How To Write A Business Book – The Process Of Writing Your Business Book
I have recently completed my second ‘big business book’. The first one was written when I was a practising solicitor and was really hard work. The subject matter wasn’t exactly fascinating, so it was a real labour of love.
The new one, however, is all about marketing, so it was much easier as it was totally in my happy zone.
That isn’t to say however, that it is easy. Even when you know your subject matter inside out, it still talks a lot of hours and discipline to complete the task.
I thought it might be helpful to talk about the process that I used to write my business book, so that if you are thinking of writing your own business book you can steal some of my shortcuts!
Map out the entire book first
This helped immensely. You won’t completely finish your chapter or outline until you finish your book, as you will think of other things to add as you dive deeper into the book writing process, but having a rough outline is crucial for two reasons:
- It makes you carefully consider your ‘process’ or ‘formula’ that you are sharing with your future readers. I found that an awful lot of formula that I use each and every day to grow my clients’ businesses become stronger as I mapped out my book. Everything fell into place. Some dots which previously had not been joined suddenly were joined by the final line that made everything make sense.
- It ensures that there will be a good flow to your business book. Some of my chapters were moved around to ensure that each stage made sense and the book flowed as smoothly as possible.
When you are struggling to write your business book
Do the bits you really love. Some of my book was very practical which at times is harder to write. However, I knew that keeping writing was vital if I wanted to finish my book before I was retired (not that I ever will fully retire, but that’s another story) I had to keep writing.
Therefore, on the days when it just seemed like walking through treacle, I picked a part of the book that I was passionate about. This is usually a part that related to the mindset of the business owner that I was writing for. I know the obstacles that they are going to face when trying to implement my formula to grow their business and I know what they need to do to overcome these challenges, so when I was struggling I could fire off a few thousand words about that.
Who are you writing for?
This was another crucial piece of the business book writing formula for me. One of the first parts of the book that I wrote was a section entitled “Who is this book for?”. I am so glad that I did this as it meant that the rest of the book was so easy to write. I had clearly defined the person that I expected to be reading my book and I wrote just for that person. It will rule some out but I don’t care. I wanted my book to resonate with my perfect client; the action taker who is serious about growing their business quickly.
Mark your progress as you go to keep you motivated
I kept my chapter list in a separate Word document from my book manuscript for two reasons:
- I could have that open and refer back to it quickly without having to scroll back up through 60,000 words of my book. This saved a lot of time and hassle.
- Each day, as I finished a part of an entire chapter of my book, I changed the colour of that chapter from red (to be written) to blue. This process was very rewarding, especially as the Chapter list moved from totally red to nearly all blue and then all blue.
The other thing I did every time that I wrote my business book was to add the date, location and number of words written (well total number of words at the end of that writing session).
Here is an extract so that you can see what I mean:
64,377 1/3/17 THE END OFFICES PORTISHEAD
57,611 1/3/17 Ride & Write Day Part 2 Bridgwater Services
56,592 1/3/17 – Ride & Write Day (LINK) – 1st stop Sedgemoor Services
54,302 24/2 Office. Adwords 80% done now..
53,442 24/2 Costa Marina – good Google Adwords. Finish back in office now.
52,000 16/2/17 Cost marina
51,363 15/2/17 Office
50,551 15/2/17 Starbucks services
50,292 7/2/17 Cost Portishead Marina – getting very close now… 😊
I still feel happy looking at that list now. This was a key part of completing the book – recording every part of the progress.
Location, location, location.
You will notice that I did a lot of the writing away from my office.
First, my office is where I do my client work. I lock myself away and get on with it, whether it is running through my clients’ Adwords campaigns or having client calls, it is a place for ‘doing’.
Aside from when I had to do research, most of the book was written in coffee shops where I could shut myself away and get on with it.
With that in mind, as some coffee shops can be quite noisy, my Bose noise cancelling wireless headphones were a vital part of the process. I put on some quite background music and got on with the business of writing my book. Thank you Bose!
Sometimes you need the internet to research something, or check something. I never stopped my writing to do this because I knew it would just be too huge a distraction. When I was in writing mode all I wanted to do was to write.
How did I solve this?
Xxx and yyy.
No, not with Coldplay albums. I marked anything that I needed to check with a person (usually a client) with xxx and anything that I needed to research online with a yyy.
This way it was really easy for me to come back to these points when I was back in my office, but I didn’t get distracted by them whilst I was in writing mode.
Ensuring you finish the book
I had several mind hacks to ensure that I finished my book, which bearing in mind it has been in the offing for a few years, was vital, and clearly worked as it is off with the publisher now.
Committing to finish it: I employ people to work with me on my own business (being a consultant it would seem hypocritical if I didn’t follow my own advice). They made me commit to finishing my book. It worked.
Tell your email list: I told my clients and prospects I was writing my book. I was accountable to them too! It worked.
Get a publisher or editor: I had my publisher lined up and I kept them in the loop. This was important because it proved to me that this was going to happen. It worked.
On the last day: On the day that I decided I was going to finish my business book come hell or high water, the notes I referred to above, showing where I was and how many words I wrote – I added FINISHED BOOK before I had finished it. There was no way my head was not going to finish that book now. I had written it down, and so it happened, at 7pm that day after around 12 hours of writing time on and off. It worked.
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