It pains me to say this, but some people should not write a business book – or not yet. For some people, now is not the time, and they are best to keep their money in their pocket. How can you tell if you should write and self-publish a book, or should delay or never write a book? You might be surprised by my answers. If some or all of the qualities below sound like you, don’t write a book. You may waste your time and money, and may harm your personal brand. The qualities that make for bad books (but not bad people) follow.
Author Archives for kathwalters
With 16 years experience as an editor and senior journalist in the mainstream press, I have an established track record for creating great content -- stories, links, tweets, blogs -- quickly and efficiently across a wide range of industry sectors. I am an editor, journalist and content marketer.
Contact me to find out more: 0425 040 020
I used to have a secret desire to become a Great Australian Novelist, a desire that led me to study Professional Writing and Editing at (what is now) Deakin University. I got good marks for my first – and last – short story, but my teacher pointed out the number of times I used the word ‘it’. It, it’s, thing, anything, something and everything are imprecise words. Today, as I edit my clients’ words, I am ruthless with the word ‘thing’ and pretty tough on ‘it’. I replace ‘thing’ or ‘it’ with words that more exactly describe what the author intended. And, if I cannot guess, I send their manuscript back to ask for clarification.
If you are a business book author today, you face two big problems. The first is that you have lost the first-mover advantage. Great books -- including those that are self-published -- appear daily. Competition and quality is on the way up. The second big challenge is making writing your book fun. Professional writers have always faced that challenge. No-one sticks to a career that isn't fun. And if you are no good, your career won't stick to you. Use these three tips to beat your competition and have more fun writing.
When you decide to write a book, you face one significant barrier: no-one likes being told what to do or think. In fact, the harder someone tries to convince me of anything, the harder I resist, and the more sceptical I become. I might even fling a book onto the couch with a bit of righteous anger, exclaiming, ‘How stupid do you think I am?' That is how one-sided arguments make us feel: insulted. ‘Pollyanna-style' panacea to the injustices of the world have the same effect.
A business book has a simple and powerful value proposition: to help you sell more of your valuable mentoring, training or speaking programs. Here’s the scenario. You sell a two-day leadership training program for veterinary practices for $10,000 a program. Each year, you sell 10 programs and make $100,000 a year. You self-publish 200 copies of a book about leadership in veterinary practices. You get 50 new leads from giving away and selling your books. As a result, you get an extra 10 training gigs a year. You just made an extra $100,000 a year and doubled your income.
Public speaking is an amazing gig. For a start, you can impact hundreds if not thousands of people at a time. Competition is limited since most people would rather die than speak in front of an audience (which is remarkably silly and probably not true). It is fabulous pay – the best speakers get $10,000 for a gig, usually an hour. And, if you are good enough, you get to travel the world.
Have you ever had a friend who walked too fast or too slow? Some days, it is a little irritating. Some days, it’s infuriating. Your pace as an author can have the same effect on your readers. If your story or ideas unfold too slowly, your readers get bored. If your story moves too fast, your readers get lost. Either way, the outcome is the same: they close your book (or click away from your site). When I was in my late twenties, I died. I had a respiratory arrest and stopped breathing. And then the doctors in the emergency department of the Austin Hospital revived me, and it was back to life as usual. Except, of course, it was not. Everything had changed. Suddenly I hyper-aware of my breathing.
Every author needs Chutzpah. Isn’t Chutzpah a lovely word? It’s Yiddish, and it means audacity (for good or bad). Cheek. Insolence, even. Today, of course, is a day for women the world over to get their Chutzpah on – it’s International Women’s Day. It is the day we women stand up and back ourselves. Writing a book is all about backing yourself; it is the ultimate moment of Chutzpah. But writing and publishing a book is not enough to unleash your Chutzpah on the world. You must back yourself even more by promoting your book.
Poor design and printing can really let your book down. You have gone to all the trouble to write 25,000 to 45,000 words; now put some effort into the presentation of your ideas. I’ve been known to reject a book, even though I wanted to read it, because of poor design. Of course, I might be biased. In a former life, I was a graphic designer and a print-production manager – I’ve got baggage. There are a few classic errors that really scream ‘amateur’ when it comes to design and printing. And wibble-wobble – or the lack thereof – is one of them.
Creativity is a strange chariot. Creativity likes activity, not standing still. If I make a single observation about all the creative people I have ever known, it is that we find it hard to rest. When the chariot comes to a standstill, we start to fret.