The four pillars of your book: 1. Your Expertise

Lincoln memorial columns

A book that truly sets you apart and works for your business needs to rest on four foundational pillars: your expertise, your purpose in writing it, your audience, and your passion. Get those wrong and at some point in the process, your book will topple over. Get them right, and you’ll be building on a solid foundation.

The first pillar is the scope of your expertise. It sounds obvious – that’s what your book’s about, right? You’re an expert in your thing, that’s what you’re writing about, sorted! Right? Wrong. Before you whack that pillar in place and stroll off, dusting your hands and whistling happily, you need to think about two things. First, all the expertise you have, including the stuff you’ve forgotten you ever didn’t know, and second, which part of your expertise you’re going to write about.

When you’ve been working in a field for years, you forget how much you know. You forget you ever had to learn what ROI meant, or what info to put in a business plan, or how to do a productive staff review, or what 360-degree feedback is. If you leap straight in at the level of your current expertise, your readers will be floundering. All that stuff you know? They don’t know that yet. All that stuff you’ve forgotten you ever had to learn? You need to teach them that. You need to tunnel back in time through your own expertise to capture just how much you know. It’s a lot.

Once you realise how much you have, the next question arises. Which part of your expertise are you going to write about? I can tell you now: all the expertise you’ve garnered working in your field full-time for the last ten or twenty years will not fit in one book. Narrow it down. Imagine that you’re going to write between 3 and 7 books. So what might this one be about?

The final decision on how you narrow it down will also depend on the other three pillars - your audience, your purpose in writing it, and your passion. If you want help getting your book’s pillars in place, the Find Your Book pack will do just that. It’s packed with quick, focused exercises to make sure your book has its four pillars in place, right from the start. To get a free copy, email me at with a few details about your area of expertise. And for more on starting your book, read these posts.

4 thoughts on “The four pillars of your book: 1. Your Expertise

  1. Hi Megan
    Do you think a book about one of the most scariest trip I made in 1959 on an oil tanker that was already doomed before starting a 3 month voyage from Singapore to New York and taken into account all your advises on the structure of the story would be interesting enough to expand my 12 page description of the voyage into a full fledged documentary?
    Kind regards
    Jakob Vlietstra

  2. Pingback: The four pillars of your book: 2. Your purpose | Thought Leader Books: The Blog

  3. Pingback: The four pillars of your book: 3. Your readers | Thought Leader Books: The Blog

  4. Pingback: The four pillars of your book: 4. Your passion | Thought Leader Books: The Blog

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