Why Write a Book?
Why write a book? is a question many speakers, coaches and trainers ask themselves. Does writing a book really make a difference? Hasn’t everything already been said? With the amount of work it takes to write, is it really worth it? Also, what should you write about?
There are no cut and dry answers to those questions. Let’s apply some of the same questions to songwriting as I think it will help focus on the value of creating new work. Will a new song make a difference? Yes, it can. We hear different songs most every day that touch us in new ways. The effort it takes to craft and produce the song brings value to both the songwriter and also to the listening audience. The fact that life is ever changing and evolving gives composers and innovators additional topics to write about or new ways to approach a subject to reach an entirely new audience.
Most everything has been said or written about already, and even though there are cultural shifts, many of the principles are the same. Creatively expressing those principles to a expanding worldwide audience is an invigorating task for creatives. Technology is now moving exponentially (see: Tech Trends from Deloitte Insights) which creates new and innovative subjects to communicate about. Formats including audio books, video books and even virtual reality are all now within grasp. If you are seriously considering the question why write a book, spending time with three basic why principles will help you determine how or if it will benefit you and your business. The fourth will briefly the how, to cover what it takes to write and finish a book.
One: A Book Helps You Gain Credibility
Depending on the subject and genre, writing a book sets you up as an authority or expert in your field. However, be prepared to do the work and research. Depending on your emphasis and focus, taking the time to gather what may not be commonly known, or understood opens the opportunity to communicate in a way that can set you apart from your competitors.
Today, most anyone can hang an expert sign on their door, especially with boosted profiles on social media. But that will only get you so far. A true thought leader provides additional research and opinion to either add to what has been said before or to say it in a different way. I believe thought leaders will be the future experts that will stand out from the crowd of wannabes. This is already true in many circles.
Thought leaders do their research, write and speak. They are not afraid to share their opinions and new ideas. They will take risks, though calculated, to bring new thoughts and communication to their audiences. When putting those thoughts into a white paper or a book, they establish their authority and leadership in a particular field. Thus, a book helps you gain credibility.
Two: A Book Will Solidify Your Message
The process of writing a book hones your message down to consumable bites but cutting it down takes work! Explaining your thoughts for a book doesn’t merely take dictating a speech for transcription. It involves creating an outline and flow that is easy to read and ingest.
Easy is the key. Our world is busy and there are many that don’t read. I was surprised to hear one of our son’s friends say she had never really read a physical book all the way through. It’s hard to understand how anyone can get through school without reading, but this is the downfall of our education system. (which is a subject for another episode!) This fact will always be a puzzle to me and probably to most of my baby-boomer generation. However, we need to work around this to reach a wider audience.
A current book comes in many forms. I believe there will always be a market for print, just as receiving anything by snail-mail in your physical mailbox is still a wonderful treat. Especially if it’s not junk mail. I love sending cards and postcards and they’re usually well-received. The market for audio books is growing in popularity. In 2020, market size was 3.3 billion USD. Forecast for 2027 is 15 billion USD. That’s a 24.4% growth and should encourage every author to not only write but record their book. A good resource for DIYers who are interested in recording an audiobook is the Audiobook Creation Exchange, or ACX.com.
Three: A Book Can Impact a Wide Audience
Most distribution channels will make your book available world-wide when it is released, especially if in multiple versions. This means you can connect all areas of media, cross-promoting on your blog or podcast, for increased avenues of impact.
In 2020, the global E-book market size was USD 16,100 million. It is projected the market size will increase by 15.7% during 2021-2026 to USD 38,560 million. This trend has increased partially to the growth of digital education and immersive learning systems. It’s also been aided by environmental protection campaigns by governments around the globe to save trees by reducing the use of paper.
E-books are also extremely portable for travel and accessibility. Personally, my husband and I both love physical books and own a lot of them. However, when simplifying and eventually downsizing we will gradually repurpose many of them—which won’t be easy! Fortunately, our local library still accepts donations. However, the process of opening the cover of a physical book still holds the joy of discovery for me.
Four: The Basics of What it Takes to Write a Book
There are complete books written on what it takes to write a book and a multitude of coaching programs available, but here I will cover a few basics. Before you even start writing any text, write down your main idea. This sounds logical, but you need to get specific. If you have one main principle or thought you want your readers to leave with, what would it be? This may be your hardest step because it’s much easier to be very general for a wide audience. However, take the time to state your main idea very clearly and succinctly for a specific audience. It will help you with the consistency of your complete outline.
Next, create a rough draft outline of your chapters or subjects. They should all support your main idea. There is no harm in expanding your ideas for each of the outlined areas. At this point, you may consider hiring a developmental editor. Some editors like to be involved in the complete process and they will walk you through all of this with their own step-by-step program. A developmental editor can be helpful for both fiction and nonfiction writers. They will help you improve your big picture story elements.
A line editor or copy editor will help you solidify the technical aspects of your manuscript. Most every magazine article, news article or even advertisement has a copy editor on board. Hiring any type of editor will require rewriting. Depending on the shape of your manuscript, a copy editor may make many of the tweaks for you, which is well-worth the investment. Thinking through some of this may make some of you pursue hiring a ghostwriter, but I encourage you to get the help you need and write!
Don't Rush the Process
I’m all about goals and deadlines. However, I have also learned how important reasonable timelines are. It’s easy to rush projects when you want to be done, and I’ve been guilty of this is the past. Give yourself enough time and space to enjoy the process. Writing a book is tremendously rewarding, especially as people start reading your words and applying the principles.
I really enjoyed writing my most recent book, The Summit, though it wasn’t easy. Developing the characters in a fictional book was most like developing the characters in writing a musical, which also wasn’t easy. Similarly, the process of cutting sections that weren’t needed was involved in producing my original musicals. There are so many different types of books, so don’t limit yourself. You may even want to focus on your family’s ancestry. See the interview with Wayne Haston on discovering your family history. It’s fascinating what he is doing and it has created a wonderful focus for his second half of life. So get out that pen and paper and start writing!
Don't rush your timeline just for the sake of being 'done.'
Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author
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