If you’re not writing a book to build your personal brand, you should be! The rewards of publishing a book for personal branding have been extensively documented.
But, don’t feel bad; you’re not alone in your desire to write a book, but, lack of progress getting published.
According to a recent study quoted in an article by literary agent Arielle Ford in the Huffington Post, over 82% of Americans plan to write a book someday.
Most Americans plan to write a book, but don’t. Meanwhile, others earn millions from their books.
Where are all the books?
This begs the question: knowing, as we all do, that a published book is the Number 1 way to build your personal brand and promote your business, why aren’t more books being written?
We’re all familiar with the common, “knee jerk,” reasons, i.e.:
- I don’t have the time
- I’m not a good enough writer
- I don’t know where to start
- I tried, and it didn’t work out
- There’s too much competition
- Publishers aren’t signing new authors
I hear these, and other, comments every day. All contain an element of truth. But, all of the above objections can be successfully addressed and overcome.
After interviewing hundreds of authors for Published & Profitable and Jay Conrad Levinson’s Guerrilla Marketing Association, I have interviewed too many successfully branded authors to accept lack of time or lack of writing ability as a valid excuse for not writing a book.
Lack of time and lack of writing ability are not valid excuses for failing to write a personal brand-building-book
There are simply too many workarounds available.
“But, how can I possibly write a book? I just about flunked English.”
The above statement is the problem in a nutshell!
From my perspective as a writing coach with an interest in helping subject area experts write nonfiction books for personal branding, I feel that the way writing is taught in high schools and colleges may be partly to blame for the appalling number of brand-building-books that are not being written.
Few “traditional” English and “creative writing” classes address the practical aspects of writing
I have interviewed numerous successful authors who have created million dollar with their books who do not consider themselves “creative” or “natural writers.”
Instead, they took the time to master a process that worked for them. In addition, they surrounded themselves by people who could help them write their books.
As a result, they were, and are, being rewarded, earning millions from the presence and reputation their books created for them. They didn’t try to “out-Hemmingway” Hemmingway, or out-write Malcolm Gladwell. They didn’t try to be creative. They let their knowledge, expertise, and passion speak for itself, building their brands.
Don’t measure your ability to write by academic standards; instead, ask yourself, “Do I know and love my topic?” and “Am I passionate about sharing my expertise with others?”
Newspapers and writing success
Compared to a traditional academic environment, newspapers are the trenches where the work gets done.
Newspapers are where stories have to be written according to tight deadlines. Newspaper reporters don’t have time to be creative or inspired, and they don’t have time for stress and writer’s block.
Two of the major influences on my writing have been writing coaches for newspapers: Don Murray for the Boston Globe and Jack Hart, for the Portland Oregonian.
Both were pragmatists who responded to the challenge of empowering daily writing by providing a process, or system, for nonfiction authors to follow. Both wrote as pragmatists who emphasized the importance of having a writing process:
- Jack Hart’s book is A Writing Coach: A Complete Guide to Writing Strategies that Work. In conversation and in print, Jack addresses the self-defeating and stress-building pressures of trying to emulate writers who have spent their entire lives writing, and–as an antidote–outlines a more pragmatic process.
- There’s also a new Don Murray book coming out this week, The Essential Don Murray: Lessons from America’s Greatest Writing Teacher. I was lucky enough to know Don; this book is going to synthesize his dozens of previous books and columns about writing.
Either, or, preferably, both of the above books will provide you with the “learnable skills” you need to overcome the damage you–like me–may have experienced when you were told you weren’t a “good enough” or “creative enough” writer because you couldn’t diagram sentences or made common grammatical and spelling errors.
My 30+ books have sold over a million copies, but I still can’t diagram a sentence!
Compounding the tragedy of unrealistic expectations
Once a book enters a publisher’s domain, there are numerous writing resources available, i.e., developmental and grammatical editors, proofreaders, etc., that can rescue even the most hurriedly-written manuscript.
Today, there’s no reason not to write a brand-building-book if you want to. Help is always available, before and after you sign on the dotted line.
The rewards–as well as the learnable skills required to plan, write, promote, and profit from a book–have been well documented. All that’s needed is your commitment and the confidence to move forward. Are you ready?
In an increasingly personal brand-conscious world, it’s imperative that you don’t let your expertise go unnoticed!
Roger C. Parker is a “32 Million Dollar Author,” book coach, and online writing resource. His 38 books have sold 1.9 million copies in 35 languages around the world. The NY Times called his Looking Good in Print “…the one to buy when you’re buying only one!” Roger has interviewed hundreds of successfully branded authors and shares what he’s learned at Published & Profitable and his daily writing tips blog.