At Maven, one of our favorite things about working with other small business owners is the fact that each one brings his or her unique entrepreneurial spirit and creativity to the project. After all, every business owner has a different story to tell, and there are infinite ways in which to tell those stories. This makes our jobs as publishers so much fun because we believe there is no “right” or “wrong” way to write a book.
A recent example of one of our authors getting creative with a book project is Modmacro CEO Matthew Smith and his soon-to-be-released third book, Simple Business Advice (available on Amazon and at other major online retailers June 1, 2017). There are many aspects of this book that make it stand out, but one thing we love about it is that Smith included so many other business owners in the creation of it.
Guest Contributors Take the Pressure Off the Author
The idea for Simple Business Advice actually came out of a series of articles Smith wrote for this very publication. Each article contained brief, actionable (and yes, simple) advice that would apply to almost any business owner. Because Smith wrote the articles based on his experiences and opinions, he has always been aware that there are other business owners out there who may disagree with his advice or who have completely different experiences regarding the same topics.
Creating a one-sided opinion column was great for Businessing Magazine, but when it came time to turn those articles into a book, Smith wanted a more well-rounded perspective. In order to accomplish this, he solicited contributions from a handful of other business owners in his network, and then added their comments to the ends of certain chapters. He even put a few guest chapters in the book in order to cover some topics that he wouldn’t have otherwise touched on.
In addition to bringing fresh perspectives to the book and thereby allowing it to reach an even wider audience, bringing in guest contributions took some of the pressure off Smith. Writing a book can seem daunting, but if you know other people will be writing pieces of it, then it’s a little less intimidating. If the fear of writing is holding you back from telling your business’s story, see if there’s a way to get creative and have others contribute to it. You may find that your fear disappears or is at least greatly lessened!
Sponsorships Help Defer Costs
Another way Smith included other business owners in the making of Simple Business Advice was through sponsorships. The following businesses and organizations helped Smith make the book a reality:
- VitalChurch Ministry: An experienced team of pastors who are called to the unique ministry of revitalizing churches through times of transition or crisis.
- M. Grisafe Architects: An architectural design firm providing residential and commercial design services in Long Beach, Irvine, Signal Hill, Los Alamitos, and nearby.
- Lil’ Chit-Chat Speech and Language Therapy: Partnering with Southern California families to provide premier, in-home pediatric speech and language services
- AV Programming Associates: Certified Crestron programming, design support, lighting programming, and Crestron system evaluations in San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles County.
- BM Windows San Diego: Top rated supplier and installer of replacement windows and doors in the San Diego area. Guiding the process from consultation to project completion.
Getting a book written and published isn’t free, and for some people, the cost can be a deal-breaker. Sponsorships are a way to defer publishing costs while also supporting other small businesses in the community or in your network.
Illustrations and Graphics Add an Element of Fun
Finally, one of my favorite features of Simple Business Advice is the fact that many of the chapters include illustrations, all created by Todd Simpson of Simpson Creative. The illustrations have added such a unique quality to the book, and they’ve given it character (literally—you’ll see the same character in each illustration) that it wouldn’t have otherwise had. The advice in the book is serious advice, but the illustrations lighten the tone and make the book feel more like a conversation than a lecture.
It has been fun having Todd participate so fully in one of our book projects. He has designed many of our authors’ book covers, but to have him involved with the actual content of the book was a new experience for him and for us. Seeing his visual interpretations of the various chapters has even made me read them in a different way, which has been an especially cool surprise.
No Need to Wait Until the Book Is Written
All authors will tell you: No book is a solo effort. There are many people involved in the production end of any book, from lighthearted beach reads to academically researched biographies to informative business books. What most authors won’t tell you is that you can start involving others long before the writing is finished, and that’s only because most authors don’t realize it themselves.
Don’t go it alone if you don’t want to! As you will see in Simple Business Advice, there are many creative ways to include others in your book project. Doing so will almost certainly take some of the pressure off of you as the author, and it will give you an opportunity to turn your book into a mutually beneficial project for everyone involved. You are limited only by your imagination!
If you’re writing a business book and looking for ideas on how to include others in the process, reach out to us! We’d love to brainstorm with you and help you come up with some creative options. Getting started is the hardest part, but if you know you’ll have other people joining you, it makes it much easier, and much more fun.