Want to Write a Business Book? Here's How
People in service industries like doctors, lawyers, and dentists, as well as entrepreneurs, often write books. Books can be written for companies and events as well.
Years ago I wrote a company history for the centenary of a large Australian department store chain. I've often wondered why more long-established businesses don't publish a book to commemorate an event; it's an ideal way to showcase a business.
Will your book be "free"? Why?
When clients come to me, they often plan to give away their book once it's written. However, I normally caution against this.
Yes, you can give away some copies, but if your information is valuable, you need to sell it. People tend to value something for which they've paid even a nominal amount. This is especially true on the Internet. Most of the free material that you'll see offered online isn't worth the time it takes to download it, much less to read it.
Scroll down to discover how to write YOUR business book...
Get help writing your book
Need help writing your business book? Contact Angela.
Ready? Let's write your book
Start by thinking about what your audience needs. How can you solve a problem for them?
This can work very well if you're in an industry where you need to educate your clients.
For example, if you're plastic surgeon, there's a lot that you wish your clients understood about what you do. Similarly if you're in financial services, writing a book is an ideal way of teaching your clients.
Let's say that you've decided on a topic you want to cover in your book.
This particular topic is a problem for your clients, and you want to help them to solve it. For example if you're a plastic surgeon, you may want to give some general health information and skin care advice to your clients. This would be a perfect topic for a book.
Once you've decided on a topic, it's time to create your book.
Here's a step by step process.
Start by writing a blurb.
A blurb is just a description of your book. If you go to the bookstore, and pick up a book, turn it over. Usually the blurb appears on the back cover. It may also appear on the flap cover, if the book's a hardcover.
Keep your blurb short, two or three paragraphs is ample. Look on your blurb as your compass. Books tend to morph as you write them; your blurb keep you on track.
2. Create an index card outline.
Take a 5 x 8 index card, and write down what you could cover in your book, using one line per idea.
Think in terms of problems and solutions. The more take-away you give your readers, the more they will appreciate your book -- and you.
Transfer this index card outline to your favorite computer word processor and you've got the basic plan structure and plan for your book.
3. Add insights and anecdotes.
Each line of your index card is one chapter in your book.
Think of what you might cover in the chapter. Then, think about your customers, and see if you can recall any insights or anecdotes. We all love stories, and anecdotes, which are really very short stories, keep readers reading.
Write down your anecdotes very briefly, in just a sentence. You'll expand on them later.
When I'm writing for clients, I like to use an anecdote per chapter as an illustration of the concept or moral of the chapter. If appropriate to your book's subject matter, aim for a little humor in your anecdotes.
4. Ready? GO!
Write your first draft as quickly as you can. Just keep writing.
You'll find that once you start writing, the temptation to revise what you've written and edit as you go is just about irresistible. However, this is fatal to your forward momentum. I've written literally hundreds of books. Take it from me -- momentum is everything. Say to yourself: "I'll fix it later." Because you can.
Think of your first draft material as your first take on the topic. It's just a sketch. You may have heard people say that "writing is rewriting" and this is what they mean. Just get SOMETHING written -- you can't fix what you don't write.
Keep going until you've got the complete first draft of your book written. Expect it to be a long way from perfect.
5. Revise: "re-vision".
Once your first draft is done, it's time to "re-vision".
This is where you revise what you wrote. Think about what you covered in each chapter. What will the reader get out of the chapter? Do you need to add material? Is some of the material redundant? Could you delete it completely?
I like to write about my writing as I go. This is because I work on several projects at a time. Writing about your writing -- that is keeping a journal, in which to talk to yourself about your project -- is very useful. When I talk to myself about my writing I try to approach it from the point of view of someone who knows nothing about the topic -- a person who is my ideal audience.
Writing about your writing keeps you moving forward. All your doubts and anxieties go into the book journal.
Try this strategy yourself. It's not easy to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal reader, but attempting to do it will give you great insights during revision.
6. Almost the final draft...
Once you've completed your revision, leave the project for a few days if you can. You're clearing your mind of the project, and trying to be objective.
Next, reread your book in its entirety. Add material, delete material... Feel free to make as many changes as you like. At this stage, I save versions of the project. If I decide later that I've gone a little too crazy, I can always go back to a previous version.
Now it's time to get some early readers. Ideally, your early readers will come from your target audience. Give the computer file of your book to anyone who expresses interest.
Tell your early readers that you're not looking for any advice on word use, or grammar, you just want to know whether the information you provided is useful. Does your book do what you set out to do? Ask for their overall impressions.
7. Professional editing and proofreading.
Make any changes you wish to incorporate the insights from your first readers.
Now that your book is done, you need people to go over it, and do a line edit, and a proof.
A line editor ensures that you're saying what you meant to say. The big challenge with writing is that it happens in your head. You may think that you transferred what's in your head to the computer screen, but chances are that you haven't.
A line editor is paid to pick faults. Therefore, check his edits carefully. You don't need to okay all his edits, in fact you shouldn't. It's your book, and you have the final say about it.
When you've incorporated the line edits of the book, hire a proofreader.
Your business book needs to be as close to perfect as possible. At least when it comes to obvious mistakes -- spelling errors harm your book. So do obvious mistakes: using a word like "reign" when you mean "rein", or even "rain", for example.
8. Your book is done.
Hurrah! Your book is done.
Now you think about how you intend to publish it. These days, I recommend to my clients that they publish their books on the Amazon Kindle platform first. There's a simple reason for this: it's a form of market research.
Once you've gained readers of your Kindle ebook, you can publish your book as a paperback, or even a hardcover. Amazon's CreateSpace service does a great job, and you can publish your book one copy at a time. (There are many other Print on Demand publishers, of course.)
Want if you're hoping for "big" publisher interest in your book? A Kindle version of your book may well find a publisher for you, if it's a hot seller.
I hope this helps you to write your book. If you need any help, let me know.
Happy writing. :-)
More help on writing your book
Get Known: Hire a Ghostwriter — Celebrities Do
Celebrities hire ghostwriters, and you can too...
Get book coaching and mentoring
Just about anyone who wants to do so can make an income creating information products like books and ebooks. When you're selling information products there are no age or educational requirements, and your earnings potential is enormous. Six figure incomes are common, because you don't have to sell many books or courses to reach this income range.
If you'd like help to write your business book, I offer book coaching and mentoring, as well as ghostwriting services.