Your book doesn’t end at the end of your last chapter of content. You’ve got all the pieces, your theme, your big idea, all of your supporting chapters. You’ve laid them all out in logical sequence and you’ve come to the end – your book is complete … almost. Now that you’ve produced all of the building blocks that make up your book and shared them with the reader, it’s time to conclude your message, by wrapping it up in a simple, actionable, summary. Something that will leave your readers satisfied with the investment they’ve made in buying and reading your book and something for the reader to take away. This ‘take-away’ can be an action step you recommend for the reader, an idea that makes the reader think differently about a particular topic, or a sense of memory, of connection, between your book and the reader. You want the reader’s life to be richer, warmer or easier because of the message your book has shared.
In your introduction, you gave your reader a sense of what your book is about and why reading it would be worth the reader’s while. You laid out a path for the reader to follow. In the conclusion you’re not just restating the main idea of your book, you’re synthesizing the introduction with all the stepping stones (your chapters) in the path you’ve led your reader down. The reader knows more and thinks differently now that she has read your book and understood your message. The conclusion is your opportunity to challenge your reader with taking that knowledge or those ideas out into her world after she has put your book down.
Using ‘How to Write a Book in 30 Days’ as our example, we began with the central theme of turning your idea into a book – a tangible object that brings your ideas into the public eye in one professional, readable, understandable enjoyable package – your book! We walked through each step you must take to turn your idea into a book – developing a habit or writing, organizing your thoughts, creating an outline, understanding your audience, doing your research, crafting your writing skills and building your audience. So what might make the perfect conclusion for ‘How to Write a Book in 30 Days’?
In the sample conclusion below I:
- Restate the main theme of the book – why I wrote it and why you’re reading it.
- Pointed out the synthesis – the change the reader has undergone from potential writer with an idea to published author with a book.
- Challenged the reader with the next step – the call to action now that this book is finished.
- Given the reader a free bonus to help as she embarks on the new path of sharing her book with the world.
“You’re a different person now than when you begun your writing project using this book as your guide. You’ve developed the habit of writing on a regular schedule. You’ve learned to gather all of the pieces, the sub-ideas, that support the theme of your book and organize them into a logical, sequential path your reader can easily (and enjoyably!) follow. You’ve learned the mechanics of building a book, from creating an outline to creating chapters, from research to write-craft. You may or may not have been a writer when you began this project, now you’re an author. Congratulations! The book you created isn’t just an idea in your head. It’s a tangible object, something your reader can both hold in her hand and in her mind. Now comes an entirely different and equally important part of an author’s life – if you followed the steps we’ve covered in this book, you’ve already begun the first steps of sharing your book with your potential audience. Your job as a published author is to help facilitate your potential audience discovering your book. If they don’t know about your book they can’t buy it and their lives won’t be changed by your story. It’s time to share your story with the world; it may seem like a daunting task, but it’s not. Just like writing your book, marketing your book (sharing it with your potential audience) can be broken down into simple, doable steps. A great place to begin is by reading my e-book (it’s free to you since you’ve stuck with me to the end of this project) ‘How to Market Your Book in 30 Days’.
Again, congratulations! Celebrate your accomplishment today! Tomorrow, it’s back to work, sharing your book with the world.”
As you plan the conclusion of your book, understand these points, ask yourself how you want your reader to feel and what you might want to challenge your reader to do or think as a result of reading your book. Picture your reader turning the last page of your book, a hint of a smile on her lips, or maybe a tear in her eye, or maybe the spark of a fire in her spirit. That’s the parting gift you leave your reader with – the feeling that this journey with you has been worthwhile.