3 Exciting Skills You Gain When Writing a Business Book
Self-publishing a business book is no small feat.
The writing process alone requires time, vulnerability in sharing your mistakes and successes, and a solid takeaway plan for your readers. Toss in the self-publishing process, and chances are you’ll be learning a new form of entrepreneurship entirely.
The best way to avoid getting overwhelmed? Finding an appreciation for the writing and publishing process. Remind yourself that once your book is finished, you’ll be able to share your business expertise while adding new skills and life lessons to your personal repertoire.
Below are the top 3 lessons those who have successfully self-published business books have learned during the process, and a few things to look forward to on your new endeavor!
1. Start With Publishing Planning Tools
Oftentimes, feeling unfamiliar with the writing process is a huge culprit in causing writer’s block. To overcome this, you just need to do a little planning.
Incorporating business planning processes into writing gives you a map to help guide the structure and release of your book. Much like running a business, writing and self-publishing a book requires planning on every level, including:
Creating a “Plan of Attack”
This is also known as your critical path, or the order in which you plan to approach the writing, publishing, and marketing of your self-published business book.
Author and former business executive Seth Godin puts it well:
“I want a garden, which means I need grading, a bulldozer, a permit, seeds, fertilizer, irrigation, weeding, planting, maintenance and time for everything to grow. Do those steps in the wrong order, nothing happens.”
According to Godin, the key to determining your critical path is to envision the final out-come you’d like, and then to work backwards from there.
For example, if the purpose of your book is to empower business owners to train their employees according to their personality types, you’ll be able to brainstorm the proper research and interviews to do, businesses that would be interested in your tips, and other useful details to help build your book outline.
According to author Brett Farmiloe, author of Pursue the Passion, the first planning skill you should learn is how to create a marketing strategy.
This piece will be the most familiar to you, since you come from the business world — you bring a slightly different perspective to marketing a self-published book, with yourself as the expert, instead of just your business’ product or service.
Farmiloe says starting with the marketing plan will help you dig into who your target audience is, costs of writing, producing and marketing the book, and other determining factors.
Mind Mapping is an incredibly useful tool. especially if you consider yourself to be a visual thinker. It’s a tried-and-true method of thought organization that can be used for many purposes depending on the project.
In the case of business book writing, you’ll most likely be using a mind map to determine the structure of your book.
To create a mind map, start with a piece of paper (or mind mapping software) and a red, blue and black pen and write your topic in the center.
From there, you’ll create a tree of sorts, writing underlying topics and ideas and connecting them with lines according to their relation.
For example, if your book topic in the center is “training employees,” you should have topic-related bubbles branching off of it such as “personality types,” “training skills,” “interviews,” etc.
Once your thoughts are all laid out, you’ll have a handy visual. Prune your idea tree to exclude redundant or unrelated topics and use the remaining ideas to layout the structure of your book.
2. Exercise Time Management Skills
Time management can make or break your writing process. It’s important to hone in on these skills before tackling your book.
To improve your time management skills, keep these tactics in mind:
Spend more of your time planning than editing
- The last thing you want is to get halfway through your book and realize it’s not going in the direction you want, and wasting a ton of time in the weeds with line edits.
Make your writing time strictly writing time
- Choose a window, even if it’s small, in which you can shut off your phone, go to a quiet place, and focus solely on your book.
- You can help hold yourself accountable to this time by using time blocking. Every time you switch tasks, you lose some of the limited focus you have for the day. So once you’re interrupted, your performance depletes as well.
- Time blocking helps you commit to an uninterrupted window of time in which you can reach your most productive state — your flow state.
Be sure to schedule downtime, too
- Burnout can be a real factor in writing a book. Be sure to schedule a nice walk, some stretches or a movie around your creative time, too.
- Scheduling downtime and committing time to your mental and physical wellbeing will improve your time management skills in more ways than one.
- Research shows that those who spend time in nature begin to have a shift in mindset regarding to time, making time seem more expansive and more tasks seem achievable.
Keep learning as you write
- Try to schedule out 30 minutes each week to learn about skills you feel you’re lacking, or gain inspiration from experienced authors. These could be anything from basic writing to research to establishing a “voice.”
- Learning as you write will help keep you inspired, as well as save time avoiding mistakes others have made in their process.
3. Build Your Team
Writing a book can feel like a “lone ranger” project.
In order to stay ahead of the self-publishing game, you’ll need a trusty team to collaborate with you in the process. And with that, you’ll gain a new set of leadership abilities.
In addition to collaboration, this process will help you improve task delegation skills, as well as your ability to receive feedback.
People you can have on your self-publishing team include:
- Having a good editor is crucial to the self-publishing process.
- They can help you structure your book and make sure it’s following a proper narrative arc, as well as provide other “big picture” suggestions.
A literary agent
- A literary agent is your go-to for all things PR and beyond.
- In addition to helping guide a marketing plan and your overall brand and image, they’ll also help hire the perfect editor and guide you through the publishing process.
- While editors look at the big picture, a proofreader checks spelling, grammar and punctuation details you may have overlooked in the process.
A marketing professional
- If you’re looking to save time creating a marketing strategy, hiring a marketing professional for your book could be the way to go.
- Ideally, they’ll cover everything from events and releases to social media strategy.
Self-publishing a business book is a business in and of itself. You may want to print new business cards, because after this you can add “author and publisher” to your title.
But before you charge ahead, learn from those who came before you. Check out our highlight of Steuben Press author and Executive Coach Cory Carlson »