Beware of paradoxical contentment!
Things to avoid when writing your business book—Part Three
One of the more subtle, yet most commonplace of rookie author errors is the creation of internal paradoxes within a narrative. This is not necessarily the story-based paradox that is frequently involved in time-travel fiction, but a paradox of logic.
For instance, the phrase…
Don’t do what you are told
…creates a paradox. To do what you are told, you cannot not do what you are told. When you do not do as you are told, you are doing what you are told! And so on.
This is an obvious example, yet so many authors, particularly when it comes to business books, create more convoluted forms of paradox.
These transition from the very mild—yet very damaging—telling your reader not to do a thing that you then proceed to do yourself, to complex and hard to detect paradoxes.
The challenge created by every paradox—unless you are using them knowingly—is they undermine your authenticity as an author and business person. This is because paradoxes highlight gaps in your own expertise, logic or self-awareness.
- The self-proclaimed pioneer who just does what everybody is doing.
- The sales guru, who fails to sell their readers.
- The authority in their field, who writes without authority in their book.
Here are some actual instances of the narrative paradox—can you spot them?
A Selection of Tweets…
Are you giving too much value? Don’t give people advice they haven’t asked for.
Where there is light there can be no darkness.
I can imagine haha any1 can write a book now cause 2days world we tak authority(author) as truth instead vice-versa [sic]
58 Experts Share their Best Personal Branding and Authority Tips…
Several times per year, I do something that is difficult and original. There are three of them:
- Publish a book
- Run a conference
- Do original research
I’ve done each of these for years. They all started small, but they’ve gotten easier (and bigger) over time. The book, Content Chemistry, is in it’s fourth edition. This was the fifth year for our conference, Content Jam. The research, our Survey of 1000+ Bloggers, was just published for the third time.—Andy Crestodina
But in order to reach this level of influence, you have to be known and on people’s minds regularly. You have to be everywhere at once… We know exactly where our target market is and we go there. —James McAllister
The New Pioneers, by Tania Ellis…
Einstein’s famous quote: ‘No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it’, says it all: the finance, environmental and social challenges of the 21st Century cannot be met with solutions based on 20th Century mindsets, models and designs.
Inspirational Book Writing, by Dave Thompson…
This is a book written in my unique tone and conversational style. I don’t know anyone that reads 18th century [sic] English literature, so I may not always follow the perfectly proper conventions of spelling and grammar. Honestly, I’m not fussed about it—the message you hold in your hands is FAR more important than a missing full stop 😉 [sic]
Communication Mastery, by Zayne Parker
[The first paragraph of the first chapter]
In this first chapter, we have given you a lowdown on the importance of being a good communicator and in the subsequent chapter we have covered the above-mentioned 50 techniques in a detailed and comprehensive manner.
The textuality paradox is not merely a slip of narrative tongue; it is a demonstration of how your professional expertise is diminished by your lack of authoring skills.
There are powerful, noble and transformative ideas beneath the text, but the act of writing from own’s own perspective, rather than authoring with an understanding of what it is to be the reader, develops the paradox.
And, whilst most will not notice the paradox consciously, somewhere inside they will feel uneasy—and this sensation will be linked to your writing, your brand and your business.
The Kara Sutra is the Author’s Way of using the written word as a powerful tool (from the Sanskrit Kara, author/creator, and Sutra, law). A tool that impacts the reader and transforms their lives in some way.
In this series of blogs, author and ghost writer, Martyn Pentecost, explores the foundations of authoring through a series of Author Laws… The Kara Sutra.