Why should you, or I for that matter, consider writing a book, when there are so many of them out there already?
Good question. The answer is that there are many reasons. Guy Kawasaki in his book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur says there are four main reasons: 1) to impart knowledge, 2) to further a cause, 3) for the intellectual challenge, and 4) catharsis. Let me explain:
To impart knowledge – it is wonderful when we can get what is in our heads into the heads of others. A book, if well written, is one way to do that.
To further a cause – Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring to encourage farmers to “put away that DDT.”
For the intellectual challenge – the process of thinking through a concept or a challenge, then editing your thoughts and rewriting them, can be a very meaningful and productive exercise. One thing to keep in mind when I say “exercise,” is that it isn’t a sprint, it is more of a marathon.
Catharsis – when I wrote Men Really DO Listen: How Men Listen Differently Than Others , it felt exhilarating to finally finish it. Endorphins were released, the stars lined up and everything was right in the world (for the time being, anyway). To me, it gave me the impression that I had just written my doctoral dissertation.
People say to me “Someday I’ll write a book.” Well, someday turns into months and months turn into years. Years turn into decades and decades add up. Pretty soon you are talking about your entire life. Most people die with their book still in them.
The reality is a book can make you a minor (or major) celebrity. A book can get you on TV, radio and podcasts. Financially, it can set you up to receive streams of passive income. A book can open doors for you and lead to more speaking engagements and consulting gigs. And you can command higher speaking fees as a result. It can enhance your brand and position you as a thought leader. A book in the hands of your prospect or client tells them you know what you are talking about. It places the image in their mind that you are the “go-to” person in the market.
Perhaps most importantly, it can also be your legacy for future generations.
So, the original question may not even be a fair to begin with. The way it is posed almost pretends that it has already been done (by someone else), that it’s not worth doing. My response to that may seem quixotic. It is that is there’s always a need for a cogent message. Who know? You might even reach the unreachable. That’s the beauty of it.
The bottom line is the book publishing world has changed. It used to be that consumers decided a book was worthy of reading if it were put out by a well known publisher. If it was a reputable publisher, the thinking went, the book must be relevant and well written. That’s no longer the case. In the digital world we live in, people put more faith in the number of stars the book got online (e.g., Amazon) than who the publisher is.
A book can be a game changer. Is yours a “dream in a drawer,” or a published work?