Should you write a Directions-Type business book?

We’re looking at my model for business book development: Directions, Map or Landmark – in these next articles. It will help you choose what type of business book to write, write the book and most importantly work out how that book can fit in with your business strategy, enhance your profile and provide you with a lucrative marketing tool.

This article is focusing on Directions Type Books.

Directions-type Books – How To

Directions books have plenty of lists, facts, and instructions. People reading this book don’t want to go off and find out information, they want to be told what to do, the order, what next, what they need for the journey. It’s all about order and getting there. They’re not looking for detours. Imagine the reader of a directions type book looking down, following instructions, they just don’t see the rest of the landscape/terrain, they are on their way to a destination.

If they get lost they might abandon the trip and you’ll lose them forever. Or they’ll need to go backwards some steps, wasting time and resources. Directions books need to help the reader get from A to B easily, quickly, without getting lost!

Your reader is desperate for a solution  —  get her there fast, efficiently  —  and don’t lose her!

Any case studies included in a Directions-type book need to show progression in the form of ‘I did this, then that, then that and now I’m here…’ Cases need to be specific, clear, unambiguous.

What business books are in the Directions category?

Types of direction books include cookery books (how to make great paella), how to run a pet store, how to travel the world as a writer, how to run facebook ads, how to set up a website.

My cookery books are directions books — you have to do the things in the right order, step by step — there is only one right way (or at least the Spanish women I interviewed for the book say so, and who am I to argue?)

For these books to work everyone must start from the same place — so you must choose the target carefully. A cordon bleu cookery book won’t be great for an 18 year old needing to cook for themselves for the first time when they leave for university. A cake baking book isn’t right for a 50 year old man on the Paleo diet.

The difference that makes the difference

You can’t give good directions if you don’t have a common starting point. Imagine you want to take your friends on a picnic, they are coming from all over the city — some from the north, some from the south, you can’t give each person the same directions, unless you get them all to the same starting point.

Books in this space will be competing to take the reader from where they are now to a DIFFERENT place than you want them to go.

For example, diet books — Atkins, Paleo, Low Carbs — they are all competing to take your reader from being unhappy with their diet, but each leads to a different place.

Want a website and don’t have any coding skills? Buy my ‘how to set up a WordPress website for dummies’ book. No, buy my ‘how to get started with your website on WIX, without coding skills’ book.

How to set up your business mailing list on Infusionsoft — or on Salesforce — or on ActiveCampaign— same starting point (problem), different destination (solution).

Same starting points, different directions, different destination.

Why Directions-type books don’t get read…

They can be turgid, boring, repetitive — these are the biggest problems with a directions book. You need to consider different ways of presenting the useful lists of directions. Think about: screenshots, bullets, breakouts, checklists, images. Any method to break the monotony.

How can you tie this in to your business?

We’ve looked at what the reader needs from the book, but what about you, the writer? Directions-type books are great if you are selling: step by step instructional videos, courses, more books, more how to products, done for you services, toolkits, product progression (beginner to advanced), DIY with help from the team or done for you by the team.

If you decide to write a directions-type book make sure you know where your reader is, where they need to be, that you have the detailed directions to get them there, and that you have something else to sell them when they arrive!

Remember: You must decide what type of book your are writing – Directions, Map or Landmark – before you write the outline or decide on the title and subtitle.


If you’ve already started writing, you might be writing the wrong book!
 Call me to find out.

I personally reply to all emails, shout if you have a question…
If it takes me a little while to respond, it’s probably because I’m herding cats, dogs, goats, chickens or horses! I’ll be back – send me directions!

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Should you write a Landmark-Type business book? – Debbie Jenkins - 27th March 2020

[…] looking at my model for business book development: Directions, Map or Landmark. It will help you choose what type of business book to write, write the book and […]

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