Scott Hodge


Wanna Write a Book?

Jul 1, 2005

Wanna write a business book?  Church of the Customer folks, Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba, gives some great, practical advice in their June 26th podcast on some things you need to know before writing a business book.  Here they are…

Top Ten Things to Know Before Writing a Business Book

1.  You have to believe that you MUST write this book.

You have to believe that you are the only person who can write this book or that your story has never been told this way before.

2.   You need to have a good platform.

Publishers want to know how well known you are to an audience.  Are you the CEO or executive of a company?  Do you have a large following?  Do you have an email list or blog as a way to market your book?  Do you have a built in base of early adopters of your book?

3.  You will probably not get rich from writing a book. 

Advances are typically pretty small, royalty rates are typically between $1.00 – $1.50 per book based on a $24.00 retail book price. 

4.  Test your material before you turn in your manuscript or before you even write your proposal. 

Start speaking on the subject.  Start a blog!  Start seeing how people react to it.  If people are asking for more information, than that is a great idea for a book.

5.  You will need to write a proposal for your book.

This can be somewhat complicated…  This is sort of like a business plan for the book.  A traditional publisher is going to base their decision on whether or not to invest in your book on how well you investigate the market for your book, how many potential readers there are and whether or not there are any other books filling the need that your book hopes to fill. 

Book reference – Getting Your Book Published for Dummies

6.  Contrary to popular belief, you don’t always need an agent.

You can be discovered in a lot of ways.  A referrel from another author, a customer, or perhaps they might even be reading your blog!

7.  Assume you are fully responsible for the selling and marketing of your book.

Your marketing plan needs to begin at least 6-10 months before the launch of the book.  Keep the WOM (word of mouth) going!

8.  The book process is pretty long.

It may take 12-18 months to get your book published.  Self publishing is much faster, but then you are much more responsible for creating the artwork, marketing, etc…

9.  Some WOM needs to be built into your book.

Select a good title!  Be creative!  A marketing plan built into it that ties people back into your blog or website is a great idea. 

10.  You don’t need to get on Oprah to sell your book.

Chances are 1 in a billion that you’ll get on Oprah; so instead, find mini-Oprahs who can help spread the word about your book.  It worked for Freakanomics!

Now it’s YOUR turn.  All of you published (or soon to be) writers out there…  What would you add (or subtract) from this list?  Comment on!

2 Responses to “Wanna Write a Book?”

  1. Todd Ruth says:

    Hey Scott… found you blog off Tony Morgan’s blog. One thing to add… Have a team of people you know and trust read your drafts for relevancy on the topic and proofing mistakes. Thanks. Enjoy reading your blog.

  2. Great tips, I always keep myself looking for new tips and ways on how to improve my writing and one of my favorite mentor on learning how to write a book is Mark Victor Hansen, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

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