How To Books/Canadian Copywriter
Writing "How To" Books is another type of writing altogether! Similar to writing cookbooks, you must be very exact in your instructions. Your reader will be following your steps exactly, therefore, you should leave nothing to chance. For example, if you wrote an article entitled "How To Build A Boat In Your Basement" and you forgot to mention the fact that your reader must eventually get a fully-built boat out of their basement, then you (and the reader) would be in a pickle. Okay. The example is extreme, but makes our point. Another fundamental mistake is writing the instructions out of order. Step two must always come after step one. In addition to getting first things first, a good how-to writer must:
Write with authority. You're the person who knows what he is doing, therefore you should write in the imperative voice. Be definite. Don't tell the reader that there are several ways to build a birdhouse. The only way to build a birdhouse is your way.
Summarize Your Information. As you write, constantly sum up your progress. It'll keep your reader informed about where they are in the process. Summarize when the reader must wait before continuing. For example, if they're waiting for glue or paint to dry, give them an understanding of where they have been in the process and what will happen next.
Provide a practical list of tools and materials. Be specific. If you tell people to use nails, specify the size of nails. If someone is building a bird house, they may use the wrong size nails unless you tell them otherwise. If they use over-size nails, pity the poor bird who develops a hunch back trying to work its way around the metal protruding through its "living room'. Many "How-To" writers wait until their article is finished before they put together a list. That way, they make sure every tool is included.
Give the readers a sense of what the project entails before they continue. Perhaps you could show pictures of the materials needed, the project at the mid point and the final, completed product. Detail the pictures with short, easy to understand captions.