So many entrepreneurs say they’d like to write a book. It’s now easier to publish one than ever before, and yet very few actually take the steps to do it. But why?
In this episode of The Entrepreneur to Author Podcast, your host Scott MacMillan covers off the 3 big obstacles that prevent entrepreneurs from writing that book that they keep meaning to write…and how to overcome them.
Anatomy of a Nonfiction Book: https://entrepreneurtoauthor.com/nonfiction-book-outline/
Book coach, Kelly Irving: https://www.kellyirving.com/
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Please note: The transcript is produced by a third-party company from an audio recording and may include transcription errors.
Scott MacMillan 0:00
You're listening to the entrepreneur to author podcast.
Welcome to the Entrepreneur to Author Podcast, the podcast that brings you practical strategies for building authority and growing your business. And now, here's your host, Scott Macmillan.
Scott MacMillan 0:20
So many entrepreneurs I speak to, when they hear what I do, the first thing they share is that they've thought about or always wanted to, or no, they really should write a book. So then, why is it that of all these entrepreneurs, only a small fraction, ever see their name on the front of a published title? After all, it's never been easier to publish a book, the traditional gatekeepers can no longer prevent you from getting your book to print, and distributing it globally to an audience of ideal customers. But still, there must be something preventing otherwise capable, ambitious business owners from putting pen to paper and making authorship a reality.
Well, as you might guess, my response in these conversations is always to ask exactly that. If you thought about and always wanted to, or know you really should write a book. Well, why haven't you? And I'll tell you what these entrepreneurs have told me about the challenges they face, and also what to do about them. In this edition of entrepreneur to author. (music)
The fact that so many business owners know that they should, and want to write a book, but still haven't taken the plunge presents an opportunity. It means that, well, some of the structural technological and supply chain barriers that used to limit the authorship opportunity have come down. There are still certain barriers to entry that are keeping your competitors from doing what they know they should be doing. Maybe they're keeping you from doing it too. But here's the thing. These barriers, while real, are not insurmountable. In fact, with a little knowledge, and some proven approaches and processes, they're entirely surmountable. And I'm going to tell you how. But first, let's get to the heart of that follow up question that I asked those entrepreneurs. Why haven't they? Why haven't you written your book, a book, an expertise based nonfiction book, written by a business owner, can do a lot of heavy lifting. It builds authority and credibility speeds up and streamlines the sales process. It's scalable, it expands your reach. It stakes out and secures your positioning in the marketplace, codifies your knowledge and expertise. It acts as an anchor content for a whole ecosystem of products and services, and so much more. But in talking to business owners, there are three big hurdles that they point to, that they feel prevents them from writing and publishing a book.
The first is the fear factor. You see, they worry that they don't have anything to write about.
The second is knowledge gaps. Because they don't know how to write and publish a book.
And finally, it's time, they simply feel that they will never find enough time to get a manuscript written.
So let's look at these one by one starting with that fear factor. One of the most common fears that I hear is, I don't have anything to write about. I suppose it's a form of writer's block. But really, it goes even deeper than this. Fundamentally, what you're saying when you say this, is I don't believe that I've got anything worthwhile to write about, that other people will want to read.
Look, the truth of the matter is, this is almost never the case for anyone. But especially not the case for those of us who are already running viable businesses. If you're already delivering great outcomes for a specific type of client through your business, then you've got expertise that can and should be translated into a book. Your book can and should be a reflection of your existing expertise.
Now, there are already two scenarios where maybe you're not already delivering great results for clients. The first is that you haven't launched your business yet or it's still in the very early stages. The second is that you've not yet cracked the nut strategically in your business. Maybe you're not clear and tight about who your ideal client is. Or maybe you're not crisp about the value you deliver or your approach for reliably delivering it. In that case, I suggest that you work hard on business strategy first, and only then translate it into a book. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, a book won't fix a broken business, it will amplify what's already there.
Okay, the second obstacle to writing a book that I hear a lot is, I don't know how to write a book and get it published. Now, that's entirely fair. Most entrepreneurs aren't professional writers, and most are or would be writing a book for the first time. So the whole process can be quite overwhelming. If this is you, I've got three tips for you.
