The best route to publishing success is to question your assumptions before you start to write your brand-building book.
Asking questions provides a “real world” test that helps you avoid the myopia that often undermines writing and brand-building publishing success.
Questions are a common denominator of accomplishment in just about every field, as the following quotations show:
Successful authors, inventors, and business leaders agree on the importance of questions as a prelude to accomplishment. For example:
- In Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life, Brian Tracy wrote: The very act of questioning opens your mind and expands your options. It increases your creativity and stimulates your imagination. Questioning enables you to think more effectively and reach better decisions.
- Jonas Salk, developer of the first Polio vaccine once stated: What people think of as the moment of discovery is really the discovery of the question.
- IBM president Thomas J. Watson agreed, The ability to ask the right question is more than half the battle of finding the answer.
- The authors of Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers wrote, Questions are firestarters: they ignite people’s passion and energy; they create heat; and they illuminate things that were previously obscure.
How to avoid writing the wrong book
The reason you have to begin writing your brand-building book by asking questions is not only to spark your creativity, but mainly to help you avoid writing the wrong book by starting off in the wrong direction.
As a coach, consultant, entrepreneur, or subject area expert, you know a lot about your subject. In addition, you probably know a lot about your market, your clients and prospective readers.
But, do you know enough?
Unless you question your assumptions, it’s easy to be lead astray by your enthusiasm, your experiences, and your point of view.
You may be so close to your topic and your ideas that you’re unable to evaluate them from your readers’ perspective.
Book titles and subtitles
The book title you like so much, for example, may make perfect sense to you, your family, and your close friends.
But, as they say, How will it play in Peoria?
Until you ask them, you’ll never know!
Plus, if you ask them, your prospective readers may come up with an even better title!
It’s very easy to enthusiastically write the you’re like to read…assuming that your prospective readers will want to read it, too. Not so!
What competing books?
Another myopia-induced problem that could cause a lot of delay and wasted efforts is failing to adequately analyze your book’s competition.
Authors who focus on writing, to the exclusion of fully analyzing the competition their book will face from other books on the market, are taking a chance that they might inadvertently write a book that duplicates a currently-available book.
And, what about your goals?
Writing a book to get your ideas into print is great, but, how are you going to profit from it?
- Are your assumptions realistic? Are you expecting a big advance and years of royalties? Are you expecting face-out display on retail shelves throughout the country?
- Are you assuming that your book has to be the definitive treatment of the topic? Or, would a smaller, more focused, less-expensive book help you get published sooner and do a better job of building your personal brand?
- Are you assuming that you have to write every word in your book yourself? What are some of the alternatives? What kind of help should you be looking for?
There’s nothing wrong with passion, but…
Passion, enthusiasm, and success often go hand-in-hand. But, occasionally, passion and enthusiasm lead authors into trouble. Questioning your assumptions by asking questions before you start to write your brand-building book can save you a lot of unnecessary stress and time. Asking questions also opens the door to new ideas and options, contributing to your publishing success by helping you write a better brand-building book.