When I was five years old, do you know what I wanted? I wanted to be six. When I was six, I’d get to go to school like the big kids. Then, when I was six, I wanted to be seven so I wouldn’t be a lowly first grader anymore. I wanted to hurry, hurry, hurry things along, and this awful pattern continued for much of my life. Even before I created The Book Professor, I was always rushing to the next thing, the next milestone, the next point on my life journey.
Writing and publishing a high-quality, professional book takes time, too. Some writing coaches suggest that you can write your book in ninety days, or in one month, or even in a weekend. That’s not my approach. It takes a lot of thought and effort to construct a quality product, and that takes time.
Because of my work as The Book Professor, people I’ve just met often give me books they’ve written. It’s not unusual for me to receive several in a week. I’m always amazed when people write a book. I know how hard it is and how much effort it takes, and the authors are always very, very proud of their work. I congratulate these people for seeing the project through from start to finish and tell them that they’ve accomplished something that very few people ever do. I make sure they know how impressed I am with their dedication to the effort.
What I don’t tell them, however, is what I think about their book. I’ve been given more crappy books than life should allow. The covers look like a child designed them, the type is in a fourteen-point font, and the text is double-spaced to make the book longer. These people have no clue how to organize their material into deliverable containers that readers can absorb, and their messages aren’t sharp and clear. What they intended to produce was a book that would increase their credibility, but what they actually produced completely killed it. And they don’t even know it. A book is not a book is not a book.
Take time for all things: great haste makes great waste.
Publishing is an industry, and an old one at that. There are standards and conventions that must be followed. I can spot an amateur book across the room, and I always feel sad for authors who didn’t take the time to present themselves in a professional light. It doesn’t have to be that way. If you work with us at The Book Professor I won’t allow you to produce a book that won’t represent you well. You don’t have to know anything about publishing-leave it to the pros to make you look better than you can on your own.
Whether you write a crappy book or a great book, you’re going to pour a lot of time, energy, emotion, and money into it. You might as well do it right and produce something that’s a credit to your name. The truth is, it takes about a year for a first-time author to write a decent book. You can incorporate tools that help you work more efficiently, but you just can’t shortcut the process. My point is this: I don’t subscribe to the write-a-book-in-a-hurry method because it wastes time, energy, and dollars, and it ultimately produces a substandard product.
Take Your Time
One thing you have going for you is that you’re writing nonfiction, and nonfiction has longevity. Unlike fiction, which has about a ninety-day window to success, nonfiction has a long shelf life, especially if you handle the material well. So what’s the hurry? If your book can be relevant for ten or twenty years, why not pull yourself out of the slap-it-together crowd and do it right? Accept it and be OK with it: It’s going to take you a year to write your book.
There’s something that comes into play during that year, and it’s a phenomenon that occurs in most of the writers I work with. It’s puzzling to some but profound to others, and I think it’s part of the magic that happens when you step into this journey. Here’s the truth: while you’re working on your book, your book is working on you.
If you or someone you know is ready to share your story, contact us at The Book Professor and we can help you with the next step!