Should This Really Be a Book?
Sean is a terrific business consultant. He can assess and fix difficult problems for small-business owners with ease. His skills have saved countless jobs and thousands of companies over the years. He would like to take his experience and know-how and put them in a book. But can he write? He has business and communication skills and can move mountains, but does that translate to the page? Can he transfer his knowledge in a written form that people want to read? Should he try to turn this own brand of success into a book? Should he be an author of a book or of a series of on-line video tutorials?
Ella has an amazing story to share. She worked as an emergency evacuator during the a nuclear meltdown crisis in the Far East. She has powerful stories of scores of people helping others in a time of crisis. She has the on-the-ground experience to share of how society and services work and fail to work during times of crisis. But can she write? Does this story and this information appeal to enough people? Should she be an author of a book or of a magazine article?
And me… I can tell a story like no one else. I can hold a hundred listeners captive in my breath and make a roomful of people laugh with a well-timed phrase. I know how to get a point across. But can I write? Can my tempo and style transfer to the page? Is my humor enough on paper? Should I be an author or a speaker?
I offer these examples to have us all consider whether or not what we have to say should be a book. In many cases, the answer is yes. But in MANY more cases, the answer is no. Ask yourself these questions:
- Have I worked for years to hone the craft of writing?
- Do I have a topic that deserves 200+ pages?
- Does the reading public WANT to read a book like mine? (Not “should they” but “do they”)
- Does my topic translate better on video or audio than on the page?
- Does my potential audience prefer information in smaller doses?
- Does my potential audience subscribe to or pay for information like mine already?
To have a successful book, the writing is the thing. Writing does not just happen because we have a great message and a fun delivery style. I can land a punch line beautifully, but I cannot write at the level needed to match the humor and fun found in my speeches.
To have a successful book, the topic is also the thing. Ella is a terrific lady, but her topic would not interest people for 200+ pages. Sean has a TON if information, but his audience would prefer video training and online webinars.
Not everyone should be an author. Not every topic deserves a book. Not every writer should be published. Pick your topic carefully, hone your skill and craft, get a terrific editor and then, only then, you can consider yourself an author.
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