Establish yourself as an expert. Increase credibility. Attract a following.
Will this help you move your career forward?
Entrepreneur Brian Marcel has had a wildly successful career. As one of the founders of the barcode industry, his work helped shaped the world we live in today.
He is, by any measure, an expert in his field.
Others in his industry recognized his expertise, and for years they asked him to write a book about it. They saw others pass away, and their knowledge died with them. They hoped Brian would capture his experiences and the lessons he learned in a book.
But Brian thought no one would be interested by his work in a tiny niche! He failed to grasp how broad his knowledge was, how compelling his story could be, and how much the general public could gain from him.
This very common self-perception has stopped way too many talented businesspeople from sharing their knowledge in book form. Maybe it’s stopped you. Perhaps you’ve thought, “No one will be interested in what I have to say.”
As someone who’s helped dozens of businesspeople write inspiring and noteworthy books, here are some of the common roadblocks I’ve helped them overcome.
Can you relate to any of these?
Roadblock #1: I feel like my knowledge appeals to too narrow an audience.
For Brian, having grown up in a niche industry, he thought only a handful of people would be interested in what he had to say. But authors from niche industries write great books all the time! The question is this: How do you maximize your book’s potential?
First, know that being “specific” is good. It helps you speak directly to those who are most interested in what you have to say.
Plus, specificity is helpful for marketing. A clearly defined audience translates into a clearly defined marketing plan. You’ll be able to find those you want to reach through industry publications, podcasts, radio shows, blogs, and events.
However, general principles will nearly always emerge from your writing. It’s sometimes hard for authors to see the broader application of their experience.
Authors need an outside perspective. When working on your book, you need to find someone with a talent for seeing the bigger picture. That’s where I come in. Read on to discover how that works.
Roadblock #2: I don’t have any principles to share, just a story to tell.
If you’ve had any success, your story will reveal general principles that could apply far beyond your life and experience.
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The way authors discover these principles is by breaking their story into problem/solution sets using BookMAP™ 2. Each chapter title will reveal a problem the author solved. Once identified, the solutions and the stories will flow from there.
Brian thought his knowledge was too industry-specific, but here are some of his chapter titles that apply to every business owner:
- Begin with a Plan
- Hire the Best People
- Focus on Process
- Look for New Markets
- How to Survive in the Market without Sales
As you can see, these are universal principles that emerged as Brian worked on the structure for his book. Anyone in business can relate!
That’s why it’s vital to spend time on your book’s structure first. Don’t cut corners. If you skip ahead, you’ll confuse yourself and, eventually, your readers.
Roadblock #3: I know what principles work, but I don’t have an exciting story.
A lot of business book authors tell me they can’t think of any good stories. But I’ve found this: If you’ve experienced a problem, then discovered the solution, there’s a story you can tell.
Here’s the formula for a great story:
- What it used to be like
- What happened
- What it’s like now
During the second module of the book writing course, “Write without Ruts,” I teach my authors how to write a great story. I show them how to write in scenes and invoke sensory language so readers can truly experience what the writer experienced. It’s something anyone can learn how to do.
When we move to the third module of our book writing process, “Polish and Perfect”, magic happens. So many of the writers I work with are shocked at how well they can write!
(For more inspiration, read this story about self-proclaimed non-writer Terry Lammers.)
Roadblock #4: What if I give away too much information, and no one wants to hire me?
You may want to write a business book because you’re a consultant with great information to share. You realize you need a book for credibility. Still, you fear if you lay out your knowledge, you’ll devalue your services as a consultant.
I tested this one out for you. I wrote a book called Stop Stalling and Start Writing: Kick the Excuses and Jumpstart Your Nonfiction Book. I put my whole process in that book. I gave everything away.
But I’ve seen that giving my knowledge away doesn’t make me unnecessary. It establishes me as the expert I am. Not only that, but my book has also served as:
- A sales tool
- Something people can buy when they can’t afford my services
- Fodder for my seminars, keynote speeches, and online courses
- Material for articles, interviews, and blog posts
Listen—there’s no need to have an attitude of scarcity when it comes to your knowledge. There’s enough for everyone. Share, and it will come back to you.
Roadblock #5: What if my ideas are too “vanilla?”
I’ve worked with writers who have authored books on very similar topics. In fact, three of my clients are podiatrists, and it’s hard to believe three podiatrists have something wildly different to say.
I’m here to report that each of those books is uniquely fascinating.
The difference in your book is you. It’s your experiences, your language, and what you’ve gleaned from others that will make your book enjoyable. But that’s not all.
A well-defined target audience will help you create interest. Imagine you’re a financial planner. Most financial planners have similar knowledge, so you spend time thinking about what group of people other financial planners haven’t reached. You think, What if I write my book for resident physicians?
These are people who haven’t earned much money—at least, not yet. They don’t know what you know, and no one has spoken directly to their needs or situation.
Maybe you could help them.
Because, in just a few years, those residents will have large incomes that will need expert management. If your book reached them when they had nothing, maybe they’ll call when they have so much money, they don’t know what to do with it!
Don’t worry about uniqueness. Your book’s individuality will reveal itself as you engage in the process.
You can write a great business book.
Businesspeople, experts, entrepreneurs: You know more than you think. You have something to say, even if you don’t feel like it. If you’ve made a life for yourself, you have something to teach others.
A book can do a lot for you. It can:
- Establish you as an expert
- Increase your credibility
- Help you attract a following
But it’s rare to find a person who can do all of this without some help. If you want to work on and finish a business book that can stand shoulder to shoulder with anything on the market, we should talk.