How to Effortlessly Map the Content for Each Chapter of Your Self-Help, How-To or Business Book



In the chapter mapping process, you will outline or chart the content elements you plan to include in each chapter.

The E’s Formula

The E’s Formula is a tool to effortlessly develop the content of each chapter. The five “E’s” (Enlighten, Explain, Evidence, Example and Engage), represent the core elements of a successful, practical nonfiction book. 

The body of each chapter (comprised of the main idea and topics) will flow from the material outlined in your E’s Map. The essential elements that will be presented in each chapter are: Enlighten (which represents the “what”), Explain (which represents the “how”), Evidence (which represents the “proof” or “why”), Example (which represents a “story”), and Engage (which represents an “exercise” or “assignment”).

  1. Enlighten: This is the content you will use to present, define and clarify the topic (the idea, step, method, or message).
  1. Explain: This is the content you will craft to describe how to use, implement, or execute the idea, step, strategy, etc.
  1. Evidence: This is the content you will use to support the statement, step, method, or message, show why it works and is relevant and prove your expertise.
  1. Example: This is the content you will include to highlight a story, anecdote or case study designed to reveal the idea or step in action.
  1. Engage: This is the content you will create to provide the reader an exercise or a “to-do” assignment to help the reader absorb and implement the process.

The E’s Formula in Action

The following is an example of the E’s Formula in action, from the book Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port. The topic is the method, which the author refers to as the Book Yourself Solid “Always-Have-Something-to-Invite-People-To Offer”, in the chapter titled Book Yourself Solid Sales Cycle Process.

The first E is Enlighten: The author defines what the “always-have-something-to-invite-people-to offer” is: People usually hate to be sold, but they love to receive invitations… Your services have a high barrier for entry… The Book Yourself Solid Sales Cycle begins by making no-barrier-to-entry offers to potential clients. A no-barrier-to-entry is one that has no risk whatsoever for a potential client so that he can sample your services….

The writer then clarifies why it’s relevant: Do you realize how many more clients you could be serving if they just knew what you had to offer? The best way to inform them is have at least one compelling offer that has no barrier to entry…

The second E is Explain: The author explains how to execute the method: Offer a free special report, or a weekly teleseminar.

The third E is Evidence: The author provides evidence that the method works (including statistics to deliver impact): This strategy works! Of the 93% of my clients who successfully book themselves solid, all of them use it in one form or another…

The writer expands further with the evidence and relevance of this strategy by adding: There is another benefit of this kind of “always-have-something-to-invite-people-to offer”. It can serve as one of the most effective ways of establishing your personal brand.

The fourth E is Example: The author shares an example of an “always-have-something-to-invite-people-to offer” by way of a client success story: I worked with a man who is a personal trainer and a healthy-eating chef… we created his always-have-something-to-invite-people-to offer - the Fitness Fiesta for Foodies. One Sunday evening a month he would hold a party where he would teach his guests how to prepare healthful meals that help them stay fit. Each guest was required to bring someone new to the event, thus creating a new audience for his work. He barely had to market himself. It was magical. People loved it and loved him for doing it. And they joined his programs because of it.

The fifth E is Engage: The author provides the reader an exercise to engage in the content and move forward toward the goal: Write out what your “always-have-something-to-invite-people-to offer” will be.

How to Create a Chapter-by-Chapter Content Map

  1. Refer to the “Quick Reference Chapter-by-Chapter Outline” you created. (Refer to the podcast episode “3 Methods to Strategize the Content for Your Self-Help, How-To or Business Book).
  1. On an 8.5”x11” sheet of paper, draw five vertical columns or horizontal sections.
  1. Label the first column or section “Enlighten”.
  1. Label the second column or section “Explain”.
  1. Label the third column or section “Evidence”.
  1. Label the fourth column or section “Example”.
  1. Label the fifth column or section “Engage”.
  1. At the top of the sheet of paper, write the chapter number and the topic.
  1. Create additional sheets for each chapter and each topic you listed in your “Quick Reference Chapter-by-Chapter Outline”. Each chapter should have three to five sheets/maps (or more depending on your subject) representing the topics to be covered in the chapter.

Next, you will complete the chapter-by-chapter map by outlining the information in each appropriate section:

  • In the sections labeled “Enlighten”: List the relevant topic (the idea, step, method, or concept) that supports the main idea presented in the chapter and, if necessary, note the meaning/definition.
  • In the sections labeled “Explain”: Note the information you will present to describe how to use, implement, or execute the idea, step, or strategy (often these are the supporting points you previously outlined).

Once you have completed the map, you will have the core content for each chapter outlined.

(To help you effortlessly create the content for each chapter of your book, you can also use the “Chapter-by-Chapter E’s Map” included in the Expert Author Workbook.)