There are lots of people out there telling you that if you want to have credibility as a coach, entrepreneur, or business consultant, you must have a book. Of course nowadays it’s pretty easy to self-publish a book—most easily an ebook, but also print on demand or short-run printing versions. They say you can hand those out instead of a business card. Here’s what they’re not saying:
A bad book will work against you.
That may sound like common sense, but these folks are saying it’s easy to write a book like this. Just have somebody interview you, get the interview transcribed, clean up the punctuation and grammar a little, and viola! You now have a book. Probably not a good one, though, unless you happen to give brilliant interviews full of original thoughts and great turns of phrase.
Most people, when interviewed this way, will stay on the surface of their topic and will not express themselves as elegantly or succinctly as possible. Accordingly, the transcript will be a dull read.
Typically they then get some boring clip art (photo of a handshake, or a guy climbing a mountain, or dollar bills or a chest full of gold coins, etc.) for the cover, a head and shoulders photo of themselves on the back cover, along with some favourable quotes from friends. Does this sound like it's going to impress people?
It’s not my intention to discourage anybody from writing a book. However, if you want to have one that serves as your calling card, I recommend three things:
1: Have something new to say. It may just be a new slant on things, but it has to stand out from all of the similar business books out there that tell people to work hard, be unique, have goals, focus on giving instead of getting, etc. etc.
2: Take the time to write it well. An interview can be a good starting point but for 99 out of 100 people it shouldn’t be the end point.
3: Make it an attractive package. Get someone who knows what he or she is doing to make you an excellent cover. You can find these people via elance.com. It should be the same quality that you will find on the covers of books produced by the major publishers.
If you follow those three guidelines it’s likely you’ll create a book you can be proud of and that will work for you instead of against you.
(You'll find friendly guidance on writing just about any kind of book in "Your Writing Coach," published by Nicholas Brealey and available from your local independent bookshop or from Amazon and other online and offline book sellers.)