I both ghostwrite books for people and coach people through writing their own books. I firmly believe 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 because the book never gets finished.
Here are four reasons you shouldn’t write a book:
“Everyone” tells you you should write a book about your life
Sure, you may have a great story and when you talk about it with folks someone always says “You should write a book!” Flattering, yes, but the chances are the person telling you this has no idea at all what’s involved with 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 bog down and never finish it. This is true even if you hire a ghost or coach. While these pros can help, they can’t do it without a lot of work on your part as well.
Go within and see if you really want to write that book – if you do, fine, but if you don’t it’s probably better to leave it alone, at least for now.
Promoting your business or yourself is the only reason
While a book can be an ideal promotional 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 a very good book. Again, you’ve got to have something to sustain you during the writing process and that’s usually a passion about, in this case, what you’re promoting.
Of course, you can hire a ghostwriter to do a promo book for you, but if you aren’t intimately involved with the writing by taking time to talk with your ghost, and to read and edit every chapter, chances are it won’t reflect enough about you to actually engage the reader.
I can’t prove it, but my hunch is a poor book will do you and your business more damage than not.
You’re not willing to involve yourself in the marketing of 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 trade name 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 the book. If you won’t market, you shouldn’t even get started writing a book.
In fact, it makes a whole lot of sense to investigate how you will market your book before you commit to writing it or paying someone to write it.
You don’t have or won’t take the time it takes to get it done
Asking how much time it takes to get a book written is one of those how long is a piece of string questions – there’s just no way to answer with much specificity. That said, in general books are 40,000 words or more – this blog is just under 700 words. 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 ghost’s. Then you will need to spend the time reading what the ghost has written, making corrections, adding information. It takes a commitment even when you hire a ghostwriter.
Are you thinking about writing a book? Tell us about it in comments.
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Write well and often,
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