Are you overestimating the number of pages needed to write a book that successfully builds your personal brand? Many business owners and career-oriented employees who want to write a brand-building book think “too big,” “too comprehensive, and “too many pages.”
Too many brand-oriented individuals think in terms of their college textbooks, comprehensive compilations of every detail associated with a topic, rather focusing on pragmatic, easily-written, easily-implemented, advice-oriented guidebooks or handbooks.
And, as a result of thinking “too big,” they do nothing–and, as a consequence, their personal brand suffers. This is a tragedy, especially in light of recent publishing trends.
The trend today, is towards smaller, easier-to-read, more focused, action-oriented books!
Trend towards shorter, focused books
The trend towards smaller, more practical books is fueled by today’s pervasive lack of time. Nonfiction business readers–those who are the most likely prospects for the products and services you offer–are more time-conscious than leisure, or fiction, readers.
Business readers like books that can be read on airplanes and in airport waiting rooms.
Look at the books on display in the typical airport bookstore–which are responsible for significant amounts of book sales. For every copy of War and Peace-length books on display in the front of the store, there are likely to be dozens of focused “business tool” books like:
- Leadership titles like John C. Maxwell’s Make Every Day Count
- Marketing titles like Seth Godin’s Tribes
- Business fables like Burg and Mann’s The Go-Giver and Jeffrey J. Foxes Rain
- Customer behavior titles like Harry Beckwith’s What Clients Want
- Management titles like Bob Prosen’s Kiss Theory Good Bye
The above titles share many characteristics. All are smaller than most books. The chapters are shorter, the advice is more concise, and the tone is empathetic and conversational. They are books with chapters that can be enjoyed and digested during short reading sessions.
The market has spoken: style, brevity, focus, and easily-applied lessons are more important than length and in-depth coverage of every detail.
Advantages of short books
Books similar to the above offer win-win situations to everyone concerned–authors, publishers, and readers:
- Authors. Shorter, focused, books can be written, edited, and published in less time than longer, omnibus, volumes. Two, possibly, three books can be written and published as individual titles in a series, multiplying the author’s presence and search engine optimization visibility.
- Publishers. Shorter, more affordable, books not only appeal to a larger market than long, expensive books, they also represent less risk for the publishers. With less money at risk, they are more likely to accept book proposals and topic ideas.
- Readers. Readers, too, benefit. They can squeeze their reading in whenever they have a few moments, rather than scheduling “research time.” Brevity also makes important ideas and lessons easier to locate and easily implement. The actionable ideas clearly emerge, rather than being buried in unnecessary detail.
Consider all of your format alternatives
Avoid thinking bigger than you have to. Consider the advantages of writing a short, focused, book rather than an encyclopedia.
Take off the “textbook” blinders and write the type of practical brand-building book that’s in tune with what publishers and readers want!
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.