I re-organized my books in my office in the Sanctuary recently – that’s my barn there in the picture – we call it our Sanctuary. As I was going through nearly 1000 books, I reserved an entire bookcase for those traditionally and self-published books you readers have sent me. I love seeing the personal passions put between two covers. But more than the value of the stories themselves is the value of having moved through all the steps to complete a book. That goal-setting, perseverance, and self-discipline puts in place a system you can use to more easily attain success in any area of life – for the rest of your life. Even if the book sells only 25 copies you can use the process as a foundation for new successes in many other areas.
But please be clear about your purpose for writing a book. Just because the technology is easy and there are no barriers to becoming an “author,” don’t just kill trees or clog the internet with a book that serves no clear purpose. Since 2007, the number of self-published titles hitting the marketplace has gone up five-fold. According to the New York Times “most self-published books sell fewer than 100 or 150 copies.” The average U.S. book (regardless of how it’s published) is now selling fewer than 250 copies per year and fewer than 3,000 copies over its lifetime.
If you’re okay with those odds, go for it. If you want to increase your odds, then please read Guy Kawasaki’s book APE: How to Publish a Book. It will save you from yourself and that obscurity.
I save some choice quotations for some of the books I see –
“This is not a book that should be tossed lightly aside. It should be hurled with great force.”
“Thank you for sending me a copy of your book – I’ll waste no time reading it.”
What I have here is not a book outline or a proposal guideline, but it is a needed overview I suggest you complete before you publish your book. These are questions I ask before responding to the many requests I get for forewords and endorsements.
Before You Begin…
Why do you want to write this book? What is your compelling purpose?
Positioning as an expert
What makes you an authority in this area of content?
Who are you writing this book for? Describe the person that will read it.
What need will the book address and how will the book benefit the reader?
How has your message already been said? What’s unique and remarkable about your message?
There is nothing totally new
How does being an author fit in your overall career?
Support of other career goals
If you can answer those questions to your complete satisfaction, then by all means write your book. It can expand your credibility as a speaker, coach, artist, musician, pastor or stay-at-home mom, even if it never becomes a “bestseller.”
A whole lot of you just purchased our Write to the Bank package. That tells me you really do want this to be more than an average success. Please keep me posted on your progress and the finished product.