I just published my fifth book, Winning B2B Marketing. Being a glutton for punishment, I seem to get the urge to do this every five years or so. Fortunately, each book project gets easier because you learn to write faster and you can leverage material from previous books.
I’ve been asked by colleagues and clients about the book writing process and whether or not it is worth it. So let’s start with the reasons why you may not want to write a book:
- It takes a lot of time. However much time you think it will take to bring your book to fruition, double that. There is no getting around the fact that book writing and production is huge time sink.
- There is an opportunity cost. Whatever time you devote to the book endeavor is time that you can’t spend on something else.
- You don’t have enough to say. As I often talk about in regard to branding and positioning, with a book, you must be different and you must be compelling. People want to learn a new perspective, not just a regurgitated list of general principles. So if you are going to write a general treatise on what your target readership already knows, please don’t bother.
- You won’t make money. If you take the amount of royalties earned by the average non-fiction author and divide it by the number of hours he or she worked on the book, the hourly rate would shock you. There are exceptions, of course, but generally speaking, book writing is a poorly paid profession.
- You don’t have discipline to complete the project. Before you start, you need to take a gut check on this issue. For every published author, there are others who started to write and never completed their book. The trick is to make a good plan and meet your early deadlines. Once the writing habit takes hold, the project takes on a life of its own and the sailing gets smoother.
You’ve heard the bad news – reasons not to write the book. So what are some of the reasons you should consider launching a book initiative?
- It gives you “street cred” in your industry and among your peer group. This can lead to not only greater awareness and credibility for your personal brand, but also speaking and writing opportunities.
- You will generate lots of material that you can use for other purposes. A book can give you a large amount of source material for your social media initiatives. For example, you can find many of the ideas from Winning B2B Marketing repurposed for my white papers, blogs and articles.
- It can increase your value in the marketplace. This can lead to economic benefits, not just from the sale of the book, but also in terms of job promotions, new clients, and so forth.
- It’s a great way to hone your expertise. Some people have 10 years of experience in their field, while others have one year of experience repeated 10 times because they basically keep repeating what they learned and did in the first year. Assuming that you want to be seen as a thought leader, writing a book forces you to stay up on the newest aspects of your profession/business.
- Psychic benefits. Despite the challenges and hard work, there is a great deal of satisfaction to be gained from seeing your book in printed (or eBook) format. From that moment you have earned the title “author” to go along with your other professional accomplishments.
On balance, five times I have decided that the pros outweigh the cons. Whether I will stop here or keep writing remains to be seen – but I am glad that each of my book projects has come to fruition. If you think that your pros outweigh the cons, and feel that you want to proceed, please contact me if I can assist you in fulfilling your authorship dream.
Would Writing a Book Help You and Your Business?