If you’re thinking of writing a business book with a business purpose, here’s an overview of the basic process. I’ve sketched the key decisions you will need to make in each stage. If you want to chat about your options, use the form at the end of this link to contact me and set up a free Options Review Session.
Before You Begin the Process
Before you write your book, you should make two key decisions. You can change either one at any time.
Decide why you are writing your book. Do you want to give your business a boost, share some lessons you’ve learned, tell an important story, or check something off your bucket list?
Decide how you expect to publish your book. You must make the decision early because you will use a different process if you want to go with a traditional publisher. Usually, you will need an agent and prepare a detailed book proposal. You won’t write the book manuscript until after you have a contract and then the publisher may want to change some things.
If you elect some form of self-publishing, you will either learn to do some of the publishing tasks yourself or hire others to do them for you. Everything else on this page assumes that you will publish your own book.
When you’ve answered those questions as best you can, you move on to the four stages of the book writing process. If you devote some time to preparing to write, the process will be easier and the result will be better. Next comes writing and revision your manuscript, followed by producing the book and releasing it to the world. Here’s a bit more about each stage.
Preparing to Write Your Book
Too many would-be authors skimp on this step. They figure they know their topic and audience and they want to get down to writing as soon as possible. Don’t make that mistake. You will have an easier time and write a better book if you make the effort to prepare thoroughly. Here are some things you should do.
- Clarify your goal
- Define why your book will be different and distinctive
- Analyze the market and the competition
- Deepen your knowledge of your reader
- Deepen your knowledge of the topic
- Assess your platform
- Develop a preliminary business plan for your book
- Do some “pre-writing” list making story lists or doing a major scene draft
Preparation is not a linear process. What you decide in one area often requires changes in other areas. I have some simple “homework assignments” that I give clients to help them through this stage. Stay with the process until things jell. Then you’re ready to write.
Writing the Book
They say that “great writing is re-writing” and most business books go through at least four full drafts. The objective of the first draft is to get the basic book on a page or in a file with the important pieces in the right order. The second draft is a rework of the first draft, highlighting important points, adding helpful detail, and removing things that don’t move the book forward. Your third draft will revise issues that you uncover writing the second draft. This is usually the draft we send to beta readers. Their feedback guides the revisions of the fourth or any additional drafts.
How will the book get written? The basic options are writing the book yourself, writing with the help of a book writing coach, and using a writing partner or ghostwriter.
Your platform is the number of people you can reach who will consider buying your book when you ask them. Start developing your platform as early as possible. It will pay dividends later. It’s also never too early to start developing your promotion plan.
Sometime during the writing, we start gathering endorsements, lining up someone to write the foreword, and crafting your bio. We also begin the cover design process so the cover is ready when the book goes to press and select an interior designer for the book. When the manuscript is finished, the immediate next step is to send it off to a professional editor.
Producing the Book
The goal of the Production Stage is to create a book worthy of your content. A professional editor will shape up your manuscript. The interior designer will prepare the manuscript and all additional parts of the book for the printer. “Printer” in this case means whoever will produce copies of the book. Sometimes there will be more than one, like when an author produces print version and a digital version of the book.
Some authors manage this process themselves, others hire someone to handle the process management. When the book is ready, it’s time to release it to the world.
Releasing Your Book to the World
The goal of the Promotion Stage is to do everything possible to assure that your book helps accomplish your goals. By the time you have books to sell, you should also have your platform developed and your marketing plan working.
That’s a quick overview of the process of getting your book from an idea to a finished book that your proud of and that makes a difference. If you’d like more details on the process, download my free white paper, “Do You Want to Write and Publish a Business Book? How to Go from Your Idea to a Book You’re Proud Of.” If you’d like to chat with me, then use the form at the end of this link to request a free Options Review Session.