in the right way. With this said, arguably the most critical component when blueprinting (planning) and writing your book is your reader’s A-Z journey. In essence, this is the path your reader/client travels in the lead-up to finding you/your services, and their journey after.

However, you might be wondering how you could ever predict every single one of your readers’ journeys, and the answer to that would be, quite simply: You can’t. But what you can do is tell your story and weave this in with what is likely to be a similar experience to their own. This shows that you relate to your reader, that you’ve been in their shoes, that you understand their situation and their desperation to build a better life (however that may be), and that you’re equipped to help them move through that process.

Now, of course, if the A-Z journey of your reader has not been well considered or mapped out, your book could still be successful in solving your readers’/prospects’ pain points, which would make everyone a winner. Your reader would be thrilled, would feel connected to you and might even write a glowing review, and you’d be in the incredible position of being able to help someone (though, to be frank, you would never know this unless they made the effort to reach out and tell you, which would present a missed opportunity). However, if you are to fully maximize on the platform provided by a book in business — that means generating leads, directly working with and helping new clients and growing your business—  then the A-Z journey is key. It’s key in showing understanding and relatability, but also in presenting help and assistance beyond the pages of your book.

With this said, the five most important points on your reader’s A-Z journey focus on the following:

  1. Your reader’s background; where they were before.
  2. Where they are now. What pain points/problems are they experiencing?
  3. Where does your reader/client want to be?
  4. What would your reader/client need to implement in order to achieve their ideal outcome?
  5. What would life look like for your reader/client if they were to/were not to take your advice/solution?

This A-Z journey really allows you to start to see the backbone of your book come together, and is able to guide you in writing without getting lost or going off-track (one simple stage in the book-blueprinting process).

A Lead Magnet

The whole point of a lead-generating non-fiction is, as you should now know, to generate leads. Of course, there are a number of other secondary objectives that go with writing a non-fiction, as discussed above. However, the main purpose rests on attracting in your ideal clients (in the form of readers) and having them take action to position themselves as a lead (or, better still, a paying client).

A lead magnet, when referenced throughout the book’s content, can make a world of difference. Consider for a moment how the situation might look if you were to choose not to incorporate one. This would mean being unable to collect your readers’ details. In practical terms, this could mean thousands of people buying your book, the odd one or two writing a review, and you then depositing your royalties check. Case closed, end of transaction. On the other hand, a non-fiction with focus on lead-generation could mean those readers making the choice to visit a landing page to grab their free training or downloadable or consult, allowing you to really start to build on that relationship.

In the first scenario, you would be unable to communicate with what could be thousands of prospects — prospects who have already pre-qualified themselves by buying/downloading your book — and that really is the most incredible part. Every single person reading your book is reading because they see you and your book as being able to solve their problem or offer something of value; they are an untapped lead. So, if you can find a way to collect their email address, you’ll have someone with whom you can communicate and present offers to. But don’t forget: They’ve also paid you to become a lead by buying your book. That, to me, is absolutely mind-blowing when considering how much the average lead costs through cost per click or social media platforms, and that’s without even taking a moment to recognize the fact that, by the end of the book, your reader will have come to know, like and trust you, which positions them as a warm lead.

To help reinforce the value of lead-generation in a non-fiction, the following three questions can help:

  1. Would you be better positioned to serve your readers/clients with or without the inclusion of a free lead magnet?
  2. How could you provide real value, expertise and help both throughout your book and through additional (free) help beyond the book?
  3. Do you feel confident that your book alone would allow your readers to achieve real breakthroughs, without further and help from you?

It can sometimes come as a shock that, as well as writing a book, non-fiction authors wanting to utilize a book for lead-generation also have to create a lead magnet. However, a simple PDF or short training video can really give your readers that additional value, and encourages them to shift their relationship off the book and out into the real world.

Your Non-Fiction Goals

Throughout my career, which has seen me launch an award-winning hybrid publishing house and create highly reviewed book-blueprinting courses, I have also spent huge amounts of time on various non-fiction projects with an emphasis on lead-generation, which has required that I learn, understand and implement the most effective ways of turning readers into paying clients. A high-value method of positioning a book as a lead-generation tool is one that allows the entrepreneur/author to gain insight into who their readers are — the specifics of who they are—  so that they can benefit from further enhancing the relationship that has been built and nurtured during the book-reading process. And all of this can be done without any new actions on the entrepreneur’s side; all organically and completely automated. This should be the ultimate goal when it comes to writing and publishing your non-fiction.

Of course, status, authority and recognition in your chosen niche are also incredible takeaways from writing and publishing a book, and that will undoubtedly help to enhance your position and the trust those watching have for you. However, you might want to question what use that is if you still aren’t able to communicate and liaise with them.

Related: 32 Entrepreneurs Share the Books They Always Recommend

My own opinion? When taking advantage of any tool, platform or opportunity, it makes sense to squeeze every bit of goodness out of it as possible. In this context, that means showcasing your expertise and skills, positioning yourself as someone likeable, trustworthy and relatable, highlighting the results you can help your clients to achieve, providing them with as much value as possible (for just the price of your book) and throwing in additional bonuses (lead magnets) that can allow you to capture your leads and move them into an off-the-page relationship. Do this right and your lead generating non-fiction will be a success.

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Amplify your business knowledge and reach your full entrepreneurial potential with Entrepreneur Insider’s exclusive benefits. For just $5 per month, get access to premium content, webinars, an ad-free experience, and more! Plus, enjoy a FREE 1-year Entrepreneur magazine subscription.
Create your business plan in half the time with twice the impact using Entrepreneur's BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan. Try risk free for 60 days.

Latest on Entrepreneur