I talk to quite a few people who know that a book would be the next logical step for their business. That it could help attract a wider audience, build their email list, and help make sales—as well as be an income earner on its own. And they’ve heard over and over again that it’s easy to self-publish, so they know there’s really nothing standing in their way.
But they don’t write it.
Instead, when pressed, they hem and they haw and finally they say, Ugh, who has time to write a book?!
Listen up: that’s no excuse. Look, I get that it’s daunting to commit to writing an entire book, but here’s the thing—you may have a lot of it done already. How so? Well, if you’re running a business, you’re probably generating content of one kind or another, and that content can be turned into a manuscript. And that manuscript can be turned into a book.
Let’s look at some content you probably already have:
- Your website. Who you are, what you do, why you do it. An excellent start to your book.
- Blog posts. You’ve shared advice, tips, maybe some personal stories, all presumably aimed at your target audience. If you’re a consistent blogger, you may have an entire book already done.
- Articles & guest posts. If you’ve written for online journals, newspapers or other blogs, you may already have some solid content. (Just be sure there are no copyright issues).
- Interviews. If you’ve been interviewed for print or on camera, go back and see what you said. You might surprise yourself with your own insights!
- Audio/Video recordings. Vlogs, Periscopes, webinars, group calls … have them transcribed (you can find transcriptionists on Fiverr) and begin looking at them as possible text. Being casual and often improvised, they can be a great way to capture your “voice” and help infuse your writing with your personality.
- Facebook posts. Scroll though your personal and business pages and see if you can find examples where you were particularly passionate, helpful, articulate or funny.
- Emails. Especially those where you’ve given advice, described your services, or answered questions. If you’ve followed up with clients over time, you may have case studies practically written already.
- Speeches. Dig up your notes or seek out a recording that you can have transcribed. Same goes for panel discussions or any other events where you’ve spoken.
- Client consultations. You can record these (with your clients’ permission) and have them transcribed. As a bonus, give your client a copy so they have a record of what you discussed.
- Journals/Diaries. Getting personal here, but often that’s just what a non-fiction book needs to make it compelling. Did you write about a time you thought you’d hit bottom, had the first spark of an idea that started your business, or about funny (or not so funny) things that happened along the way? Paging through old journals can be a great way to remind yourself of events you’d forgotten, and you may even be able to lift the text word for word.
Collect all this material (software like Scrivener or Evernote are great for organizing stuff like this) and start reading through it. I’ll write more soon about what to do with it all.