It seems like everyone I talk to on Facebook is in a process of writing a book these days. It’s a noble pursuit, one that will have you eating well above the dollar menu at McDonalds one day. But I’m also asked for an opinion or worse, contribution, and I hate to be discouraging. I also hate to to sugarcoat what I’d like to say so here is my take on it, my experience with it and hopefully something useful:
Y’all is wasting your time.
There are high points. I know, I know – you get to call yourself an author, just the fact that you got an ISBN number will impress people who know what that means, gaming Amazon sales ranking will get you a ton of social media cred, you’ll be able to leverage this into a speaking opportunity that will pay above minimum wage, you’ll rake in credibility left and right…
Except you’re writing junk very few will buy, far less will read and almost none will implement.
But clearly you have time to piss away so here is something I would like to challenge you to do.
Start A Blog
Unless your name is Karl, you’re not going to be making money selling home décor tips to the homeless. Or technology advice to people with complete contempt for it. Karl has already done it. And from 20 different angles complete with seminars, webinars, worksheets and even Mad Libs for MSPs. Game over as far as trying to help people goes.
So if you’re writing for prestige, writing to open conversations, writing to engage people on your level (or above) in a meaningful exchange of ideas.. the book isn’t going to cut it. I’ve got a pile of books, that explore ideas that could have been summed up in a blog post, that I know I’ll never get to. Yet I’m on top of blogs every single week.
There is a reason why blogs (or for attention challenged Twitter and Facebook) and social media are so popular – they help connect people and start the conversation. And, it turns out, you can learn a lot from others.
Vladville, written in a crude street language, is such not because I dropped out of middle school – but because that’s what keeps people reading and commenting. Offer a polarizing idea and you will get feedback not just from people that agree but also from people that disagree and will take the time to educate you on their point of view.
You don’t have to write either – if you have the knowledge you can record videos and podcasts too – all of which will bring you an audience far wider than your book, all of which will be consumed by more people than you’ll ever imagine, all of which ultimately generate more interactions than you’ll know what to do with.
You will earn much more from a conversation than you will from a lecture. Unless you’re serious about committing to a business of writing books, you’re infinitely better off starting conversations that help fuel your existing business.