FAQs on Bookbait

Generally speaking, Bookbait shouldn’t be a summary of your book. It can be the “general idea” of your book, but only if that general idea is really interesting on its own, and prompts follow-up questions.

For most people, it will be one “big idea” that will eventually end up in their book … or a story.

There’s no such thing as giving "too much" of your book away in your Bookbait, so don't worry about that. It’s more an internal question of … do you have a lot more to say about the topic? You of course should, if you want to make sure the book is interesting and valuable. If so, don’t worry about it :) 

It’s also helpful to end with a cliffhanger, or even a simple … “what else would you want to know about [xyz topic]?” If people ask follow-up questions, that’s a great sign.

People often ask, “Is there a metric I can use to know if my Bookbait is good?” To this I would say it’s mostly a feeling … but numbers can help. One or two thoughtful comments is very useful feedback, but definitely not enough to ensure that you’re ideas are going to resonate with a wider audience.

Here’s what I’d think about:

  1. Were there multiple (3+) comments that weren’t just basic encouragement … but rather significant engagement? Like, someone who asks a follow-up question, expresses specific excitement, etc.
  2.  Compared to other posts in your “fishing hole” … is your post getting above-average engagement?
Comments are more important than likes, but both have some value.

Those are the most important things to think about. Basically, if your piece does better-than-average compared to those around you — and of course add in your trusted intuition, too!

This advice also applies if you’re wondering if your idea is worth pursuing. If you are excited about your idea, it’s worth pursuing for the time being because Week 3 is specifically designed to test how “good” your idea is.

So if you’re excited, dive in to Week 3 and test your idea with Bookbait!

Then if it doesn’t do as well as you’d hoped, you can tweak the idea (as taught in Week 3).

Scared to ask for feedback on your Bookbait? Most importantly, know that this is COMPLETELY normal.

Virtually everyone has these fears. I always say that if you don’t have these fears, you’re probably a bit crazy. It’s a great sign that you truly care about helping people — which is what leads to a good book (eventually, after slowly working through this).

I don’t recommend asking for feedback from people you know at first, if you’re scared to do so. Starting with strangers (in a "fishing hole," as taught in Week 3) is much less scary.

If that’s still a struggle (which is also totally normal), I recommend:

  1. Starting with a less scary version of your Bookbait (toning it down a few notches, writing something half the length, etc.). Then, seeing how people respond — you’ll hopefully feel better to post the “full version.”
  2. Using a pseudonymous place like a subreddit or forum (you can always start with a pseudonym to safely test your idea, then move to your real name later if you so choose).
Make sure to interact in your chosen Fishing Holes — don’t just post and run! I typically recommend a 3:1 ratio of interacting (giving) to posting (asking). Treat the Fishing Holes as you would an in-person community. Be human, be generous, and give before you ask.

Some people have the specific fear of feeling like they don’t know what they’re talking about or aren’t qualified enough to share their Bookbait. If you watch the “Casting Your Bookbait” lesson closely, you’ll see that I had this issue myself!

Generally speaking, I think going with the “vulnerable story” Bookbait archetype works best in these situations (which is why I did it). Or, at least starting with a vulnerable admission (perhaps even telling people why you don’t feel qualified to write the piece) — and then going into one of the other archetypes. 

When in doubt: Take the Bookbait example you enjoyed the most — and write “your version” of it.

For example:

 a) If you liked “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck” but were writing about losing weight … you could write “The Subtle Art of Eating Carbs And Losing Pounds.”

Whatever applies for your favorite example and topic.

If you’re still having trouble coming up with 3+ potential stories or ideas, then you’ll likely want to go back to your book compass and either review it or tweak it if you’re not clear enough.

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