What’s the difference between a poor quality business book and a brilliant one? The thought that the author puts into their work before they put ‘pen to paper’ – metaphorically speaking.

And all great thought begins with a question.

So before you get started knocking out your masterpiece, ask yourself.

1. Why am I writing my book when I could be dictating it into Rev.com and having it transcribed for $1 a minute?

(Yes, I am a Rev.com customer, and no, I am not getting paid a commission.)

Dictating your book will save you eons of time provided you are clear about your structure before you start. You’ll write in a more conversational way if you dictate your work, too.

The other benefit is that you can write while you are doing relaxing things like gardening, walking or having a bath – and we all know that we do our best, most creative work when we are relaxed. For the A-types among you, you can write while you are at the gym.

2. Which of my clients do I love so much that I wish I could clone them?

Do not make this person up. This question is most powerful when it is an actual person. Why? Because we all know someone who is an absolute dream to work with and someone who is … not. We want more dream clients, don’t we? So write a book for him or her. And before you know it, more dream clients will be marching through your door (and the nightmares will stop).

3. If I write this book, how will my life be different in a year’s time?

Imagine that you are the author you want to be. Hmmm. I’m picturing it now … I’m working with fantastic thought leaders who have terrific ideas, and I help them spread their cleverness, watch their joy as their words form into chapters and chapters into books. Oh, wait! That’s not a dream. That’s my life today! How would your life be different if you wrote your book?

4. What two other authors are essential that I refer to in my book?

You no doubt know the classic book on your topic, and also what the current bestseller is. Unless you refer to these two books, your credibility will be shot. Ideally, you will follow the advice of Matt Church, the founder of the Thought Leader Business School. He suggests a cool approach to reading these two texts:

  • Settle into your reading chair with a notepad to your left, headed with the word AND, and a notepad to your right, headed BUT.
  • Whenever you find a cool idea, think to yourself: is there anything I would add to that idea and write this on your AND notepad.  
  • When you find something you disagree with, make a note on your BUT notepad. It’s a powerful way to develop ideas and angles that are your own.

5. When is my deadline to have my book published?

This is the most powerful question of all. Let me say that one more time. This is the SINGLE MOST POWERFUL question that an author can ask themselves.

Setting a deadline and committing to it will do what no other question can do for you as an author; it will make you determined to accomplish your goal and get your book written.

Of course, you cannot keep the answer a secret. You need to make your commitment public. No good saying: ‘I’m writing a book’. Very good saying: ‘I am writing a book, and it will be published on May the 17th next year’. Even better, write to the author of one of the books you will be quoting and let them know when you are publishing your book. Very, very good indeed.

PS: Want more? You might like: Would your book pass the ‘shredder test’?