Write Useful Books
eBook - ePub

Write Useful Books

A modern approach to designing and refining recommendable nonfiction

Rob Fitzpatrick

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eBook - ePub

Write Useful Books

A modern approach to designing and refining recommendable nonfiction

Rob Fitzpatrick

Book details
Table of contents

About This Book

The goal of book marketing is to stop needing to do it

Learn how to:

  • Scope your book into the world's best solution for a certain type of reader
  • Test, improve, & iterate your ToC without needing to rewrite anything
  • Design a engaging reader experience that makes your book a delight to read
  • Discover the hidden analytics of boredom & confusion to identify book-killing problems & make the most of beta readers
  • Treat marketing as a temporary activity instead of an ongoing obligation by designing a strong recommendation loop
  • Evaluate which of the four seed marketing options are best-suited for your goals, constraints, & skills
  • Write a book that endures & grows for years instead of fading into swift obscurity
  • Boost long-term growth by optimizing your pricing, platforms, & purchase funnel

Most books don't work

Writing a nonfiction book is a wonderful project, allowing you to preserve & share the most important things you've ever learned. Plus, a successful book will improve your reputation, your career, your earnings, & the lives of your readers.

Up until fairly recently, it was possible to receive at least some of these benefits by writing any book, regardless of its quality. But today, a million new titles are published per year and it's no longer enough to simply join the pile. Instead, you must create something that is able to stand out & succeed. And the most reliable path toward that goal - especially for an unproven author who lacks a pre-existing audience - is to write a book so startlingly useful that readers can't stop talking about it.

This guide proposes a different way of planning, writing, & refining nonfiction, drawn from the hard-won lessons of product designers & entrepreneurs. Applied properly, it leads to books that can grow organically via reader recommendations for many years, without relying on either heavy marketing or a large author platform.

The preconceptions about "writing a book" are so deeply entrenched that most authors don't even ask themselves whether a better way exists. Which is crazy, because the normal approach doesn't work! For example:

  • The average NYT nonfiction bestseller loses 95% of its peak sales within a year
  • 70% of traditionally published titles fail to pay out a single dollar in royalties
  • Vanishingly few nonfiction books sell even 500 copies

These are not good results, but it doesn't have to be this way.

By following a more modern approach, my first two books (2013 & 2019) now do more than $150k/year in royalties (and growing). You can do it too. It's not easy, but it is reliable & repeatable. And in the normally hit-driven, feast-or-famine world of writing, there's something to be said for reliability.

What this book is not:

This is

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