The first is to use a proven method for building out a detailed outline for your book. Too many first time authors just start writing with only a vague idea of what they're going to write about. In chapter four of my book, entrepreneur to author, I explain how to quickly and effectively flesh out a very detailed book blueprint that will give you massive clarity about what you'll write, not just at the chapter level, but at the topic, and subtopic level two. By doing this thinking upfront, you make sure that your book has a solid, effective structure, and that you know exactly what to write, every time you sit down at the keyboard.
My second tip is to commit to a schedule. And there are two approaches to this, what I call the Mount Sinai approach, and the tortoise approach. For those familiar with the biblical story of Moses, you'll know that Moses climbed to the summit of Mount Sinai, and stayed for 40 days to receive the 10 commandments from God. What's more, we're told he had to do it twice, because he broke the first set of tablets in a fit of rage, and had had backup Sinai for another 40 days.
Now, I want to pause here and point out that I, I really think Moses could have been more efficient. Now, admittedly, the tablet he was using for his manuscript crashed, and he had to start over and he was working with a rather demanding co author, but 80 days for what amounts to attend item bulleted list is a bit more than lackadaisical. Now, my point here is that one approach is to book off a good chunk of time, where you can lock yourself away from distraction, and simply write until you finish your manuscript. This depends heavily on that clear, detailed blueprint already planned out. If you've done that, I know authors who've been able to knock out a messy first draft of 40,000 words in a week or less, but it takes discipline.
For most people, I recommend the tortoise approach. Obviously, this is taken from the fable of the tortoise and the hare. In this story, a slow turtle beats a speedy rabbit and a foot race through dedicated and consistent effort, spawning the well worn truism, that slow and steady wins the race. Now, this approach really comes down to math, you can make yourself every day, or even just every weekday. For whatever time you're able, let's say an hour every morning. Assume that you can write a certain number of words every day, to be conservative, let's say 500 Words, then you just multiply it out. Quickly, you'll realize that after five days, you'll have written 2500 words. And in three months, you'll have a 30,000 word manuscript.
Either approach can work. So it's really about knowing yourself, and how you work most effectively. My last tip for helping you through the knowledge gap of writing your book, is don't be afraid to bring in some help.
There are some excellent book coaches who specialize in working with entrepreneurs to help them write high caliber books that support their business and build their authority. I'll be sure to put some information in the show notes about some excellent book coaches who may work one on one or in a group format.
Okay, the last big challenge that I hear from people about why they fail to write a book is time. I get it. We're all time starved and have so many competing priorities. But that's just the point, isn't it? Some things are important, and need to be prioritized. And I think this is one of the big reasons why many business owners don't ultimately enjoy the benefits of authorship. They simply don't make it a priority. It takes time and effort. There's no getting around that. Well, not entirely.
See, the first thing I tell people is that they may be surprised that it doesn't take as long as they might fear. The big reason that writing a book tends to take so long is that the author doesn't spend time upfront to plan their outline, their book blueprint. Once you have that detailed outline, everything else goes much more smoothly and quickly. They just does.
But what if you truly can't find the time for that Mount Sinai retreat or that one hour a day for three months to get your book written? Well, in that case, why not consider working with a ghostwriter? Many, in fact, I'd say close to all of the books authored by big name executives, sports stars, and celebrities are penned by a ghostwriter.
Now, that doesn't mean they didn't author the book. It means they worked with an expert writer, to help them craft their stories and get it all onto the page. They brought their experience their expertise, and hired an expert to handle the work of crafting it into a compelling book. Well, it's not cheap. It's very time efficient. And it's worth considering, especially if you don't enjoy writing, and could profitably spend your time on revenue generating activities instead. So there you have it, three big obstacles that entrepreneurs face in writing or rather not writing their book. And I hope you can see that they're not that insurmountable after all.
If you've been putting off writing your book, remember this. If you have a viable business, then you have a compelling book to write.
If you don't yet have a viable business, start by solving that problem first. Then base your book on your business. A detailed book blueprint is vital for writing a well structured and engaging book and doing so efficiently. With your book blueprint ready. You can then write your manuscript on an intense writing retreat, or with small but dedicated and consistent daily effort over a few months. Hiring a book coach is a great investment to provide accountability, process and knowledge. And if you really can't find the time, a ghostwriter can pin your book, in your voice with your ideas and experience. (music)
Now is the time, time to write, Time To Publish and time to grow. I'm Scott Macmillan. Until next time. (music)