Asking the Right Question: The Path to Success

by Nancy Humphreys on October 6, 2010

Nigel Henry of the web site,, believes that your “dominant question” determines your success in business. The four kinds of questions are WHO, WHAT, HOW, and WHY.

Nigel observed successful people for years. He found that people who ask questions like, “Who do I write for?,” Who am I providing services to?”, and “Who can I call for help with this problem” are on the flourishing level.

Those on the “How can I do it?” level are usually just surviving. They experience a lot of worry about their own ability, time, money, and other resources.

Those on the “What will I do?” level are striving towards their mission and vision and goals, Yet they could go even higher if they just changed their dominant question for their work to WHO.

Although Nigel does not include it in the pyramid diagram on his site, he originally said he felt that people who ask “WHY” are likely to be in a dying position. In my case, I was figuratively dying for years working as an employee and wondering why I didn’t like it, before asking myself “How can I become self-employed?”

If you’re helping authors to create, produce, or market their book, you may want to check out Nigel’s site for inspiration about your own business services. I can tell you my entire business model began changing a few years ago when I moved from asking “What will I do for my clients?” to asking “Who are my ideal clients?”

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Marketing Your Book to Libraries Marketing Your Books to Libraries: An Insider's Guide for Authors by former librarian Nancy K. Humphreys includes: 
  • How to tell what kind of library to target
  • Types of librarians and books they order
  • Strategies to get past the "gatekeepers" who influence librarians
  • Right ways to approach librarians most likely to order your book

Learn more »

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