You’ve said goodbye to the 9 to 5, started your own business and are pursuing your creative talents. If you’re serious about entrepreneurship then you’ve probably also developed assets for your business. These might be marketing materials such as business cards, brochures and flyers. They might be content pieces such as blogs, social media posts and articles. Or they could be processes and systems, email lists or physical products such as workbooks and tip sheets.
All of these things are important to help you grow your brand and attract new clients. But what if you could combine all of the above into one asset that would work harder for you than anything else in your toolkit?
That is what a book about your business can do.
Why a book?
Writing a book may give you a few headaches (see below to avoid these), but it will also give you some serious weapons in your armoury. The first of these is TRUST.
Trust is what makes people buy – without it, everything you do is just noise. And the only way your potential clients are going to trust you is if they have spent time with you. Ideally you would spend real time with each of your leads, but that isn’t always possible, so the next best thing is speaking to them through your book. There is something about reading or listening to somebody for several hours that turns familiarity into trust.
The second great gift a book will give you is CREDIBILITY.
How do we know who the expert is on a particular subject? Well, experts write books, so if you want to become an authority in your field and increase your credibility, becoming an author is the best thing you can do.
The final benefit of writing a book is REACH.
After Google and YouTube, the third most used search engine in the world is Amazon. This proves that, even in an age of bitesize online content, when people really want to discover something they buy a book. And this is how a book works hardest for you. Whether it is discoverable on Amazon or you give it away at networking events, you can reach more potential clients with a book than through any other method.
So if writing a book is such a brilliant thing to do, why haven’t more people done it? The answer is simply that it is hard and it takes time. But it doesn’t have to be painful. I have worked with hundreds of authors to turn their thoughts and passions into physical books or ebooks, and I have developed a fail-safe method of getting it done – sometimes in as little as 4 months. Here’s what to do to get started:
1. Work out your ‘why’
Before you start putting pen to paper, you’ll need to ask yourself why you want to do this. Do you want to get more clients? Get speaking engagements about your subject? Make money? Or simply leave a legacy for family and friends? Working out your why at this stage will have a big impact on how you write your book – and you will come back to this goal again and again to keep you on track.
2. Work out your ‘who’
In my years in the publishing industry, I would often ask authors who had submitted manuscripts to me to tell me who they thought their reader was. They would say cheerfully, ‘Everybody!’ Well let me tell you – that is never the case. Just as you have an ideal client for your business, you need to have an ideal reader, that one person who you can help. You then need to keep them in mind at every turn. Wondering how long your book should be? Ask your reader. Getting stuck with your structure? Check it is solving your reader’s problem. Keeping your reader in mind will make you more likely to produce the book you’re aiming for.
3. Work out your ‘what’
Something many new authors neglect to do is decide what type of book they are writing. I have seen numerous non-fiction books that are neither a memoir nor a guide, and as a result they read like a series of unconnected blog posts. What are you actually writing? A guidebook? A case study? Or are you presenting your ideas as a story? Get this nailed early on and you will save yourself a few hundred pages in the bin.
4. Write your recipe
You would never attempt to make a cake you had never baked before without a recipe. So spend some time before you start your book outlining its structure. Now that you know your reader, you can identify what their pain point is and build a book that will lead them to a solution. I mind-map with my authors to first get all their ideas down and then move them around into the appropriate order. This takes practice, but the golden rules are: keep it simple, keep it logical and keep it relevant.
5. Illustrate your ideas
You could have all the right content in your book and your reader will still be turned off if you don’t get the execution right. Finding your voice is one way of bringing your book alive, but you should also think how you are going to illustrate your ideas. Will you tell personal anecdotes? Use practical exercises? Diagrams? Quotes? The more life you breathe into your book the more inspired your reader will be.
6. Create a writing schedule
Time: the number one excuse people use for not writing a book. Of course it takes a certain number of hours to write a book, but perhaps it would help you realise how achievable it is if I tell you that most business books are no more than 40,000 words. By writing just 500 words a day, 5 days a week, you can achieve this in 4 months. The trick is to build up a regular writing habit, not to get distracted by editing, and repurpose content you already have. And after a week or two, you’ll actually start to enjoy it.
Have you started writing a book? Is it on your bucket list? I love hearing about your projects, so do drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more tips and advice you can follow me on Twitter (@BradshawSoph) or Instagram (@publishing_workshop), or for information about one-day book planning workshops, one-to-one coaching and group courses, see publishing-workshop.com.