The Expert Author process to “write” you book is to: design trigger questions you will use to guide you to speak-your-book, record the material, have the recordings transcribed, arrange the transcribed content and incorporate it into a document to develop the first draft of your manuscript.
By using the speak-your-book method, you will have the core content (body) of each chapter written. To complete the manuscript, you will polish or add openings, endings and words of encouragement, select value-added material, and develop and incorporate your call-to-action elements.
How to Design Trigger Questions
Trigger Questions are questions that elicit specific information you need to create the content of the book. Trigger Questions are the questions you will answer to “write” your book.
For each chapter:
- Write the questions a reader would ask about each topic.
- Place the questions in logical, sequential, or chronological order.
- Use mostly open-ended questions - these are questions that start with what, who, how, where, when, and why, and focus on benefits and results.
Trigger Question Prompts
Your Trigger Questions flow directly from the elements in your chapter-by-chapter outline. (Refer to the podcast episode “How to Effortlessly Map the Content for Each Chapter of Your Self-Help, How-To or Business Book” if you haven’t already mapped your chapter-by-chapter outline.)
- What is it (the idea, step, method, strategy, concept, idea)?
- Why does it work?
- How does it work?
- What is the proof that it works?
- Why is it relevant?
- What will happen if the reader implements the step, strategy or concept?
- What will happen if the reader fails to implement the step, strategy or concept?
- What is a successful example of the strategy, step, or concept?
- What does the reader need to be aware of to successfully complete the step or strategy or to understand the concept?
- What should the reader avoid? (These are the do’s and don’ts of the step, method, process, or concept.)
- What are the steps involved in the exercise that will help the reader absorb and implement the idea, method or process?
Questions may also derive from the frequently asked questions you receive from clients. What questions do you find yourself answering over-and-over again? These questions are a good indicator of what your readers will want to know about the subject.
One you have created your Trigger Questions, you will record your answers to create a draft of your book. On average, most people will speak 6,000 to 9,000 words per hour of “usable” content. Depending on the number of words in your book (and the length of each chapter), one to two hours of speaking will be equal to the content of about one book chapter. Therefore, “writing” the core content of the chapters of your book is quick and effective with the speak-you-book method.
Step 1: Choose a recording method.
- Audio recording software/app - such as Voice Memos (included on Mac, iPhone, and iPad) or Audacity (free open-source software), which allow you to record directly to your computer or device with or without an external microphone.
- Digital voice recorder - a smartphone or product (Sony makes several quality recorders, available from Amazon), which allows you to transfer the recording to your computer and convert into an mp3 file, which you can send to a transcription service.
- Recording service - such as Free Conference Call, which allows you to call into a telephone number, speak your content and receive an mp3 of the recording.
- Voice/speech recognition software - allows you to dictate audio directly into the software program and turns your spoken words into text inside a document. Beware: While this may sound like a time-reducing and money-saving option, many do-it-yourself transcription software products are not as accurate as a transcription service that transcribes your voice from an audio file. I have found it more time-consuming and financially costly to utilize speech recognition software. However, your mileage with this method may vary.
Step 2: Using the trigger questions as your guide, review each question and record your answers. You can also create a bullet-point list of topics you want to cover to trigger your spoken content. Use the method that works best for you to facilitate the speaking process.
(To help you to quickly and easily speak-you-book, you can also use the “Trigger Questions Worksheet and Prompts” included in the Expert Author Workbook.)