What’s Your Story? And Why is Story Important in a Business Book?

Risk: A Road Worth Traveling – collaboration with Craig Huntington and Mark Graham Communications

This remarkably forthcoming book was written by Craig Huntington and Mark Graham Communications.

Anyone who has ever read a memorable novel can agree that story is vital to audience engagement. A novelist works to fabricate a tale that draws in readers right from the start. We want to know what is happening, who it’s happening to, and how it’s all going to turn out. In addition to having a compelling plot, a well-written novel connects with readers on an emotional level. We’re right there with the characters—rooting for the hero, booing the villain, reading one more chapter late into the night because we have to know what comes next. Finally, we turn the last page with smiles on our faces; our time with this novel was well spent.

But what about a business book? We read nonfiction strictly for information, correct? The only reason a reader would select a business book—and read it cover to cover—is because it contains information that the reader is interested in. Right?

Yes and no. It’s true that understanding the audience for your business book is vital. Not every business book is appropriate for every reader. For example, if your book is geared toward entrepreneurs, it might not be something that a manager at a Fortune 500 company who has no interest in starting a business would pick up. That being said, readers might initially discover your business book because they’re interested in your topic—but they will keep reading it because they’re engaged with how your material is presented.

Story, then, becomes not the topic of your business book, but rather a method for engaging readers. Using story brings your topic down to earth and makes it relatable for the reader.

As an example, a recent Mark Graham Communications project was for a business person writing a how-to guide for entrepreneurs. The author had started many companies, and in the beginning, he had little idea what he was doing. Inevitably, his first business failed. Over time, he learned the planning and execution techniques necessary to successfully launch a business. The book was born because he wanted to share these techniques with would-be entrepreneurs in a step-by-step process.

Early in the book, story is used: a brief recapping of the author’s first, unsuccessful business. Later stories (set as sidebars amid the book’s specific process steps) focus on his successful business launches, how he balances the heavy hours of being a business owner with the other areas of his life, the importance of surrounding yourself with great talent, and other aspects of entrepreneurship. These stories make the author relatable to the reader. Rather than pages and pages of dry facts, the book contains both useful information and relatable stories. Because this author shares his stories (in other words, his humanity), readers trust him. His stories, as much as his expertise, become memorable.

When you work with a Mark Graham Communications ghostwriter to write your business book, you’ll find that when we interview you, we will want to hear your stories. Helping you discover the stories that will connect with your particular audience (and that you are comfortable telling) is what a talented ghostwriter will do. To the extent that you are comfortable with it, the ghostwriter will use your stories as a framework to make your business book’s information relatable and engaging for your audience.

Interested? Please get in touch. We’d love to talk about your book idea—and hear your stories!