This is going to be the year you write that career-boosting book. Getting it right means higher fees, speaking engagements, more prestigious consulting gigs, and the admiration of your peers. Getting it wrong means a year of wasted effort. Here are some things to think about before you start.
Choose your topic strategically
If this is your first book, it will define you for years. The book will be your brand. People will evaluate your expertise based on the book.
Choose something you’re passionate about. That way you’re more likely to have the energy to go deep on the topic and stay interested long after your book is published.
Rod Santomassimo made a good strategic choice with his first book, Brokers Who DOMINATE. He wanted to find the difference between top commercial real estate brokers and their less successful peers. Rod had the passion to do deep research and create a book that helped cement his reputation as an expert and boost his coaching business.
Find a want and fill it
Needs are great, but people buy books to fill wants. Solve a common problem that really bugs people. Without the push of a problem you won’t sell many books. I recently met with a person who has deep academic knowledge of a subject that just doesn’t send most business book readers running to the bookstore. His challenge will be to identify the problems his expertise can solve and demonstrate how it can be done.
Create unique material
Don’t just rehash what’s already out there. Do some original research. The people who buy and read business books are also the people who read business publications and blogs. They already know what’s there. Offer them something more.
Susan Finerty did just that when she wrote Master the Matrix: 7 Essentials for Getting Things Done in Complex Organizations. Susan did original survey research and collected topic-specific stories that she used in her book and also in her classes and speeches.
Put yourself in the book
Original research will help you write the book that only you can write. So will personal stories.
Stephen Lynch has tons of good material when he began creating his award-winning book, Business Execution for Results. He made the book better by adding stories and examples from his work with clients. He made the book better still by adding stories from his own life experience.
Plan for the long haul
There are no short-cuts. It takes time and attention to write a good book. You will have to carve out time from a schedule that’s probably already stuffed to overflowing. That’s not easy and it may mean foregoing some income opportunities.
When the book is done, you’re not. You have to promote it and build on it. That takes the same time and attention and effort as writing your book.
A great business book can boost your career, it takes commitment, hard work, and time.