How To Write a Book in 30 Days


7. Determine the Benefit

What value does this book offer the reader?

Now that I’ve identified my readers (Molly and Max and others just like them), I’ve got to ask, ‘What value is my book going to be to Molly and Max? 

“Don’t worry about trying to impress people. Just focus on how you can add value to their lives.”

Hal Elrod

The Miracle Morning

How will the book I’m writing speak to them, help them solve the specific problems they’re dealing with in trying to write their own books?

Module 7: Determine the Benefit

by Steve Spillman | How to Write a Book in 30 Days

Each person is unique.

Molly and Max are each unique as individuals, but most of the problems and hurdles they will face as new writers will be very similar. So, when trying to determine the value I’ll be offering to Molly and Max in this book, I’ve got to ask, “What similar problems are Molly and Max facing as they sit down to write a book for the first time?”

What Lessons Did I Learn?

I remember the problems and hurdles I had to overcome as a new author. First of all, I actually had to start writing, not just think about writing. And to do that, I had to set aside a time in my schedule that was committed to writing. Once I did that, I had to get into the habit of writing. At first, I didn’t give myself any rules about my writing. I could write about whatever I wanted to; I wouldn’t judge my writing or worry about anyone else reading it. The objective, at first, was to simply write—no other rules. I had to develop a comfort with sitting down to write and a habit of doing it per the schedule I had set aside. At first, many times, sitting down at the keyboard, my mind would be blank. I had no idea what to write. But I knew, through practice, that If I just began— let my fingers run on the keyboard with the very first thought that came to mind, the writing would take on its own momentum. Once the ball began rolling, it stayed rolling and picked up momentum.

After I developed the habit of writing and discovered that I could write, even when the thoughts weren’t there before my fingers hit the keyboard, I had to begin the discipline of forming a book from my thoughts and writing. I had to write for a specific purpose. In order to write for a purpose, I had to figure out what that purpose was. I had to gather my thoughts, get them outside of me, and then objectively look at them and sort them for relevance.

A Book of Mine

In my second book, Breaking the Treasure Code: The Hunt for Israel’s Oil, I wanted to tell the story of a biblical prophecy about a magnificent oil discovery in Israel in the last days. I also wanted to tell the story of the explorers who had and were still looking for the oil the prophecy spoke of. Before attempting to put the book together, I had interviewed several people involved in this exploration, visited one of the companies involved, and even traveled to Israel to witness the ‘spudding’ (commencement of drilling operations) of one of the wells.

I was ready to begin writing, but I had to get a handle on the major ideas and organization of the book.

Breaking the Treasure Code

In order to get them out of my head and in front of me so I could look at the ideas objectively, test them for relevance, and organize them into a cohesive storyline that would introduce the story to my reader, bring them through the search, and conclude with a peek into the future, I wrote each major idea (what would later become the chapters of the book) on a 3 x 5 note card. I tried to just write the ideas down as bullet points on a Word document, but that method didn’t allow me to sort, resort, and arrange like puzzle pieces as easily as the note cards – maybe my old analog wiring just found playing with the notecards easier.

Looking back on that experience in organizing the thoughts and ideas for that book, I knew that Molly and Max, if they really wanted to write their books, would need to develop the habit of writing regularly; they would need to schedule a time to write and stick to it. Eventually, they would need to organize their ideas and sort them for relevance and flow in light of the book they wanted to create. I knew that sharing my experience as a new author and how I developed the practices that put me over those initial hurdles might be valuable to Molly and Max, helping them to move down the road toward seeing their book become a reality

learning The Sequence of Steps

As I continued to think of the next steps Molly and Max would be going through as they progressed in writing their books and remembering my own experiences and lessons learned as I went through those same steps and from subsequent years of being a publisher and witnessing my authors going through their versions of those same steps, I began to formalize a sequence of steps that could apply almost universally to anyone attempting to write a book for the first time (or second, or third). Those steps became the chapters in How to Write a Book in 30 Days and the modules in this course. In gathering those steps – the same ones successful authors have learned to employ as a habit, and in arranging those steps in a logical progression and explaining the ins and outs of each step, I created a valuable resource for Molly and Max and for all the other Molly’s and Maxes that believed they had a book in them waiting to get out.

Why should the reader choose your book?

I began journaling, writing as a hobby, and dreaming of becoming a professional writer more than forty years ago. My first college major was journalism (which lasted just one semester). My first undergraduate degree was in Humanities with a focus on literature. I’ve read a lot of books on writing books. I’ve also read a lot of books on publishing, marketing, and selling books. I used to have five feet of bookshelf dedicated to these books, and that’s grown to more than ten feet, and that doesn’t count the e-books on my iPad. Before I began writing How to Write a Book in 30 Days, I had to ask myself another question: “What is going to make my book, my contribution to the reader, unique? How is my book not only going to provide value to the reader but unique value to the reader?” What do I have to say that hasn’t been said a million times already?” Well, the old proverb is true: there isn’t anything new under the sun. But it’s also true that each of us is unique, and each of us has a unique contribution to give to the world.

So, I’ll leave you with this question:  “What is your unique contribution to this subject?” What can you give the reader that hasn’t been covered a million times already?”


  1. What is the value your reader is seeking? What is the answer or solution your reader is trying to find? How does your book answer their question or solve their problem?
  2. List five ways your book provides value. What message does your book provide that answers your reader’s question or solves her problem?
  3. Review your outline and chapters. Are your chapters in the optimum sequence to lead your reader easily toward their answer or solution?
  4. What is your unique contribution or insight to the subject you’re offering the reader?

Next: Module 8: Your Book’s Theme

Click here to visit module 8 “Your Book’s Theme”