Lately, I’ve been having a lot of conversations about what I do for a living. Some of them have been with strangers I’ve met while out and about (the typical “What do you do?” conversation), and others have been with friends who know that I own a publishing company, but don’t know much about it and want to learn more about what I do.
Whether in an encounter with a person I’ve never met before or in a deeper conversation with an old friend, this topic has led me to an important realization: There are a lot of misconceptions about the publishing industry and how books get made.
Many small business owners I meet love the idea of becoming published authors, and many seem to understand that books can be powerful marketing tools for their businesses. The problem is: Most don’t know where to begin, and even the ones who manage to get started usually become quickly overwhelmed and discouraged once they realize how much is involved in the process.
I’m here to demystify it for you! This article is the first in a series that breaks down the book creation process piece by piece. My goal is that by the end of the series, you’ll realize that if you want to write a book for your business, you absolutely can —you can tackle each individual stage one at a time, and there is help available at every turn.
Surveys have shown that the vast majority of Americans believe they have at least one book in them, yet fewer than 10% ever finish a first draft of a manuscript. Not only do I want you to be part of that 10%, but I also want to see your business’s story published so it can become the enormous marketing tool it has the potential to be.
Your Business Book in Four Stages
The book creation process breaks down into four main stages:
- Editing/Book Design
- Cover Design
As the author, you are ultimately responsible for all of these tasks. After all, your name will be on the cover, and you will be representing your business via your book. You’ll want to make sure each piece of the book is up to your standards.
At the same time, don’t be intimidated by the pieces that you don’t know how to do—experts are ready to help you out at each step along the way. In fact, I recommend you contract some of these tasks out entirely. For example, both editing and cover design require specific skillsets that most business owners don’t have and don’t have time to learn. So, although you’ll want the final say in each stage, you do not have to do the heavy lifting.
Planning Ahead: Set Yourself Up For Success
One thing that contributes to business owners getting overwhelmed and burning out before making much progress on their book ideas is that they jump into writing without first making a plan. You won’t be able to have every detail planned out and scheduled before you begin, but it’s crucial to have a general roadmap of the process so that you don’t get lost in any one stage.
First (and this may seem obvious, but it’s important), you need to decide what your book will be about. Presumably, it will be about your business, but there are many different angles you can take. Do you want to highlight a particular process or philosophy that sets your company apart from others? Do you want to tell your business’s story, from its beginnings to present day? Do you want to educate your customers on a product or service that is unique to your company?
Once you know what you’re trying to communicate, you should decide what format you want to use. For larger topics, a full-length (120+ pages) book might make the most sense. For something more specific, like an in-depth product feature, for example, a shorter e-book with lots of beautiful graphics and photos might be the answer. Maybe you want to create a series of books that will eventually become a resource library for your customers.
Deciding on your topic and your format before you even write a word will help make the writing process go much more smoothly. Without those two major decisions made, you are likely to write aimlessly, jumping around from topic to topic, with no clear end vision. That’s a recipe for frustration and an overall feeling of being lost. It’s certainly not conducive to finishing a book, or even really starting one.
Help At Every Stage
The next article in this series will focus on writing and some different ways you can approach this task. If you’re thinking, “I’m not a good writer. I can’t write a book,” I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. With the right people with the right skills in your corner, you’d be amazed and what you can accomplish!
Stay tuned. I hope this will be a truly enlightening series, and I hope it inspires you to try something you may have previously thought was out of your reach.
Remember—you’re not alone at any stage of the process, including the pre-writing planning phase discussed in this article! If writing a book for your business is on your to-do list for this year, don’t wait. Get in touch with us at Maven today so we can help get you started on the right foot.