As a coach or speaker, with a signature programme or talk, you’ll resonate with this survey for sure. Recently I asked a number of highly respected and professional experts, who are achieving great results with their clients, but who haven’t yet written a book around their expertise, why that was. It made sense to ask the question – my job is to help people get their business books written.
The results? I’ll tell you what it wasn’t about first: they all recognised the huge business value of having a book. They knew it would lead to increased authority, with more and better clients, and sales figures to match. Plus the wonderful feeling that comes from being able to reach and help so many more people than they could do otherwise.
So why hadn’t they written that business-transforming book, and what can you learn from their reasons? Warning: this may get you started on your book!
Reason 1: Not enough time to write a book
which is closely linked to…
Reason 2: My business book isn’t a priority
‘It would take me so long I feel like giving up before I start’; ‘I’d make a better short term return on investment by developing a new programme than by writing a book’; or my favourite, ‘I need 3 months on the top of a mountain to write a book.’
There’s no getting around it, writing a brilliant business book is a sizeable undertaking, because it’s supposed to be. That’s why authors have a special status – they know enough about their subject, and have the sticking power, to sit down and write a persuasive book which helps their target audience. It’s always going to be a long term project, but then they’re so often the ones that really make the difference, aren’t they?
I loved it when one of my interviewees (who had become an author) said to me: ‘Writing a book is like having a baby. There’s never the right time, but when it’s there, you can’t imagine your life before it arrived.’ To that I’d add, a book doesn’t keep you awak at night (or at least that’s the idea).
Alternatively, as Seth Godin more succinctly put it:
You know your book is a long term priority and will have an enormous impact once it’s out there. If you don’t have time, instead of putting it to one side, hire a book coach who can help you get it done, or a ghostwriter who can write it for you.
Reason 3: I’m worried my book won’t be perfect
I so sympathise with this one. As a recovering perfectionist, I know how easy it is to stop before I even start, just because I’m worried I might make a mistake. ‘What if no-one likes it?’; ‘What if I publish my book and realise I left out something really important?’ – these are common fears.
It’s true, a book is more permanent than a blog post or a tweet. But just think about what you’re denying the world, if you don’t get your ideas out there in one of the most readily and easily consumed formats available – a book. I’m going to tell it like it is here: just take a deep breathe and go for it. You never know, you might even enjoy it!
And no, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Reason 4: No back-end system in place to capture the leads
This is a good one. If your business isn’t set up so you can make good use of the new clients and opportunities that will come your way as a result of your book, it’s right for you to press pause. But only pause, not stop! If you want to get a scalable system in place so you can help more people, why not start that now?
Even better, consider developing it while you write your book. Don’t have the process set up, with no book to lift it to a higher level. If you don’t have time to do both at once, see my answer to Reason 2 above.
Reason 5: Not knowing how to start a book
That old chestnut. When we’re faced with a large task, it’s normal to feel daunted. What should it be about? Who would want to read it? How to outline it so it makes sense for the reader? We ask ourselves so many questions, we give up.
There are various ways to approach your book outline, and none of them are rocket science. You just need some simple ground rules to get you going. Again, this is where a book coach or ghostwriter can help, as having someone else (who’s objective) to guide you through, is invaluable.
Even if you go it alone, you only need to answer these questions: what do I want to achieve with this book, who are my readers, and therefore what should it be about? Now you’ve got started.
Reason 6: Hating writing and being ‘bad’ at it
There’s no getting away from the fact that some people find writing easier and more enjoyable than others. If you’re a hater, consider recording your book and getting it transcribed. Then you can either write from your base material, or hand it over to an editor or ghostwriter to turn into a book.
But seriously, we often judge ourselves too harshly here. Your business book doesn’t need to be one your teacher would have given you full marks for. It must be well written, for sure, but you don’t have to do this all by yourself.
Reason 7: Who am I to write a book?
Who are you not to? Short and sweet! For the longer answer, see this.
Reason 8: Not found the right help yet
Going back to the experts I mentioned at the beginning of this post, some had considered working with a ghostwriter or writing coach, and some had not.
This was because they’d assumed they had to do it on their own. I sympathise with this feeling; I’ve had to talk firmly to myself about outsourcing tasks that are better done by others. I know it makes sense, but handing something over can feel so… aaaarrgh!
However, just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s wrong. The right book helper will work with you, not take over your work; you only need to choose the person who’s right for you.
Reason 9: Confused by book writing tools and software
Professional writers usually love tools like Scrivener for writing their books, but there’s no reason why you have to. If you’re raring to go, just write your book in Word; you can always switch to a writing tool later if you want. (By the way, if you’re interested in Scrivener and want a starter guide to using it, I’ve done a 40 minute video: Practical Steps to Get Started with Scrivener).
Don’t let worrying about tools be a reason for you not to start your book.
So there we have it – the 9 reasons why you might not have your business-building book yet. Which is your main one, and are you better equipped to move past it now?
If you’re serious about turning your talk or programme into a book and there’s something stopping you, I want to help you get past that barrier. So I offer a 30 minute Author Maker Strategy Session to get you started; just click on the link to apply.