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I’m currently working with a woman who is writing for social change and who has built a strong activist community. She has a big vision–a horizon far beyond what her community can currently envision.
She wants to encourage them to the next level of activism in her book—and to expand how most of them currently view the social change issues she writes about.
How do you do that? How to get people from point A to point C, when most of them are not making the A to C connection? Can you make your reader grow beyond their current vision?
You want to have an impact. First you have to get the book into their hands. And then you need to get them to read it.
If you make the book about C and your social change community wants B, you lose the opportunity to influence the majority of your community through your book. Your potential readers probably won’t buy the book if it’s not promising what they want. They may not even realize this book is for them! The very book they’ve been aching for.
Instead, meet your readers where they are.
You meet them at point A! You promise what they are looking for when they are standing at the edge of point A and looking to reach point B. And then you walk them from point A to point B, the place where they want to go! Perhaps seeding a little bit for point C along the way. Deliver what they want.
In the final chapters, you stand with your social change readers at point B and point a finger towards point C. “Look! Over there!”
Hold their hands and offer to take them to point C.
Some of them won’t want to go to C. They bought the book for B. That’s okay. Not everybody has to follow you to the end.
Here’s the beautiful thing. At point B, many a reader may not be quite the same person who picked up the book at point A. He or she will have changed, transformed by your book! Many of your readers will have shifted enough that now they’re ready to be led to point C. The final few chapters can take them to C.
In a nutshell, when you know your core readers are really looking for B, make the promise about B. Make the title and subtitle about B. Focus on getting from A to B, and then, from a new perspective, you can point to the new horizon and take them there, when your readers are ready.
What questions or challenges do you have when it comes to writing about social change? Or what insights can you share?