Positioning is the place your book occupies in the mind of your reader and how that reader perceives your book as fulfilling his or her needs.
Nobody is interested in you or anything you have to say, do, or sell unless it's an answer to a question they're already asking.
First of all, why is it called "positioning." The short answer is that for most of the history of publishing, the customer for a book was not the person buying and reading the book. The customer was the book store. Before the internet, before Amazon, people had to go to actual bookstores to buy books. So, publishing companies had to get very good at describing the category of the book and the position on the book shelf where the book would sit. If the book didn't fit in one of the standard topics like self-help, sales, cooking, etc., then it was very difficult sell for the publishing company to convince the book store to order the book.
While traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores do not wield the power they once did, positioning is still very important. But it's not positioning on a book shelf but rather positioning in a reader's mind.
How to position your book:
1. Objectives - what do I want to accomplish with the book?
2. Audience - Who is the audience for my goal?
3. Idea - What is the book about and why will the audience care?
You must finish positioning before moving on to the outline.
Positioning is not a linear process. It is iterative and will change as the book comes into focus.
How much of your story should be in your book?
Harsh reality: No one cares about your story. People care about how your book is going to help them.
Book positioning should always be about the reader, but people learn through stories. How you teach your content should be through stories. The more honest and engaging you are with your story, the better your book will be for the reader.
In the next part, I will focus on the specific objectives for my book.