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By Denise M. Michaels
I always encourage wisdom professionals to author their book. If you’re a successful entrepreneur, CEO, speaker, trainer, coach, doctor or therapist, a well-written, emotionally-compelling book that positions you as a leader in your niche will help you become more recognizable, influential and in-demand.
If you think people aren’t reading books these days, that’s a mistake. In a recent New York Times article it was reported book sales in 2015 ticked upward 2.5 percent over book sales in 2014. For a mature product category with almost 600 years of history since the Gutenberg press was invented in Germany in 1436 that’s actually a pretty steep growth curve.
But authoring a book isn’t right for everyone. There are certain people for whom a book would end up being a waste of time and a royal pain. Who are they? Read on for more.
- If you don’t have any good ideas, don’t bother. People who succeed at becoming an author of a how-to or personal growth book are very good at what they do. Over time they’ve developed innovative ideas or they’ve come up with a fresh spin or their own “system” on a popular topic like:
- Marketing Your Business
- Personal Financial Management
- Staying Motivated Everyday
- Improving Your Love Relationship
- Eastern Spirituality
- Health and Wellness
to name a few. There are many other topics – but you get the idea. Perhaps you’ve developed these ideas and systems and never realized it. However, if you’re phoning it in or doing it all “by the book,” (someone else’s book) don’t bother.
- If you think you’ll author a book and get rich quick, skip it. The famous people who get million dollar advances are so rare they get headlines for days. They get the big bucks because they’re already famous, so it’s not a big risk for a major publisher to shell out a lot of cash. If you’re already wildly famous, you might make six or seven figures on a book.
The truth is average un-famous people author a book because it’s like a powerful business card on steroids. You certainly may make some money on book sales. You’ll make far more on your speaking, consulting, coaching, events, upsell products and other offerings related to your book. You don’t need all these offerings in place now, but some of it should be in your long range plans.
- If you think your book will sell itself, being a book author isn’t for you. Book authors promote their books and they do a lot more than stick a post on social media. They get on radio, television, do podcasts, drive traffic to their site, do speaking engagements, book signings and other promotions.
When publishers get a “big fish” author they’ll hire and pay for a public relations firm who sets up appearances and events the first few weeks or months after the book is released called a “book tour.” The author must show up for those events and happily speak, sign autographs, shake hands and hug people or do whatever is required. You don’t walk away and watch the royalty checks roll in.
- If you’re semi-bored about the topic you’re considering writing a book about, skip it. Why? Because you’ll have to talk about it a lot, for years. If you’re bored with the topic how can you possibly convince prospective readers THEY should get excited about it.
I’ve met people who wanted me to ghostwrite books on topics they knew nothing about – and didn’t even care. They thought it would sell like hotcakes. Their plan is usually to do a lot of Google searches, copy and paste the info to me and then I’m supposed to turn it into a book. No thank you. I like authors who actually care about what they’re doing, have genuine knowledge born of experience and they care about the people who will buy and read their book.
- If you want to write a memoir it might be wise to reconsider the idea. Even if you have an amazing life story and people always say, “You have to write a book!” ask yourself, are any of the people who gave you that advice in the book or publishing industry?
I don’t like dashing dreams but “memoirs” is the slowest selling book category. Ever. Remember when Borders stores closed in the summer of 2011? I was a Borders fan from their first store, a four-story converted Victorian home on the campus of University of Michigan. On the last day Borders was in business I went in to say goodbye to some of the employees who became like friends at my local store in Las Vegas. Everything was gone. The book cases, the soda fountains, all of it. The only thing that remained was three tables piled high with memoirs. At 90 percent off they couldn’t give them away.
Instead, weave your story into a how-to or personal growth book and share the lessons you learned from your experiences. This way your book will have a much greater potential to sell and leverage you as an influential, important author.
- If you want to author a fiction book, count me out. Half as many books sell in the fiction world compared to non-fiction. They’re also more challenging to promote. When’s the last time you heard the author of a fiction book interviewed on radio or television?
Fiction books aren’t as easily leveraged into business success for wisdom professionals. A couple famous authors tried to take their non-fiction strategies and put them in the context of a fictionalized story. “Gifts of Eykis” by the late Dr. Wayne Dyer is the only book of his that never made the bestseller list. Similarly, “The Challenge” by Robert G. Allen (my former boss) was the only book of his that didn’t become a bestseller, either.
Ever hear of “Gifts of Eykis” or “The Challenge?” I didn’t think so.
Fiction books include: mysteries, science fiction, romance, historical, children’s, juvenile and anything written in the form of a narrative or story whether it’s all made up or some of it is based on real life.
If you have great ideas and want to share them with the world but you can’t write a book, should you embark upon the journey to become an author? Yes! If you like to write but don’t know how to write a book, a Book Coach can help immensely – guiding, directing, encouraging and supporting you through the process. You don’t have to abandon your life and live in Walden’s cabin away from civilization to make it happen.
If writing isn’t your thing or you feel it’s not the highest and best use of your time, a Ghostwriter is a godsend. A ghostwriter collaborates with you and then writes your book. Chapter by chapter it comes together. About 80-90 percent of books authored by famous and well-known people are written by ghostwriters.
I provide Book Coaching and Editing. I also provide Ghostwriting services to my clients. So let’s look at this in total. If you:
- Have great ideas or innovations you’ve developed as a result of your success then you may be ideal for book author status. You’ve thrown out the standard operating procedure manual and have your own way or “system” of helping people.
- Don’t look at a book as a get rich quick scheme but as one of the hottest marketing tools ever developed. My book was published in 2005 and I still get promotional opportunities and clients from it as a result.
- Relish the opportunity to get out and talk about your book on different platforms whether it’s radio, TV, speaking, articles, blogs or more. You don’t have to do all of them – but be open minded.
- Feel passionate about your topic and can talk about it all day long and love helping people solve problems with your specific expertise – you’re ideal for being a book author.
- Understand your book must help readers solve a problem even if you don’t know how yet – rather than be a meandering story of ups and downs in your life, book authorship is right for you. Your book won’t end up in “memoirs.”
- Know a non-fiction book is the best way to captivate readers who will eventually pay for your expertise. You get it. You know the leverage of books is all about non-fiction written to help make your readers’ lives better.