“Should you write that book?” was the topic at Trainers Network Northamptonshire recently. Publishing has changed beyond recognition in the last decade and is now accessible to all. Apparently 25% of us made a New Year’s resolution to write a book!
Trainers and coaches are probably at the top of the list- after all, we have expertise to share, the desire to help as well as a heap of stories! Yet we’ve all seen badly written and presented books that do their writers’ reputation more harm than good.
Should you write a book? How can you make sure it will turn out well? Just how difficult is it? Do you need to hire professional help or can you do it all yourself? These are the questions we rolled up our shirtsleeves to answer.
Of course, we all have different skills, knowledge and ambitions, so there is not a ‘one size fits all’ answer – we have to look at our own case.
Cost benefit analysis of writing a book
We spent some time doing a cost/benefit analysis, working out what would be involved in the production of a book – resources and skills needed, what we could do ourselves and what we would need to outsource, time and money needed, and of course how we would cope with conflicting demands on our busy lives.
It soon became apparent that the writing of the book is only part of the job! On the other side of the coin were the benefits it would bring. Some of the group had long held ambitions of writing a book, some for the personal satisfaction of getting their thoughts on paper, others were more interested in establishing their professional expertise or passing their knowledge on.
The upshot of our ruminations was pretty unanimous. Most felt that there needed to be a real passion for writing a book to give us the wings needed to persevere. Attempting it without a real desire to succeed is likely to result in too much drudgery!
Going to write that book? Here are a few tips
Here are a few more things we covered:
- Compare the meerkat! Research what else is available in your subject area. Could you add anything worthwhile? What would your book add? How would be unique
- Know what is useful and interesting to your audience, and at what level.
- Think about structure before you begin. You may need to adapt it as you progress.
- Spend some time visualising what you want the finished product to look like.
- Come up with a writing schedule that suits your learning style, but be aware that it can be hard to get back into the flow if you work in very short bursts.
- If you are stuck for words, write gibberish in a different coloured font, then carry on. Once you are back in the flow, the words will come and you can go back and replace the gibberish.
- It’s very tempting, but when you end a writing session, try not to end at a natural break, e.g. the end of a chapter. If you make a start on the next section, no matter how small, it will be easier to get back into it next time.
- As a general rule of thumb, the time it takes from finishing writing to getting to print takes as long as writing the book.
- Remember that publishing is an unregulated industry. Choose your bedfellows carefully. There are many routes available from traditional publishing to self publishing and everything in between.
If I can help you in any way, do get in touch.
By Julie Cooper
Author of Face to Face in the Workplace
“If you deal with people you need this book” Buy your copy here