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By William Ballard
I both ghostwrite books for people and coach people through writing their own books. I firmly believe that writing a book and getting it published, and even sold, is a truly satisfying activity.
It’s not, however, for everyone.
I also know that lots of people start books for all the wrong reasons. The usual result is disappointment and frustration because the book never gets finished, or if it does get finished, it doesn't bring in the desired results that the writer and author had for it.
The following are four reasons you probably shouldn't write a book:
1) “Everyone” Says You Should Write a Book About Your Life
Not many writers and authors will tell you this, but I truly believe that everyone has a great story (or book) in them waiting to be written and shared with the world.
And I am sure that many of you have heard some folks say, “You should write a book!”, after sharing with them brief excerpts of your life story. Flattering, yes, but the chances are the person telling you this has no idea at all what’s involved in writing a book.
The truth is, getting a book written is a heck of a lot of work and if you don’t feel pretty much compelled to turn your story, idea, experience, etc. into a book, the chances are you’ll get started but will become weighed down and never finish it. This is true even if you hire a ghostwriter or coach. While these experts can help, they can’t do it without a lot of work on your part as well.
Search within yourself and see if you really want to write a book – if you do, fine, but if you don’t it’s probably better to leave it alone, at least for now.
2) Promoting Your Business or Yourself is the Only Reason You Want to Have a Book
While a book can be an ideal promotional or marketing tool for you and/or your business, if that’s your only reason for writing it, chances are you won’t finish it or it won’t be really worth reading. Again, you’ve got to have something to sustain you during the writing process and that’s usually a passion about for what you are writing.
Of course, you can hire a ghostwriter (like me) to do a promo book for you, but if you aren’t intimately involved with the writing by taking time to talk with your ghostwriter, and to read and edit every chapter, chances are it won’t reflect enough about you to actually engage your potential readers.
I can’t prove it, but my hunch is a poor book will do you and your business more harm than good.
3) You’re Not Willing to Market Your Book
Although I suppose there are a few books that fly off the shelves with no marketing effort on the part of the writer, don’t count on it! These days writing the book is just the beginning. You’ve also got to market it, or hire people to market it for you – which can get expensive, although it can work.
Obviously, this is true for self-publishing, but it’s also true for writers who land contracts with traditional publishers. Unless you’re already famous, publishers want someone who can help them sell the book.
Marketing is key to the sales of a book – being willing to market it, or at least help market it, is key to the success of your book. If you don't desire to become a self-marketer, you shouldn’t even get started writing a book.
In fact, it makes a whole lot of sense to start learning as much about sales and marketing that you can before you commit to writing it or paying someone to write it.
4) You Don’t Have (or Won’t) Take the Time to Sit Your Butt in the Chair and Write
Asking how much time it takes to get a book written is one of those, how far is far questions – there’s just no way to answer with much specificity. That said, in general, books are 40,000 words or more – this blog post, for example, is just under 700 words. Regardless if you are seasoned writer or not, it takes serious time to write a book!
True, if you write a page a day, roughly 300-400 words, at the end of the year you’ll have 365 pages and more than enough for a book length manuscript. Between the writing, rewriting, and editing you simply have to be willing to devote enough time to get it done – if you’re not willing to do that, don’t start until you are.
Hiring a ghostwriter means you don’t have to write the book, but if you want it to truly represent you, you’ll have to spend time both working, probably through interviews getting the information from your head to the ghostwriter. Then you will need to spend the time reading what the ghostwriter has written, making corrections, adding information. In short, it takes a measure of commitment even when you hire a ghostwriter.
Now Over to You....
Are you thinking about writing a book? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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About William Ballard
Freelance Writer, Copywriter, Blogger, Inbound Marketing Specialist, and Author, William Ballard, helps small businesses and entrepreneurs, like you, broadcast their message across the Internet (and offline through direct mail response) and be seen as experts in their field. He has been dubbed the Expert Marketer of Writing.
William, a writer and blogger since 2007, enjoys sharing with others his experience on how to become a successful writer, blogger, and author. View more about William Ballard →