I’ve been writing a book. And I’ve been loving every minute of it. Ok, I confess. I’ve hated some. Because they are the moments when brain synapses aren’t firing and you know what you want to say but the words just don’t come.
Thankfully I have a list of remedies for this kind of scenario. Typically, a cup of tea, a walk with my little doggie Rambo, or a long hot shower rewires something in my brain so that the words flow again.
While writing a book can seem like a daunting exercise, it’s also one that I recommend. Particularly for business owners who want to showcase their expertise and distil their knowledge into their very own book.
Maybe you want to write about leadership. Perhaps you have a lot to say about manufacturing. Or maybe you want to write a marketing “how to” for small business owners. While you may be clear on WHAT you want to write about, it can be difficult to determine HOW. That is, the steps you need to take to get your ideas out of your brain and onto 220 pages of smart, engaging and informative writing.
So what does it take to write a good business book? Well, I could discuss this for hours.
But let me give you a place to start.
1. Plan manageable chunks
It might seem like an insurmountable goal when you’re faced with the prospect of generating 60,000 words. However, if you divide this into manageable chunks, the task becomes a whole lot easier. The biggest mistake that some authors make is to write chunks of information first and then piece them together later. This only makes for a disjointed book. It’s vital to do the right planning well before you put your fingers on the keyboard.
2. Workshop your “chapter plan”
When it comes to writing a business book, the more planning you do, the easier the writing is going to be. Unlike fiction, where you’re more likely to wait for the muse to strike, business books often achieve the best result with a structured approach.
Ideally, you should workshop your “chapter plan” with someone who is not from your industry. When you get feedback from someone who is already familiar with the topic of your book, it with their assumptions and prejudices. You need a fresh eye to tell you whether your structure makes sense and if the chapters are engaging.
3. Develop your marketing plan while you are writing
While it may make sense to complete one project (your writing) before you tackle the next (your marketing), there are many reasons why it can be useful to do these concurrently. The strategic plans you have in place for your marketing may partly shape the content of your book – and vice versa.
4. A blog is not a book
While your blogs may build you a platform from which to launch a book, it’s important to note that you can’t just slap a year’s worth of blog posts together and hope that will be good enough for a book.
Ok, well, I take that back. You CAN, but more often than not, this approach doesn’t work. You don’t end up with a clear thread running through the book because when you wrote the posts, you wrote them as stand alone pieces. Again, you’ll end up with a disjointed book. However, you can use the themes in your posts to help you structure a narrative that can carry you through 60,000 words.
Posted on 20 April 2012