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2.8.17

Why I cannot work with every thought leader who wants to write a book

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Every thought leader who writes a book needs help. A buddy. A fellow traveller. A book is too big a project to be tackled alone. And let’s face it, it’s not so much fun on your own. I liken it to climbing Mount Everest. Every author I have worked with goes through a crisis of confidence somewhere on the way to the summit. Some only metres from the top!

My job is to march alongside an author (like a Sherpa) on the writing journey, pointing out the path ahead, keeping the summit in sight, steering them away from the cliff edge, and reassuring them through the occasional long, cold night. And that is why I cannot work with every thought leader who wants to write a book.

The journey is an intimate one, which is why I love it. But it’s also the reason that I must make sure I work with clients whose values align with mine. You might say, well who cares if you are a snob? And fair enough, except that I offer the same advice to you: when you choose professionals to help you with your book, choose them on their values.

How to discover if you share values with your writing mentor?

When it comes to helping thought leaders write books, what matters most to me is the intention of the ideas. For me to bust a gut on the journey up Everest, I need to know that a thought leader intends their ideas to make a positive contribution to the world. For me, that means making the world a more conscious place — caring, safe, healthy, intelligent, trusting, and fair. Not blaming, but solving. Disagreeing agreeably. Challenging respectfully. Compassionate curiosity, as my restorative yoga teacher and soon-to-be-author, Jaye Hayes, says.

What matters most to you about the people you want on your book journey? My clients tell me they want me to be ‘brutally honest’. They would rather I criticise them in private than find themselves a laughing stock in public. I try not to be brutal, but I am committed to making sure they are proud to share their book with the world.

Is honesty the value that is most important to you? Or accountability? Or is it compassion? Or precision? Or humour?

Who do you value most?

Here’s a list of the people whose help you might need on your journey of writing a book:

  • a mentor (like me) to help identify your audience, test the strength of your ideas and structure your thoughts
  • an interviewer (like me) to get the ideas out of your head and onto the page
  • an editor to take out words that don’t add anything, and question words or sentences that don’t make sense.
  • a ‘first reader’, who wants you to succeed, who will give you feedback on your manuscript
  • a proofreader to take your final manuscript and dot the i’s and cross the t’s (literally)

When your manuscript is ready to publish, you will need:

  • a designer for your cover and pages
  • a printer
  • a distributor
  • a marketer

Understand what matters most to you and you will choose the right suppliers to walk with you up and down the mountain to fulfil the amazing achievement that is writing a book.

PS: Want more? You might like: What is a business book, and what makes it sell?

 

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