Here’s Why Most People Don’t Finish Reading Books —
And What You Can Do About It
Don’t let your hard work go to waste. Here’s how to write a book that people will read through .
People are eager to pick up new books, but they’re even more eager to put them down. Even Pulitzer Prize winning authors have trouble keeping readers’ attention. So if you’re writing a book to grow your business, you need to ask yourself what you can do to keep people engaged from cover to cover.
If you’re a coach, consultant, or business owner, you’ve probably heard that “a confused mind says no.” This phrase usually comes up in the contexts of marketing and sales. The idea is that no matter how many different services you offer, you should only offer new leads one option — buy or don’t buy. If you give people too many choices, you’ll confuse them. And people would rather say no to everything than figure it out. They’ll just close the tab and move on to one of your competitors.
The same goes for your book. If your book confuses readers, they’ll put it down… and never pick it up again.
So how can you avoid confusing readers?
Clarify Your Messaging
Books are vehicles for ideas. That’s why they exist. So, if your ideas aren’t clear in your own mind, your book won’t be clear either.
This is why it’s so important to outline before you write. Get clear about what you’re trying to communicate and why.
I see this lack of clarity with my clients when they are starting out. They’re not entirely sure what they’re trying to say. And that’s fine. That’s what book development and writing coaching is for. But you have to do this work before you can start writing. Once you have a firm message and clear outline, we can start working on the next level of clarity–your wording.
Clarify Your Wording
Every first draft (and second draft) is going to have some confusing language — jumbled words, and omitted connectors that make it difficult to parse out what the writer is trying to say.
I’ve found that one of the best ways to combat this problem is to simply read your text back to yourself — out loud.
You see, when you’re writing, you hear all the words in your head as you write. The only trouble is not all those words make it onto the page. The subconscious mind tends to fill gaps in the language. So, if you read it back quietly, you won’t notice those omissions.
Read it aloud, and you’ll hear what’s missing or unclear and be able to correct it.
I use this exercise with everything I write, including this article and let me tell you — it’s good that I did. My first draft was a mess. 🙂
I know that most people are willing to go back and give a confusing sentence a second try. And, you know what? You’re a nice person. I bet you’d be willing to give it a third try. But if you can’t make sense of something you’re reading after the third try, you’re just going to close the window and move on to something else.
And that’s just my blog.
Now, consider your book — the one that you’re investing so much time and money into. The one that you’re counting on to help you grow and scale your business. The one that’s going to turn you into an industry authority. The stakes are too high for you to gamble with lack of clarity.
If you want somebody to read your book cover to cover, you’ve got to keep it clear, engaging, informative, and entertaining. And it’s got to be that way throughout. Every line counts. That’s why I work with people on Every. Single. Line.
So, I encourage you to get clear about your ideas and your language. Do that and you’ll be well on your way toward keeping readers engaged from start to finish.
If you’d like to learn more about how to write a book to grow your business, check out From Owner To Author, a Facebook community I created for coaches, consultants, and business owners with authorial ambitions. You can click here to join the conversation. And, for an even deeper look, you can get my book. It’s called, How To Write A Book That Sells YOU.