The One-Pager: Quick Brainstorming to Begin Writing Your Book

You’ve got a brilliant book idea. You’re ready to start writing, but sitting down and banging out an outline or first chapter is intimidating—it’s hard to know where to start. A good place to begin is what we call the “one-pager.” A one-pager is a short piece of writing that helps you organize your content and gives you a road map for the next steps in the editorial process. It’s valuable to you and it’s valuable to the person receiving it, whether that be an editor, writing coach, literary agent, or acquisitions professional from a publishing company.


The meat of the one-pager
There are some key topics you should address in your one-pager. Thinking of a title, subtitle, and specific genre are all helpful, but not critical at this stage. Sometimes, a draft manuscript will inform the perfect title and subtitle, and in other cases, a title and subtitle can be a road map for writing. Here’s what’s critical at this stage:

Synopsis. What is your big idea? What value will the reader get from reading? Almost as importantly, what is the book not intended to be? The synopsis is a summary of what you want your book to say and its key takeaways. Although it will likely change as you write, a drafted synopsis now provides a foundation for a first draft later.

Target audience. Sometimes an author will reach out and say, “Everyone will love my book!” That’s a red flag. When I hear that, I think, “The author hasn’t determined a target market.” And that will undermine a project from the beginning. Imagining the value your book will bring to a certain group of people makes it more targeted. It’s easier and more effective to market to, say, proponents of youth football as Merril Hoge did in Brainwashed: The Bad Science Behind CTE and the Plot to Destroy Football, millennials as George Kroustalis did in Secrets to Becoming a Financial Badass, or business leaders looking for innovative solutions as Stephen Shapiro did in Invisible Solutions: 25 Lenses that Reframe and Help Solve Difficult Business Problems.

Call to action. What should your reader do after they have read your book? Your book should have at least one major takeaway that prescribes change on an individual, societal, or industry level. This can be as simple as arguing a more successful employee wakes up at 5 a.m. every morning or as complex as proposing large-scale economic or social change.

Goals. What’s your goal in writing this book? Think ambitiously, but realistically. Becoming a New York Times bestseller is probably not feasible, and that should rarely be your “why.” What we hear more often are things like, “I have a slightly different take on a political issue of the day,” “This book will solidify my position as a thought leader or recognized expert in the field of generational difference consulting,” or “This book will lead to more speaking opportunities and wealth advising business.” Those are all great reasons for publishing a book. Your goals should align with your book’s message and be achievable.


What comes next after the one-pager?
Having a completed one-pager is a launch point for the following possible options:

-Table of Contents. A table of contents is a “how” to the one-pager’s “what”—if a one-pager provides an overview of what you are saying, the table of contents is a plan for how to make your point.

Outline. A document more detailed and expanded than a table of contents, the outline builds off and expands on the one-pager’s main ideas.

First chapter. The one-pager covers the major topics in your book so you know where to begin writing and what will capture readers’ attention.

-Full-blown book proposal. A book proposal is the document used to pitch your book to literary agents and publishing houses. It usually includes an analysis of the following: the book’s content, target audience, author bio, marketing platform, comparative title analysis, table of contents, and a sample chapter or two. A one-pager can aid your book proposal by providing a first-draft synopsis and focusing your ideas on each of these topics.


The end product
Your one-pager doesn’t have to be a formal document that addresses all the topics above line by line. It can take whatever format works for your brainstorming process. These guiding ideas can prompt your thinking on central ideas and make the blank page a lot less intimidating by giving you a place to start. Once you have the main ideas down on paper, your book has a platform from which it can launch.






As the CEO at
Amplify Publishing and Mascot Books, Naren Aryal is a recognized publishing industry expert. Naren advises authors, thought leaders, and various organizations on the opportunities and challenges that exist in the evolving publishing world. He’s guided the company’s growth from a single children’s book in 2003 to becoming one of the fastest growing and most respected hybrid publishing companies in the world. Today, Mascot Books publishes hundreds of books a year across all genres, and Amplify Publishing is a leading nonfiction imprint specializing in “big ideas” from some of the most reputable names in business and politics. 


Naren frequently speaks at publishing and business events about the importance of developing compelling content and a robust author platform. He is also the author of
How to Sell a Crapload of Books: 10 Secrets of a Killer Author Marketing Platform.

Prior to entering the world of books, Naren worked as a lawyer, advising technology companies in the Washington, D.C. area. He holds a B.S. in Finance from Virginia Tech and Juris Doctor from University of Denver.

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The Big Ideas Coming Your Way in 2020

Thought leaders. Influencers. Disrupters.

How we label them doesn’t matter. It’s the ideas that matter. And our Amplify authors have the kind of big ideas that will change minds, shift perspectives, and—at the very least—make us stop and think this year. (Something we can all agree we need more of.)


