If you settled down to read The Lord of the Rings hoping to find out about space flights to Mars and the colonisation of distant planets you would be very disappointed.
Likewise, if you cuddled up with Steven Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People looking for a series of quick-win, instant-fix tools you would also be disappointed.
Each book is unique, has its own message, style, method of communication and purpose for the reader and for the author.
Yet, when business owners have heard that they should write a book to turn themselves into an authority in their field they are presented with a simple one-size-fits-all template.
Now, I’ll come back to the mistaken notion that writing a book somehow magically turns you into an authority at another time… For now, let’s see what many of those who are seduced into cobbling together an ‘authority’ book do.
They go through a simple brainstorming, listing, mind-mapping process which elicits their knowledge together with some anecdotal incidents. Next they structure this brain-dump into discrete chapters and then write up their book (within anything between a seven- to thirty-day process) and get it published.
After this, it usually joins the mass of other business titles that disappear into the aether.
Usually, the resulting books are between 80 and 120 pages long. They use quite big print and lots of white space. They claim to be authoritative guides but only have the content of a large pamphlet. They merely regurgitate common information and approaches together with a sprinkling of personal anecdotes that add no real depth to the material.
In the business publishing world in recent years many, many authors have thought they were creating an ‘authority’ book when they were merely going through a basic information-giving process.
Now, don’t get me wrong—there is a place for books which are created using a relatively simple template in a rather brief period of time. But they are not authority books.
They are marketing-oriented little books.
If the authors had sat down to create a simple, powerful book that would deliver great results for the reader then the brain-dump could be harnessed much more powerfully.
These little books can act as great introductions to your existing business and raise interest in your own skills and expertise. At first they seem quite insignificant, but they can deliver real results for the reader.
The padded-out pamphlet pretending to be an authoritative guide to everything about a topic delivers only frustration for the reader.
Before you begin writing your book get clear on what kind of book you want to write.
- A little book that will be incredibly useful as a marketing tool and promotional tool for your existing business and services—sustaining your current business.
- An authority book that transforms the reader’s understanding of your field and delivers outstanding results for them, demonstrating your unique perspective and effectiveness—taking your business to the next level.
Just as there are places for The Lord of the Rings and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People there are places for the little marketing books and the meaty authority books.
Avoid the mistake so many other businesspeople make, of thinking they’re making one when they’re really doing the other…