Digital marketing

Seven traps to avoid when writing a book

- April 3, 2010 2 MIN READ

Becoming an author can do amazing things for your profile and profit, but before you sit down and start writing a book, be aware of these seven sure-fire steps to publishing failure.

1. Don’t get on your soap box

Detailing your personal philosophy with little reference to how it ties into your business philosophy doesn’t appeal to anyone. Readers are interested in how you can benefit them, they are not actually interested in you.

2. Don’t bamboozle or bore your reader

A business book doesn’t need to be written in passive, boring business language. When writing a book, bring the material to life with real examples and case studies that illustrate your ability to solve a particular problem.

Don’t use excessive jargon to look impressive, instead explain yourself in easy to understand terms. No one likes a smart arse!

3. Don’t hold back the juicy stuff

I’m often asked, “How much should I include when writing a book?” The fear is that if the author gives away too many trade secrets the readers will just do it themselves. Fact is they don’t. The more you give and the more value you provide the more likely they are to come knocking on your door.

Holding back information is shortsighted, and doesn’t encourage your readers to trust you further and recruit you to help them solve their challenges.

4. Don’t be vague

In black and white, vague equals weak and impotent. If there’s a study that backs up your ideas seek permission and quote it. Being precise has far more power than being wishy-washy.

Don’t be tempted to target everyone with a pulse either. Focus on your niche. Work out who your ideal client or customer is and talk directly to them.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business marketing section.

5. Don’t fill your book with fluff

Padding your material out will only damage your book. If you can explain the basis of your book in five minutes or write all the salient points on the back of an envelope, then you’re going to struggle to find enough useful content to fill an entire book. Keep it tight or consider a different marketing approach.

6. Don’t ignore marketing principles

A book is like any other product or service – you can publish and be damned if you like, but unless you’ve established whether there’s a genuine market for your message, you may end up very disappointed.

Find out what your customers and clients want to know and use your book to tell them.

7. Don’t look amateur

If you self-publish your book, then you better make sure it looks professional. Pay for the expertise to ensure that it doesn’t scream “self-published” – even if it is.

That means having it professionally edited and proofread, but if that’s not an option, then at the very least follow these tips for self-editing and proofreading.

Also make sure you have your book professionally designed, and focus on creating a great title and eye-catching cover.

This is the third in a three-part series. Previously I wrote on book writing for profile and profit and what your book won’t do for your business.

How’s your masterpiece coming along? Have you got any extra tips on writing a book to share with us?