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By Denise M. Michaels
I get emails about programs to help you write your book or market your book several times a week. From the ridiculous like – write your book in a weekend. To the sublime – spend three months in Tuscany and write your book. There are many ways to get it done but I thought it was time to shed a little honesty on the topic and share with you some surefire ways to NOT get it done. Or, to get it done so poorly your book misses the mark and doesn’t create the leverage and influence you hoped to create.
- You may have heard you can just transcribe a bunch of speeches, put ’em together and you have a book. Or, talk into a microphone with voice recognition software. Nope, it’s simply not so. What you’ll have are stream of consciousness meanderings. Even if you thought you were speaking on a topic that’ll become a chapter, without a lot of editing including reorganizing, re-structuring and adding certain elements what you’ll have instead is a hot mess. I’ve had several people come to me who thought they beat the system by transcribing their talks. Instead, they ended up pulling their hair out spending tens of thousands of dollars on editors who still couldn’t fix it.
- If you decided to write a memoir of your trials and tribulations through life your book will most likely flop. Why? Let’s say you decide to go to your local bookseller or noodle around on Amazon. You want to market your business better, get your teens to straighten out or pick yourself up from an emotional slump. Where do you go? Not the memoir section. You go to the non-fiction section of the bookstore with books to help readers solve the problem you’re dealing with. For that reason most memoirs have a tough slog. Memoirs are wonderful for catharsis or developing part of your family legacy but they rarely become the “business card on steroids” you envisioned.
- Feel uncomfortable telling readers what to do next, provide steps or checklists in your book? It will probably fail. Some authors want to let readers draw their own conclusion rather than provide concrete, clear action steps. Remember this fact of life: nowhere in life do people want to be told how to live except when they’re reading a non-fiction book. They may or may not take your advice – but they expect you to provide it. If you don’t, many readers feel ripped off. After all, if you’re intention is to be a leader and create a loyal following they may love your story but they want your ideas and recommendations, too.
- Think if you’re not published by Simon & Schuster or Harper Collins well then, why bother? Your book is a failure because the obstacle to reaching that lofty height prevents you from even getting started. The book publishing industry has turned upside down in the last decade and self published books are now respected. It was an archaic system that needed breaking. Even with our lightning fast communications from the time you find a publisher until your book is out there can take from one to three years. I recently read an article that stated 15 percent of books are published by traditional publishing houses. Plus, you make more money on every book with self-publishing.
- Pay too much for your books and you can actually lose money every time you sell one. I remember a sharp book author and speaker incensed on the phone with me because he paid such a ridiculous price for each one he literally loses money. When I told him what he should’ve paid and why those margins are important he said, “I wish I met you before publishing my book.” Getting his book in a retail store or on Amazon? It’s barely worth it. Be smart. There’s the cost of manufacturing books (if you do a paper and ink printing) which should leave you with enough to cover shipping, distribution, retail mark-up, storage and any other cost incurred between the manufacturer and your ideal book reader.
- Did you spend thousands of dollars to get into a collaboration book thinking the one or two bestselling authors included would rub a little stardust on you? Collaboration books are often a great money maker for the person putting everything together, but not for the 30, 40 or 50 “co-authors” who write an article that ends up inserted within its pages. Trust me, within three to six months you’ll be embarrassed you did it. Promoters are now savvy to people who write a 1,200 word article and then claim co-author status. You’ll be skipped over for promotional opportunities, speaking engagements – everything you were doing it for because you tried to sneak under the wire and beat the system.
- Did someone tell you to just write a 20-something page ebook, add water and you’re a book author? Not so fast. I have no objection to self-published ebooks, I enjoy downloading them on my Kindle, but many short ebooks are a ripoff and I think the “authors” know it when they slap ’em together. I keep a short list of authors to avoid because their stuff is so lousy. Again the people who decide who gets media coverage or speaking engagements and who doesn’t will ask you right off, “How many pages long is your book?” If you want to offer a free giveaway to add names and emails to your list – go for it. But don’t sell it as a true book. It’s not.
There’s an old saying, “The only way out is through.” That means if you want the accolades, influence and benefits of authoring a book – make it a book you’ll feel proud of for years to come. You may not realize it but attempting to “beat the system” is seen by most readers as a ripoff and isn’t the first impression you want to make when attempting to build a relationship of know, like and trust.
If you’re intimidated at the prospect of writing a book there are options to get you there. Enjoy writing but the idea of writing a book seems daunting ? A book coach provides a wonderful guide who will hold you accountable, spark your creativity and believe in making your book the best it can possibly be.
Got great ideas but hate writing? Constantly traveling all over with your business? If you have the resources a ghostwriter can help you get to the finish line with a minimum of time on your part and truly write a book that reflects not just your ideas and strategies but also your “voice” and way of sharing with others.
If you’re an aspiring book author and you want a successful book you owe it to yourself to talk with someone (me!) whose specialty is books. Don’t put time, effort or resources into a flop. Be honest with yourself and talk with someone who knows the truth.
Denise M. Michaels is a ghostwriter and book coach. She helps CEOs, entrepreneurs, therapists, speakers and aspiring authors become more recognizable, influential and in-demand. Using the leverage a book provides – you can become the go-to expert in your niche. To contact Denise about your book or book idea click here now.