Pick any problem and you’ll find an endless number of ways to present it. You could take a big, broad view and describe the challenge in a way many would understand. You could also take a specific approach in an attempt to address a particular aspect of the problem. And as you think about the scope, you also have to think about the way people talk about the problem and the language they use to identify it.
The trick is naming it. The toughest job, besides writing the book itself, is establishing a frame that uniquely represents it. You need a title that is clear, a subtitle that promises, and a book description the reader recognizes and surprises the reader at the same time.
Consider these three books:
All three of these books are about solving the same problem— completing tasks—but the authors approach the cause of that problem in very different ways. David Allen takes a very direct route to the problem. Piers Steel wants to recognize all of the things that have been stopping your doing and deal with your delaying. Russell Bishop wants to help you to find alternative routes to reaching the destination. The variety of ways you can frame any problem is on full display here.
There are qualities to consider when building an effective frame. Positive works better than negative in books. Powerful and emotive language creates contrast versus the normal and known that we hear. Verbs evoke the next needed action. All of these approaches reinforce the desired change of state, the promise to the reader about what will be different after they read the book.
A good frame makes the book’s message clear from the first moment the reader sees the book.
- Research and create a list of comparable titles to the book you are working on. Notice the frames those books use.
- Read Al Ries’ and Jack Trout’s work on building a clear frame—22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (the short version) or Positioning (the long version).
- Ask your four best clients “How does my work help you?” and pay very close attention to the words they use to describe the problem you are helping solve.