The business author’s manifesto: declaring war on boring books
It’s a frightening thought, isn’t it?
That, according to some sources, 90% of books sell fewer than 100 copies.
Whaaat? All those hours at the keyboard and virtually nothing to show for them? Of course not every author aims to thousands, but I’m guessing that – like you – they didn’t burn the midnight oil only to be ignored. I can almost see them checking their sales each week, confused and frustrated by the numbers. What went wrong?
It’s the scariest thing for you to contemplate as a budding business author yourself. Because you want your book to be the achievement that puts you in the spotlight, not the time-suck that makes you feel like you might as well not have bothered.
I’m often asked by experts, speakers, and thought-leaders if there’s anything they can do to make sure their book is a success. There is, and it’s this: plan and write your book the right way from the beginning. This can make the difference between a wasted opportunity and the chance to be ‘the person who wrote the book on it’.
Unfortunately that isn’t the way it’s always done now, and we’re all the worse off for it. So let’s look at what needs to change. Here’s my manifesto for writing a business book that:
- Is read and appreciated by its target readership
- Is motivating and interesting to read
- Puts the author in the spotlight so they have more visibility, credibility, and sales.
If you’re still with me, and I hope you are, let’s put our hands on our hearts and say that we will, every time we write a book . . .
- Decide what we want to achieve before we write a word of it. I see this as like trying on outfits. If we’re off to a cocktail party we’ll dress to impress, but if we’re digging in the garden we’ll pull on an old pair of jeans. In the same way, our books should suit our purposes.
- Know who we’re writing for – exactly. Because if we don’t know who our readers are, how can we help them with our books?
- Streamline our book and business audiences. When our readers see we’re writing about something we’ve actually helped people with, and those same people are the ones our books are for, this gives us credibility.
- Make sure we know what our books are about – really about. We need to know the gold’ in our books. Because readers don’t buy books, they buy solutions. If we’re not crystal clear on what that unique solution is, we won’t be helping people.
- Create a difference with our content. What are our books offering the world that other books aren’t? This could be the ideas within it but it can also be the way it’s written, the viewpoint it’s from, or the personality it reveals.
- Take our readers on a logical journey with our books, by having a well thought-out structure. When we plan out our books so they make sense, our readers will ‘get’ them. Poor structure is the number one reason why people stop reading.
- Insist on engaging, memorable stories. Because stories help our readers understand what we’ve written and make our books interesting. They touch our hearts and tickle our funny bones.
- Write from the heart, with personality. When our books are written by us, rather than by the person we think we should be, we make them real. And books that are real are read and remembered.
- Always show we care. When readers trust that their feelings and opinions are being taken into account by an author, they reciprocate by paying attention to what the author thinks. As the saying goes, ‘I don’t care what you know until I know that you care’.
- Shout from the rooftops about our books, and work as hard at marketing them as we do at writing them. Because why would it make sense not to?
To do all this involves commitment to quality, and to serving our readers with our highest efforts. And it’s worth it, because our books will stand out instead of blending in. We’ll be the authors not only of a book that gets noticed, but that changes thousands of businesses and lives for the better.
Here’s to books that make a difference.