Has anyone ever told you that you could write a book? A lot of famous entrepreneurs have answered “yes” to that question and chosen to go through with writing one.
Think of Timothy Ferriss, who wrote The 4-Hour Work Week. His book challenged the idea of a traditional workweek by explaining how people could be more productive in fewer hours per week instead of working grueling hours year after year.
Oprah Winfrey overcame an extremely difficult childhood to become one of the biggest success stories of all time. She has used multiple media platforms to build an empire, and among her many achievements is authoring a number of books.
Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, Inc., changed the world of technology by pioneering the personal computer revolution. He, too, is an author.
Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, invented a new kind of digital medium and has one of the most well-known blogs in the world. She has written a ton of books, on topics ranging from redefining what it means to be successful to corporate greed.
Entrepreneurs often write blog posts about their business and services, but they may not think of themselves as authors.
Publishing a book can change that and set them apart from the crowd.
How would writing a book prove you’re a stand-out entrepreneur?
What would it mean for your business?
An entrepreneur has a knack for seeing opportunities and turning them into successful businesses.
So why not share your business expertise with the world in the form of a book?
There’s a lot to consider if you’re going to write a book, especially whether you should self-publish or not, but following certain steps will help make your book a success.
If you can write about specific needs for your customers, and you’d like to move beyond simply writing blog posts, you should write a book.
Entrepreneurs write books to establish themselves as the authority in their field. Authors are well-respected, and a published author is considered different from a writer. A lot of entrepreneurs are writers, but few are successful authors.
Entrepreneurs become authors because they might believe their ideas will stay around longer if they are published in print, rather than blog form, and will continue to make an impact even after they are finished running their business. According to Guy Kawasaki, “An entrepreneur should write a book after succeeding to help the next generation learn what to do.”
Although it seems like traditional print publishing is at death’s door, there are many different types of books, such as online material, PDFs, eBook downloads, and even audiobooks. So, don’t be afraid to write a book, as there are a number of nontraditional ways for readers to access your content!
Here are some reasons why every entrepreneur should write a book:
Now that you know the “why,” let’s get into the “how.”
If you’re serious about writing a book, you need to decide which publication route you’d like to take. You can go through a traditional publishing house or you can self-publish, which is becoming more and more common.
For traditional publishing, it’s a good idea to find an agent that deals with books in your genre to submit your work to publishers. Although you can send a book proposal directly to the publishing house, you might have more success using an agent because publishers trust that the proposals will be vetted. If an agent agrees to take you on as a client, you’ll have to send them sample chapters or, in some cases, a full manuscript. Then, the agent will work with you to make revisions and get the manuscript to the point where it is ready to try for approval from the publisher. If you sign with a publishing house, you’ll work with one of their editors to continue revising the book until it is ready for publication.
In order for a publisher to accept your book directly instead of enlisting the help of an agent, you’ll have to provide them with part or all of your manuscript. If they like what they read, they’ll offer you a contract, and you’ll then work with an editor to prepare your book for publication.
You’ll have to prepare your manuscript so that it’s formatted according to the agent’s or publisher’s requirements. If the publisher accepts your manuscript, you will need to sign a contract that allows them to publish your material. The publisher’s staff will handle everything regarding the publication of your book, including developmental editing, designing, illustrating, copy-editing, production management, distribution, marketing, promotions, and sales.
If you choose to self-publish, you won’t have as many constraints, as all decisions are up to you. However, you may have financial constraints as to how much you can allot to marketing, design, editing, etc.
Here are some of the drawbacks and benefits of self-publishing:
If you’re sold on the idea of self-publishing, here’s what you can do to get that fabulous book published and into people’s hands.
After hearing about all the benefits and methods of publishing, you may have decided that you definitely want to write a book. So now what?
You should spend some time identifying the main message you’d like to deliver. Then, think about who your ideal reader is and what major takeaways you want to provide for them.
Filling out this nonfiction voice and vision questionnaire can help you answer questions that will enable you to identify these aspects, and more, about your book. You should spend some time really thinking about the questions. If you have a great deal of difficulty filling out the answers or really pinning down your ideas, it’s a good idea to work with professionals to either help you write the book or polish your content.
If you want to write a book, but don’t even know where to start, hire a ghostwriter.
If you are not confident in your writing ability yet, a ghostwriter can interview you to gather all the information you want to include in the book. A good ghostwriter will be able to write the way you speak, so the text will sound like it’s coming from you instead of a different writer.
Don’t worry: You will be able to review everything along the way and make edits throughout the process.
If it’s important for you to physically write the book yourself, consider working with a writing coach instead.
A writing coach is someone who guides you through the writing process. This person helps the writer organize their project and set a completion date. They help with determining not only your writing voice but the right tone for your intended audience.
They can help you achieve your vision, in your own words, while also helping to instill effective writing habits. Writing coaches provide valuable feedback throughout the process, so you can continue to develop and improve upon your writing.
A writing coach can help you prioritize your goals, set weekly writing objectives, and improve your writing through constructive criticism. Once you determine if you need one, there are many ways to find a writing coach.
You can look for writing coaches in your milieu to make sure they’ll understand your subject matter and provide appropriate feedback.
Do you feel confident enough in your writing skills to work without a writing coach? Even so, it’s difficult to write a book as well as do all the editing and proofreading yourself.
Behind every great author is a great editor and proofreader. Even the most prolific authors have put their work through an editing process of some sort.
Using other professionals to help you flesh out and improve upon your content will get your book in tip-top shape before publication.
Structural, or developmental, editors take a big-picture view of your book. They review your manuscript as a whole to make sure the book works. This is a very time-consuming process, so it can also be expensive to hire someone to work on this for you.
These editors look at your book from a different perspective and let you know how the material can flow better. A structural editor’s work is broad, so they generally do not incorporate copy edits along the way. They are supposed to concentrate on the document as a whole instead of getting down to the nitty-gritty of grammatical errors, punctuation problems, and so on.
These editors work great once you have your very first draft.
Content editors check for style and voice consistency and make sure the verb tenses are correct.
They provide suggestions for how to make your content flow well and to better organize the sections. Content editors look at the entire piece as a whole to ensure that the order of the sections makes sense. These are the people you want to go to if you’re really looking for someone who can make sure your ideas sound great.
Writers and editors should ideally mesh well to have a healthy give and take, so try to find the best editor for your content and personality.
Proofreading is the final step in the process before preparation for publication. Proofreaders look for errors in grammar and punctuation, typographical errors, and style inconsistencies. They verify facts and sources. They check for the correct spelling of proper nouns, like the names of cities or products.
Proofreading is a last line of defense to make sure your book is as close to perfect as possible before releasing it to the masses.
As an entrepreneur, you know how to make your business succeed, and writing a book can be the perfect way to share your knowledge with eager readers and fellow entrepreneurs — and stand out from the crowd!
If you’re considering writing a book, ask yourself the following questions:
By asking yourself these questions, you’ll be able to figure out if publishing a book is right for you. But hey, even if you’re not entirely sure yet, what’s the harm in brainstorming some book ideas?
And if you’re ready to write a book, quit stalling and get crackin’! Your book isn’t going to write itself.
Melissa Lewis Grimm, ELS, graduated from Millersville University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She has worked as an editor and a marketing manager for a laboratory standards–developing organization, a proofreader for a nursing continuing education provider, and a journal manager for a scientific and medical publishing company. Despite Melissa’s work history, one of her lofty goals is to become a world-famous voiceover talent. Yes, you read that correctly! She loves spending time with her wonderful husband and adorable toddler.