Not sure if your business book idea is any good? Answer these 5 questions before you start.

Many businesspeople want to write a book but don't give any thought to why, and this often means they lack clarity about their audience and what they should write.

Do you think my book idea is any good? is a question I am asked a lot.

I find this interesting because the conversation usually starts out with the person enthusiastically sharing their book idea, something that they’ve thought about for some time, yet we end up with this question.

It’s not my role to convince anyone to write and self-publish their business book. I know the time, effort and investment that goes into this as I’ve written 27 business books and published over 400.

As The Book Adviser it’s my role is to help business people work out if writing, self publishing and marketing their book is something they want to do and then help them achieve this.

Here are the five questions I ask anyone who wants to talk to be about their business book idea.

1. What’s your purpose?

Most of us have heard about or even read Simon Sinek’s book Find Your Why, and this goes for writing and self publishing a business book.

Why do you want to write your book? Fame, fortune, legacy, share your knowledge, build your profile, become a sought-after expert in your field, build a new profile/brand, create another revenue stream . . a combination of some of these?

Knowing why you are writing your book is essential as it underpins a whole range of other decisions you’ll be making on further down the self publishing book journey.

2. What specific knowledge, insight, tools do you have?

There are millions of business books available in print or on line about every conceivable topic. So, why is yours different?

What is your unique perspective, knowledge, insight?

Why should your target audience read your book? They’ll read and listen to you if you’re a practitioner… you’ve done what you’re writing about. Take me. I am a publisher, a business writer and business book marketer who has over 30 years experience. This is unusual . . . most professional self publishing book people are one of these three, I am all three of them.

If you haven’t done what you’re writing about, perhaps think again about writing your book.

And here’s a tip. Most business books don’t provide actionable steps the reader can take on their own to implement what they’ve just read. Include a summary of the key points in each chapter along with a set of action steps the reader can take.

Even better, link the action steps in the book to specific resources (free and paid) on your website.

My mantra with business books is to share, care and connect. This way your book is the start of a relationship not simply a one-off book transaction.

3. Who is your target audience?

This sounds easy but all of the business authors who have worked with me will tell you this is one of the most challenging aspects of the business book process. Mostly, there’s more than one target audience, but you can’t really have more than two . . . two is one too many.

It’s a big, wide world out there. The wider you spread your net the more you’re going to get distracted by the maybe’s. You need to focus in on your primary target audience. In doing this you’re not ignoring a wider audience rather getting specific for those that really matter. So answer these questions.

Who is your primary target audience? Be as specific as you can and, ideally, create an avatar. If you don’t know what that is I am not referring to your version of the hybrid in the movie of the same name rather a persona developed through a demographic and psychographic profile.

What are their challenges?

How do they feel about these and how would they feel if your book could help them work through/solve these?

What can you offer that will really help them solve their challenges?

If you work through these questions you’ll be way ahead of most business people who start writing a book.

4. How committed are you to writing, self publishing and marketing your book?

I get this, it’s hard for most people to answer this question as they don’t know what’s involved. In short, are you prepared to allocate between 4-6 hours a week over a 12-18 month period?

Writing your book will take about 4 months out of 12 months, another 3-4 months for production and then 6-12 months for launch, marketing and leveraging your book.

Your books success will largely depend on how much time and effort you put into the marketing of your book. A detailed content marketing plan is essential to this as is executing on it. And, the content marketing plan should link in with your business marketing plan if you want your book to build your personal brand and profile as well as your business brand.

5. What does success look like to you?

This is connected to question 1.

If you are clear on your purpose you can then define what success looks like.

For most of the business people on The Book Adviser program they have a group of success criteria and rarely is one of them ‘selling millions of copies of my book’.

Of course, we’d all like to sell millions of copies of our book and be the next Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, Tony Robbins, Simon Sinek or Brene Brown and that’s possible. But to even have a realistic chance of getting to this stratosphere you need to start with answering the questions I’ve outlined above and be prepared to commit to marketing and leveraging your book/s forever.

Success for some of our clients is creating a book to use as a business development too – they’re not that focused on selling copies.

Others want to leverage their book to secure speaking engagements, increase their visibility, become known as the expert in their field and be sought out by the media, be recognised as a thought-leader in their industry.

Some just have a burning desire to write and self publish their book.

Once you understand your purpose you can define what success looks like for you.

Action steps

Once you’ve answered the five questions above you’ll have a much clearer picture about:

  • whether you want to write your book, or just talk about it;
  • if you are prepared to commit the time to writing and publishing it
  • the consistent effort you’ll need to put in to market your book
  • the difference you want to make in your specific area
  • what success looks like to you.

And, when you’re ready, contact me to discuss how we can work together to plan, write, publish and market your business book.