Not long ago, I had a conversation with a lovely woman about her book, the one that sold all of three copies in as many years. Now, this woman is no slouch in the writing department. In fact, she makes a good living as a copyeditor. BUT, there’s one thing she really didn’t understand about books: we need an identifiable problem that will be resolved by the very last page.

This law doesn’t just hold true for novels–I mean, picture The Kite Runner without the Taliban insurgence– but for non-fiction genres as well.

A memoir, which is what this woman had written, about a happy family that only gets happier as they all mature?  Zzzzzzzzzz.

A self-help book without an addressed problem? Hahahaha.

A motivational book that fails to recommend some sort of paradigm shift or hard-won transformation? Well, why should any of us invest our precious time to read that? To what end?

In short: You need to describe a clear problem right out of the gate that immediately connects you with your reader. You need to show your reader what it feels like to have this problem in a visceral way. You need a story or a scene that paints the picture in all of its gory glory.

Of course, if you’d like to read about the other fatal mistakes super smart business owners make ALL THE TIME when writing a non-fiction book, one designed to impact lives and establish true credibility, you can download that pdf right here.