Writing a business book is absolutely fundamental to your thought leadership aspirations and is one of the best ways of rapidly establishing yourself as an acknowledged expert in your field. But where on earth do you get started?
With the Xmas break looming and an opportunity to finally put pen to paper without the distractions of the daily grind, here are some great tips for getting started.
Tip 1 – Know your purpose
Understand exactly why you are writing a book. Here I’m asking you to be super-selfish and think about what you want to achieve from your hard work (because trust me, it will be hard work!).
Is it about:
- Boosting your authority and visibility
- Opening doors previously closed to you
- Generating leads and attracting more clients
- Building business confidence
- Creating an income
- Making you more appealing to journalists, conference organisers and investors
- Taking your thinking and ideas to a wider audience
Being clear on this front, helps you sharpen your goals and later measure if you have achieved what you set out to do in the first place.
Tip 2 – Understand what your readers REALLY want
Now for the not-so-selfish stuff …
If you are a subject matter expert or thought leader or looking to become one of these, your book needs to fill a genuine gap in the market and more importantly, provide a real solution to a real problem facing your key readership. If you’re unsure what is keeping your target audience awake at night or you don’t have complete clarity about the issues they are dealing with, make a point of asking them – do a survey or run a focus group or work with your book coach to figure it out.
Knowing your reader also means understanding their state of mind, skill levels, education and what is happening in their lives. Are they time poor, under constant stress, or likely to have short attention spans?
Having these insights will not only help you write the book your audience wants, but will ensure it is delivered in a format that is easy to digest and understand!
Tip 3 – Develop a book outline
Developing a plan or having a structural outline of your book in place, does FOUR important things – it removes much of the pain of writing, ensures you don’t repeat yourself and that you have sufficient material for your book. Most importantly it determines where the potential gaps are in your knowledge and where further research or data collection will be required.
To help you with your plan, jot down the 5-10 most important high-level points you should cover in your book. Then add to this the 5-10 best examples and/or case studies. Also think of work exercises, quotations, infographics and the images you will use for illustrative purposes.
As a general rule of thumb, the first two chapters should provide the “what’ and ‘why’ of your book, with the remainder, the ‘how’.
Tip 4 – Choose your book title carefully
Your title will undoubtedly have a major impact on whether or not people buy your book.
In a nutshell, a good title should have all of these attributes:
- Attention grabbing
- Informative (gives an idea of what book is about)
- Easy to say
Tip 5 – Get personal and show your readers who you are
Write a book that invites readers into not just what you know, but who you are. Invite them into your world. Share your personal stories as well as your pain, joy, vulnerability and passion.
Author and financial planning guru, Scott Pape, does this to great effect in his book, the Barefoot Investor, where we not only meet family members but we also hear about his own stories of struggle and success.
In fact right in the opening pages Scott explains how he and his family lost their family farm to a bushfire, and what they did to recover.
Tip 6 – Get the best editing you can afford
There is obviously a minimum standard that readers are willing to accept, but I believe that to stand out in a crowded market, you need a really great, polished book. It goes without saying that a poorly edited book will result in poor reviews, which will reflect badly on you and hurt your reputation.
Tip 7 – Publish your book in the most professional way
It’s great to save money but your book needs to shine in a crowded market. Consider a full-service publishing partner who can do a lot of the leg work for you – such as manage the editing, design, layout, marketing, proofing, indexing, printing and distribution.
If you are interested in writing a business book and need someone to help you kick-start the process, Parker Public Relations provides business book coaching and mentoring.
To get in touch, contact Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org