When it comes to writing, there is a DNA. To give you an example of what we mean, let’s learn the DNA to writing an Introduction.
The Introduction is where you will initially captivate your audience by grabbing their attention. It is what you want your reader to learn and know, how the content is going to help them, and what they are about to indulge in learning. Therefore, the use of the word “I” must be kept to a minimum and the use of the word “You” should be used often. For every time you say the word “I” be sure to use the word “You” five times, because this is for you the reader not you the author. It is at this stage the reader wants to know “What’s in it for me?” Therefore, tell them and captivate them!
There should be 8 paragraphs to your Introduction.
- Shocking Statement
- Agreeable Questions
- Why Me?
Paragraph 1: Shocking Statement
Begin your first paragraph with a shocking statement. Your shocking statement paragraph may include a series of statistics or perhaps a profound quote(s).
Paragraph 2: Agreeable Questions
For your second paragraph you will write a series of three to five questions to get your reader to self-reflect. It is important that these questions are agreeable questions. Agreeable questions mean that the audience will say “yes” to all of them. Having your reader gain agreement with you from the very beginning, will more than likely continue this pattern throughout the rest of your book. Also, by getting them to say “yes” to your questions, they will then say “yes” to reading your book further. If your reader disagrees with your Introduction, they will assume they will disagree with your book and more than likely will not read on—or, buy it.
How to Write an Agreeable Question
Chunking is an important lesson to learn as an author (and a public speaker). Chunking is nothing more than dividing your material. You can chunk up or chunk down. When you chunk up you find common ground, when you chunk down you find uncommon ground. Finding common ground gets your reader (or listener) more likely to agree with you. See examples below.
Do you agree that red is the best color for a car?
Do you agree that a red Lamborghini is better than a red Honda Civic?
If you were to ask the above questions to an audience of one thousand people, which question do you think most people would agree to? Obviously, they would choose the red Lamborghini; therefore, you would use that form of question.
Have you ever desired to go to the gym and work out six days a week while drinking protein shakes every day for lunch to get back in shape?
Have you ever desired to be in better shape and healthier?
Again, if you were to ask the above questions to an audience of one thousand people, which question do you think most people would agree to?
As you write your agreeable questions, envision yourself asking these questions to an audience with a goal to get everyone to raise their hand in agreement. Know that if your reader says “no” to your questions than your book is not a right fit for them, and they will not read it.
If you are writing fiction, use this insight to twist it to fit your story, but make your questions leave your reader wanting to know the answer. Spike their curiosity to the point they must read on to see what happens in the story!
Paragraph 3: Empathy
Paragraph three is where you will show empathy towards your reader. You want them to know that you too have been there and experienced the same frustrations. You want them to know that you understand how they feel. Show them that you too have walked a mile or two in their shoes. These sentences can begin with introductions, such as: I feel your pain; I know how you must feel; I too have been.
These introductions are then followed by you painting a picture of their pain, misery, misfortunes, struggles, and tribulations that are keeping them from achieving what it is they desire to achieve–in which you are about to teach them the “how to” for.
If you are not writing a self-help or business book, you can still follow these basic principles to writing your book. Are you writing a mystery novel? Then twist this paragraph to give a sneak peek into the characters struggles. Are you writing an autobiography, biography, or documentary? If so, do the same here. Just remember, you always want your reader to relate to your book, your story line, and your characters. Even more, you want to leave them with unanswered questions about what will happen next…after you get them to begin falling in love with the characters.
Paragraph 4: Learn
The 4th paragraph of your Introduction can be a minimum of one paragraph and a maximum of two paragraphs. This paragraph(s) is where you will inform your reader of what they are about to learn by reading your book. However, don’t just tell them what they are going to learn, also enlighten them to why it is important for them to learn it.
Because your Introduction will be written after you complete the writing of your chapters, you will then be able to go through your content and find the best five to seven lessons of your book and plug them into this paragraph(s).
It is with this paragraph(s) that you are simply enticing them— making them hungry for more. It is like waving a plate of steak and potatoes under the nose of a man who has not eaten for five days. Just remember, your number one goal is to peak their curiosity by leaving them with unanswered questions that they desire to get answered.
(As you wrap up this paragraph(s) work your subtitle or tagline into the end of it.)
Paragraph 5: Why Me?
Here is where you will have the opportunity to do what many love doing, and do best—talk about yourself! Inform your reader the answer to the question, “Why Me?” Why are you the one to teach this? What are your credentials? What is your life experience? How has this content you now teach changed your own life? As you do this, be sure to speak with humility. Just remember to watch your ego!
Paragraph 6: Comprehensive
Paragraph 6 is your Comprehensive paragraph. This is where you show your reader that you comprehend their struggle of change. Explain that you know how hard it is to break a bad habit, but why breaking this bad habit will set them free and give them a life they were intended to have. Take them from a defeated mentality to a triumphant mentality.
For example: “This is your life now.” to “This is what your life could be.” Pull out every ounce of belief they have in themselves. Take their self-belief level from a one to a ten. Leave them feeling as though they can instead of they can’t. Encourage them and cheer them on!
Paragraph 7: Bleed
It is with this paragraph, you will do what I call “bleed onto the pages.” As a writer it is not your job to write, but it is your responsibility to bleed onto the pages. Pour out your heart and soul into this paragraph. Why do you do what you do? Why do you desire to help your reader? What should your reader expect along their journey? Why does their pain become your pain? Why can you not bear to see them struggle?
Paragraph 8: Ready?
Paragraph 8 is where you simply ask your reader if they are ready to begin their new journey. You ask them this with a series of three to five questions. Questions such as, but not limited to: Are you ready to step outside your box? Are you ready to get uncomfortable to gain comfort? Are you ready to change your lifestyle? Are you ready to reach your dreams? Are you ready to reach your goals? Are you ready to write your book?
At the end of this paragraph you will close out your Introduction with your signature. Many professionals will scan their signature into the computer and then plug it into their book. To scan it in you must own a scanner. If you do not own a scanner you may be left to find a font that looks similar to your hand writing and put your name in that font. If your computer is limited on fonts to choose from, you can go to www.1001FreeFonts.com to search fonts and download the one you like best. Once it downloads, open the downloaded folder and click install. Once you install it, it will appear in all your programs on your computer that have font choices.