ThesweShould you write a book? It's a question I ask all my clients. After careful consideration and thinking many of them walk away, convinced NOW is NOT the time to write a book after all. Some say I'm throwing away money by telling them they don't have a compelling reason to write a book, but I think I'm helping people prepare to write a better book down the road.
Should you write a book?
It depends. WHY do you want to write a book? This is important to know. If you're writing a book because all your friends and colleagues are writing them, then it's probably not time to write your book. You won't have the interest, passion, purpose or drive to complete it. You'll hate the discipline and tasks it demands and ultimately you'll end up hating the process. The top reasons I hear from clients who want a book written:
Those aren't the answers I'm looking for. These are:
There are more, but essentially people who write successful books are driven by a passion for telling a story. It may their personal story (business memoir), or a how-to story, or something related to their business, insights, practice. Whatever it is, they have a clear and specific reason for wanting to reach a larger audience.
For the clients who want to write a book to "make a lot of money," I have to explain that unless you're already wildly rich and/or famous, have a unique story readers can't find elsewhere (i.e., I know who killed JFK), are already a recognized expert in your field, or have endless money to spend marketing and promoting your book, that most authors won't become best-selling authors or make a lot of money. You'll be lucky to make back the money you spend on writing, editing, and publishing it. Books aren't the end goal. If you have a signature speech and want to get more speaking gigs, then a book can help you do that. A book can position you as an expert, someone the media will want to interview (but usually only if your book is traditionally published). Books are tools. They help you achieve things or get attention you wouldn't get without them. They are not the end game.
If you don't have a website, a blog, a "platform," then a book is not going to do well. People buy books to learn more about the person who wrote it and they want to know WHY you wrote it. This is where a blog, or at least a website comes in. Books expand on things you've already shared with readers. They give your followers more insight into your thoughts and ideas and passion.
Unless you're a professional writer, writing a book should come after you've clarified and examined some of your thoughts and processes in a blog. Blogging is thinking out loud. It (1) gives you a great opportunity to get your thoughts on "paper" or in a public venue where others can comment and engage. This often provides amazing insights that may cause you to shift your thinking in ways you never imagined. It's much easier to change course after a blog post than a book. (2) It helps you focus your intention and the critical aspects of what you want to say. (3) It gives you a better understanding of your audience.
Unless my client/potential client has a blog, or a speaking practice, or a focused idea for a book, then I urge them to go away and rethink writing a book. Without a platform or followers, the chances of being "discovered" on Amazon are slim to none. Trust me. I experienced that personally. Writing a book is different from promoting and marketing a book. And if people read your book and love it, without a website, blog, or other platforms in place, they have nothing to act on and quickly become frustrated or simply leave. Why shouldn't they? There's nothing else they can do. That's why a blog, even a simple one, and a website with an About, Contact Me, and Home page in addition to the blog, are so important.
That said, if you want to write a book for the sole purpose of giving it out at workshops, or to employees, then go for it. The secret is that the book has a reason to exist, a purpose. I've ghostwritten books for clients who simply wanted to leave a biography of themselves for family members after they passed on, or before they passed on. The book's purpose was to start a dialog and to connect or bring family together. That's a noble reason for writing. And that's my point. What is your reason for writing a book? What do you want it to do for you? Once you understand that, then we can talk! If you need help deciding what your goal for writing a book is, then contact me for a 30-minute, free, no-obligation call. Let's talk.
Consistency Matters More Than Talent
You don't have to be talented to succeed. You do need to be consistent.