Business leaders and other expert professionals are increasingly inspired to try their hand at authorship. And, as we discussed in our last post, writing a book can be a great idea. Sure, it’s an excellent marketing tool, but more than that, the work of writing a book crystallizes and activates an author’s ideas. It puts an author in conversation with a limitless audience of readers in real and exciting ways.
But writing a book isn’t easy. It usually requires a combination of creativity, determination, persistence, and time management.
At MWS, we support leaders through this process. But first, we ask our clients if they’re ready to become authors. Our vetting process is tough—we’ve learned that not everyone who wants to claim authorship credit is ready for the investment in time, brain space, and, of course, money.
Our best authors are leaders who hit three marks:
- They have something to say—not just to sell.
- They have a goal—and it’s specific.
- They have patience for the process.
Well, not always.
Let’s take it from the top. A book is an exceptional marketing tool, but it’s neither successful nor particularly useful if its message is buy! buy! buy! Good books are written by authors who have something to say—something that can’t just be said over a power lunch (or a PowerPoint)—not just something to sell.
Second, authors need to know why they’re writing a book. Many aspiring authors cite the book itself as the goal, but we’ve found that this is not particularly sustainable. The investment in writing a book is just too big for the book (and only the book) to be a meaningful incentive. Instead, good books are written by authors with bigger, more specific goals in mind—they want to substantiate their legitimacy by showcasing their knowledge, or they’re ready to tell their secrets in the service of launching a new product or company, or they have a story they want to tell to very specific audiences, or something else (specific and achievable).
Third, writing a great book takes time. Authors of good books have patience for the process. They know that starting with a compelling idea and ending with a smart, persuasive book in hand takes 28 weeks or longer.
Ultimately, becoming an author in business and leadership categories is an achievable dream. Do your research, and then position yourself to benefit from professionals who can support you on the path to publication.