8 Steps to Writing a Better Business Book

©2014 Wendy Scheuring


STEP 1:  Show Your Expertise

Are you a CEO who wants to tell his or her business story?  Are you a professional speaker who wants to give his or her audience a new perspective? Are you a small business owner who wants to get more paying clients or customers?

You are an expert in your industry.  One way to show this is by becoming a published author!  Once you’ve authored a book, you’ve branded yourself as an expert.  However you decide to distribute and market your book—whether it’s by signing your book and giving it away at speaking engagements or promotional events–using it as a “big business card,” or just selling it, your credibility will soar!    Imagecourtesy/arztsamui/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“YOU NEED to self-publish if you are in business, a blogger, a writer, or in any profession (essentially all professions) where you want to stand out versus the competition,” says James Altucher, who has published 7 books in the last 8 years.

Publish it and they will read it, to put a spin on an old adage.  Susan Berkley, author of Speak to Influence:  How to Unlock the Hidden Power of Your Voice, sold more than 14,000 copies of her book, originally published in 1999, which is now in its second printing of its second edition, according to an About.com blog on Money and Entrepreneurs.

STEP 2:  Go Fishing For New Clients and Keep the Old Ones Happy 

Have you got a great business story to tell?  Maybe even a personal tale of triumph that may be business-related?  What types of problems might they be experiencing? Can you can offer solutions?

Start by offering some free advice to potential clients to reel them in.

When you offer free and friendly advice, they’ll be calling you to make the tougher solutions happen!

STEP 3:  How to Get Started:  Develop Content That Matters. What will others learn from your business story?

Dig deep for real content. List your top 20 business successes and failures.  What did you learn from these experiences?  What do wish someone would have told you?  Now, cross off the top 10 and focus on the last 10, which will most likely be your most unusual and memorable experiences.

Paint a Picture.  They say that a picture is worth 1,000 words.  People relate to and remember what they can visualize.  Name actual events, examples, stories, details, descriptions of what worked and what didn’t, and why.

Connect the Dots.  Readers need to be able to find common ground, a connection between their own lives and the story you tell them.  They need to be able to be able to relate to you. It’s all about connections, and that’s what you want to develop with your readers.

STEP 4:  Who’s Your Daddy? We just wanted to say that.  What we really mean is, “Who are you writing for?”

Don’t Be Afraid to Talk to People. Find out what they’re thinking, what they’re concerned about. Be open-minded.  Sometimes we become prisoners of our own perceptions.  It’s invigorating to learn other views.  You don’t have to change your mind based on what you hear, but you’ll be better informed about what people are thinking.  And, you might even gain some insights that you never imagined.

Zoom in on your audience.  Who are you writing for and why do they need to hear what you have to say?  How will what you have to say make a positive impact and lasting impression in their lives?  If you can’t yet answer this question, go back to step 3.

STEP 5: Be a Photographer.  Now, zoom in on your subject matter. If someone asks you what your book is about, can you summarize your book’s premise in one or two sentences?  If you can’t do this succinctly, chances are you’re not focusing in on your topic.  You can’t write a book if you’re not sure what you really want to say.  Whittle down your premise until it’s as streamlined as mechanical pencil lead.

STEP 6:  Do Your Homework or Hire Someone to Do It For You.  Research, research, research.  Find out what others are saying in print and in the media about your industry.  Find out what books have already been written, what bloggers are saying, what’s trending on the internet.  How can you put a spin or take a slightly different direction so you just don’t repeat what others have already said?  What makes your story stand out from the others?

STEP 7: Hire An Image Consultant.  Your appearance is crucial.  That’s why you professionally cut your hair or tailor your business attire.  You hire professionals to make you look good. Did you know that 70% of nonfiction books are ghostwritten?  Most people do not have the time or the skill set necessary to write a full-length book. A ghostwriter or a writing coach will help you look your best in print or on the electronic page. Writing coaches and ghostwriters are professionals who will help you tell your best story.  They’ll also tell you when some things should be left unsaid.  They’ll make sure you’re not tarnishing your professional image.

STEP 8: Don’t be a kamikaze.   This is your story, so don’t bring on self-defeat by writing it in a vacuum.   You and the professionals you hire are part of your writing team.  You may have done the actual writing or hired a ghostwriter or a coach.   But, for your writing project to shine, you’ll also need to hire an editor, a professional set of eyes on your work.  You’ve worked hard throughout this process, so this is not the time to shortchange your book. One typo or grammatical error will tarnish your credibility.  One gap in content will leave readers wondering what you’re trying to say.

Now you’re on your way.  These 8 steps will get you on your way to writing a better business book, but Step 8 isn’t really the end of the road.  You’ll need to think about how you’ll publish your book and how you’ll market it.  To make sure you’ve covered all of the bases, take our quiz, “Are you Ready to Publish”?