Contract to Unite America bookContract to Unite America: Ten Reforms to Reclaim Our Republic
Pre-order now on Amazon, available February 18.
As an independent candidate for U.S. Senate in 2018, Neal Simon witnessed the destructive nature of modern American politics. He experienced firsthand the perverse incentives that push candidates and lawmakers to ideological extremes. He watched as party leaders resisted pragmatic solutions to our nation’s problems. He saw politicians prioritize loyalty to their party bases over progress for the American people.

In this comprehensive analysis of United States politics, Simon shows how degradations in party primaries, campaign finances, and election rules have caused American self-government to collapse into gridlock and divisiveness. However, the American promise is so much greater. As the first U.S. President, George Washington, noted in his famed address, “The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government.”

Capitalizing on personal insight derived from Simon’s political campaign along with extensive research, Contract to Unite America provides specific, practical solutions for an improved government and a better tomorrow.


Invisible Solutions bookInvisible Solutions: 25 Lenses that Reframe and Help Solve Difficult Business Problems
Pre-order now on Amazon, available March 3.
Unprecedented access to infinite solutions has led us to realize that having all of the answers is not the answer. From innovation teams to creativity experts to crowdsourcing, we’ve turned from one source to another, spending endless cycles pursuing piecemeal solutions to each challenge we face.

What if your organization had an effective and systematic approach to deal with any problem? To find better solutions, you need to first ask better questions. The questions you ask determine which solutions you’ll see and which will remain hidden.

Stephen M. Shapiro’s compact yet powerful book contains the formulas to reframe any problem multiple ways, using 25 lenses to help you gain different perspectives. With visual examples and guidance, it contains everything you need to master any challenge and will help you discover why we are hardwired to ask ineffective questions; learn to work through those barriers; understand the power and importance of well-defined questions; reframe any problem multiple ways to find the optimal solution; and move from idea-based innovation to question-based innovation that drives higher ROI.

Apply just one of the lenses and you will quickly discover better solutions. Apply all of them and you will be able to solve any problem—in business and in life.


The Conscious Marketer bookThe Conscious Marketer: Inspiring a Deeper and More Conscious Brand Experience
Available in April
The parameters of what constitutes successful marketing are shifting. In today’s increasingly competitive, global marketplace it is essential for companies and brands to not only understand what consumers are buying, but why they are making those purchases. That is where The Conscious Marketer comes in.

It’s one thing to be conscious, but it’s something else entirely to do something impactful with that consciousness. In this expansive guide, Jim Joseph breaks down the ways the marketing industry is changing to meet the needs of a more conscious, engaged consumer, and how those within the marketing industry can adapt to meet those expectations.

The Conscious Marketer provides readers with the tools to navigate the ever-changing landscape of effective marketing and branding, explaining how to market empathetically, actively, and with intent.


Our Future bookOur Future: The Basic Income Plan for Peace, Justice, Liberty, and Personal Dignity
Available in April
Politicians promise to bring us together, seek the center, and reach common ground, yet our government is broken and paralyzed by partisan conflicts. Americans have been in need of a plan to unite the country and renew the vision and values of our founders, and it’s finally here in Our Future.

In this conversational and thought provoking book, basic income expert Steven Shafarman presents a comprehensive history of related ideas—as well as offers a solutions-based compelling vision—with basic income as the key. It’s a concept millions of us currently support, with liberal Democrats endorsing it as a solid floor to replace the tattered social safety net, and conservative Republicans as a way to cut and simplify government. The core of Shafarman’s plan takes the best of both, updating proposals form moderate politicians and leading economists.

Our Future holds the blueprint to successful years ahead, to acting together as We the People and making history.


Pivot & Go bookPivot & Go: The 29 Day Mindset Blueprint to Redefine and Achieve YOUR Success

Releasing in June
Most of us run on an endless string of vague goals, should-haves, and “tomorrows”, with true, empowering change always just out of reach. Most of us feel stuck in a pattern or are unknowingly trapped in our day-to-day routine, without the proper tools to break the mold and live our best lives every single day. David Nurse, a renowned optimization and life coach of more than 100 NBA players and CEOs, knows it doesn’t have to be that way, and a powerful shift in perspective is the answer.

Pivot & Go is a compelling, hands-on blueprint to changing course and leading the life you want to live—today. In this energizing, adventurous, and actionable guide, David outlines a clear 29-day plan; not to living the life, but to living your absolute best life. His key is to make mindful mindset pivots, ones that allow you to shift your perspective by incremental, but profoundly powerful, degrees. Focusing on success, failure, passion, joy, and confidence, Pivot & Go is here to help you find your genuine rhythm—one that will carry you through each chapter of life with the energy and ability to make the most of every day.

Punctuated with stories from his own journey to leading a full and rewarding lifestyle, as well as featuring never-before-told stories of triumph from some of the top NBA athletes in the world, David has delivered a book like none other. Not only will it give you the power to change your life, it will give you the strength to do so. Get ready to banish negative thoughts, live to the max, and become energized and ready to tackle each and every day.

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