You got a book in you?
This morning I went to a course run by Sydney Writers’ Centre and my mate Valerie Khoo called How to Write a Business Book. I’m a big fan of Val’s work, not only because she’s my editor on the Business Chicks mag, Latte, but because she knows her trade inside and out and is also a really successful entrepreneur (a dynamic combo). Plus she’s got a really strong work ethic (her and I are often exchanging emails at 2am) and she’s smart and just makes things happen. Definitely a woman after my own heart!
So, here are a few of my takeaways…
1) If you’re considering writing a book you’ll obviously need to decide what to write about. Ideally, you’ll be passionate about your subject (although as Val pointed out, it’s not essential). If you’re stuck with what to write about, ask other people how they perceive you, and what value they get from you – perhaps some of their ideas will help you on your way.
2) Have a good think about the why. Why are you writing this book? Is it to build profile? Is it to create another revenue stream? Build credibility? To help others? If you’re clear about your why, this’ll help you through the tough times in the writing process when you feel like throwing it all in.
3) Understand the goal of your book. Make sure you’re able to finish this sentence: “After reading my book, the reader will …”
4) Start with a working title and test it with others. This is just a working title so don’t get hung up on it. You’re just experimenting with people’s reactions at this stage. One of the attendees from this morning is a self-managed super expert. She could play around with the title “How to set up your self-managed super fund” (yawn!) or she might try “How to never pay tax again” which is likely to get more interest.
5) Think about your audience’s greatest pains. Could you write a book that could solve those problems?
6) Don’t fall into the trap of writing a book that focuses only on an issue or problem. Rather spend the time talking about the solutions.
We also learned about publishing models; the different types of business books; printing options; how to market your book and build hype around it (think of Tim Ferriss’ The 4 Hour Body where he writes about the 15-minute female orgasm and how to achieve it – now that’s sure to create some hype, right?). Val also shared some technology solutions such as different software programs to manage your research and writing in, as well as the latest recording gadgets, for any interviews you may need to conduct.
All in all it was a jam-packed, content rich course and I’m so glad I invested a few hours to go along this morning. The only problem I’m left with now is what my first book should focus on.
So, as a reader of this blog I’d love your help. Can you suggest anything you’d like me to write more about? Any particular topic you’d like me to explore? Any info you wish you had that could help you on your journey?
I’d love to hear from you, and who knows, I may even mention you in the credits …