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An "Expert" Book Can Take Many Forms


Anybody in any business should have an "expert" book to confer credibility, authority and "expert" status. An "expert" book is the ultimate business card and generates revenue for its author without a single copy ever being sold. How do you write an "expert" book? This article provides many possible formats.

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									                 An “Expert” Book Can Take Many Forms
Note: This is an excerpt from the book, “Why Every Speaker Should Have an ‘Expert’ Book”,
by Alan Stransman, available as a free download at:

Michael Levin, who has ghostwritten a great many business books
through his company, Business Ghost, maintains that there are two
common formats for a business book. The first is a “solution” book
which describes, in step-by-step detail, the solution which you offer to
the problem or problems that keep your prospective customers and
clients awake at night.
This type of “expert” book is typically about 150 pages in length,
consists of between 10-12 chapters and contains between 1-3 main
concepts. According to Levin, the traditional “solution” or “problem-
solving” book should have the following structure:
Chapter 1: Empathy – I feel your pain!
The author presents a “killer personal war story” to demonstrate that he
or she has “been there” and understands the reader’s pain.
Chapter 2: I am the solution – there is hope!
The author presents all of the wrong ways that other so-called “experts”
propose to solve the reader’s problem, and then positions him or herself
as the only one with the right solution.
Chapter 3: Here is the solution.
The author lays out the process – that is, the fastest, best, cheapest
and/or simplest solution to the reader’s problem. Ideally, this process
consists of 6 or more steps, which will be described in subsequent
Chapters 4-10: Step-by-Step description of the solution.
The author describes the solution to the reader’s problem in step-by-step
detail, devoting an entire chapter to each step.
Chapter 10: Summary of the key problem and of the author’s
The author restates, in slightly different language, the problem, the
“wrong” solutions and the right one.
Chapter 11: Encouragement plus a Call to Action
The author encourages the reader to go “out there” and succeed on his or
her own if the reader is so inclined or to visit his or her website, call for
a free consultation, attend a conference or seminar, or whatever is the
first step in the process of engaging the author to solve the reader’s
Chapter 12: About the Author
The author’s bio, contact information and additional products and/or
services offered by the author.
The other most common business book format, according to Michael
Levin, is the “Captain of Industry” model.
The “Captain of Industry” Model
As the name suggests, the “Captain of Industry” business book model
can – or, perhaps, should – only be attempted by iconic business leaders
like Bill Gates, Howard Schultz and Jack Welch.
This genre of business book can actually be longer than the first model –
as long as the author wishes it to be, really – as it conflates history with
personal memoir, along with a bit of prognostication.
Although it may contain more chapters, The “Captain of Industry”
template is, essentially, comprised of six main elements:
  1) History of the author’s industry (i.e. automotive industry, computer
  2) History of the author’s company (either as founder, partner or as an
  3) The author’s rise to the top of his company (usually meteoric, but
     not always)
  4) The author’s philosophy of business (and of life, if applicable)
  5) The author’s vision of the future for his or her industry (and for the
     world and/or business world)
  6) The author’s prescription for society
The “Solution” and “Captain of Industry” models may well be the most
common formats for an “expert” business book, as Levin suggests, but
they are far from being the only types of book that can be created by or
for someone wishing to establish his or her expertise or authority in a
particular industry or niche.
I always tell my prospective book clients that there is a model or
template to fit any industry, niche, personality and price point. (On this
last point, if you are considering hiring someone to write your “expert”
book for you, as a general rule, a book of 150-175 pages would require
approximately 100-150 hours of my time as a ghostwriter, and that
would include 10-20 hours of interviewing time. A book of 250-350
pages could well require 200-300 hours of my time.)
If you are planning to write your “expert” book yourself - and you are
not an experienced writer – the two common business book formats
cited by Levin may take much longer than they would take me, for
example – and prove to be prohibitively time-consuming.
Happily, there are many other ways to create an “expert” book which
require less time and effort.
Additional “Expert” Book Formats
The following list will give you an idea of the wide range of approaches
that one can take to creating an “expert book’. Many of them can be
accomplished by the author – or by a ghostwriter like me – in 50 hours,
or even fewer.

   • The “List” approach, such as 21 Ways to Be Save Time and Money
     on Your Tax Return
   • The “Step-by-Step” format, as in A Step-by-Step Guide to Opening
     Your Own Small Business
   • The “FAQ” model, as in 20 Questions You Should Ask Your
     Doctor Before Your First Baby Arrives
   • The “Mistakes” format, such as, The 9 Biggest Mistakes First-time
     Home Buyers Make
   • The “How-To” book, as in, How To Lose 20 Pounds in 20 Days
   • The “Interview” book, in which the author is interviewed and the
     transcript of the interview is edited and published in book form
   • The “Collection” approach, in which a collection of previously
     published articles, blog posts or even stories written by the author
     are compiled and published in book form
   • The “How to Hire” model, in which the author explains how to
     hire someone like him or herself, as in How to Hire a General
     Contractor or How To Hire a Nanny
   • The “Recipe” book - one of my personal favourites for chefs and/or
     restaurant owners – in which the author presents some of his most
     popular recipes or creates new ones
And that is not all.
Internet marketing and Kindle publishing guru James Jones suggests
that anyone can base a book upon the “tips”, “tricks”, “secrets”,
“techniques”, “tactics”, “strategies”, “plans” or “shortcuts” – in other
words, the inside “dope” - in a particular industry or niche, an approach
which could certainly work well for an “expert” business book.
The opportunities to create a helpful, informative and authoritative
“expert” business book are truly endless.
And, in the brave new world of print-on-demand and digital publishing,
books do not need to conform to a publisher’s standards or expectations
in terms of length, format, content or genre. They only have to fulfill the
informational needs of the reader.
In other words, if the content is valuable to your prospective customers
or clients, the book will be valuable to you.
For example, Maria Gudelis’ book 21 Ways to Use Social Media
contains 21 chapters – one for each way to use social media– and is only
48 pages in length, and yet, has been published on Amazon. While it is
considerably shorter than either of the common formats cited by Michael
Levin, it is, nonetheless, an “expert book”, and one which Maria has
used to attract a significant number of clients to her personal coaching
and consulting business.
Perhaps, the most important lesson from this section of the report is to
recall Woody Allen’s remark that “80% of success in life is about
showing up”. The same could well be said of an “expert” business book.
Just having a book can confer benefits upon anybody in any business –
and the more relevant the information, of course, the more stature,
credibility and visibility it will confer - and the more value it will have.
For more information on how to write an “expert” book visit:

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