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Creating Quality Content: 4 Essential Elements of a Good Book

Credit Illustration by Paul Sahre and Jonas Beuchert

While it seems as though anyone can publish a book these days, it doesn’t mean that they should.

Sure, many people can crank out a book in no time. However, the quality of these books is sometimes questionable.

In an effort to support family and friends, I’ve purchased my share of self-published books. I’ve picked up others from street festival booths and community books stores.

Ignoring the less than stellar design cover, some of the self-published books have been pretty great reads while some have been, well… not so great. In several instances, the writing was godawful or the content was boring and in others, the abundance of typos made it just too painful to keep turning the page.

However, I’ve found some of the most memorable books regardless of the publisher, have the following traits in common which make them worth reading.

If you’re in the process or writing a book, or thinking about writing a book, take a step back from writing to determine if your book meets the following criteria. Doing so ensures popularity, longevity and ultimately a quality book.

Clear, Compelling Arguments

Powerful, declarative statements about an author’s belief immediately capture a reader interest. If the reader agrees with the basic premise, he or she may be drawn further into the book. Sometimes, if they disagree, they may read further to understand or refute the author’s belief. But only if it’s well written. A dissenting viewpoint that’s poorly written is an immediate turnoff for critical readers and provides a valid excuse to stop reading.

A Unique Perspective or Experience

These perspectives are usually based on either unique life experiences or original interpretation of ordinary ones. Memoirs especially provide an opportunity to vividly recount trailblazing tales that takes a reader back in time on a journey with the author. Clever, well-placed and uncommon anecdotes in business books hold massive potential as memorable teaching moments to reinforce key points.

Contemporary Examples of Timeless Issues

Exploration of new phenomenon or popular emerging trends and their application to our lives spark interest. Many readers read books to either be entertained or learn something new about the world around them. Some books can do both. Therefore, new examples on common issues such as how to succeed in romantic relationships, business or parenting can have mass appeal.

An Authentic Writing Style

Readers can tell when an author is patronizing. A manuscript littered with rhetorical questions and cliches not only screams unoriginal, it tends to insult the reader’s intelligence. Authors who take time to find their unique voice and writing style rather than mimic what they have read in other works can connect readers from the beginning to the end of a book.

Not sure if your book you're writing or thinking about writing is up to par? Before you continue, let's talk so you get your book done and get it done well. Click here to contact me.

Alicia N. Ingram is a ghostwriter and book editor that helps aspiring authors start and finish their books. To receive more free information, inspiration and "The 5 Tips For Finally Getting Your Book Done" checklist, click here to sign up for the mailing list.

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