This is an excerpt taken from Chapter W: Writing a Book in ABCs of Speaking: Your Building Blocks to Speaking Success by Bret Ridgway, Adryenn Ashley, and Caterina Rando
There is no doubt that one of the quickest ways to establish yourself as an expert is to be an author. Make no mistake about it—being a speaker is great. But when you add in the additional fact that you are also the author of a book on the subject on which you speak, it can multiply your creditability tenfold.
Speakers and authors both hold a special position in the eye of the general public. In their minds if you a public speaker and you have written a book then you must be the real deal and someone worthy of notice.
Your book can be a great lead source for you for your higher ticket coaching programs and live events. For just a small amount a person can learn more about you and what you have to offer. Or it can be a great business card for you in many situations.
Yet many speakers can’t seem to overcome their writer’s block or whatever is holding them back from completing their first book. Writing a book need not be difficult and the benefits you will gain from having that book will make it all worthwhile.
Many people think that the only way you can write a book is to sit down with a blank sheet of paper or blank computer screen and start adding words to the page. This is certainly one way to write a book and many do it in exactly this manner. To keep themselves on task they have daily or weekly writing goals that continue to push them toward the completion of their book.
But starting with a blank sheet of paper is certainly not the only way one can write. If you are having trouble moving forward, here are some alternative ways to write your book:
1. Speak your book. If you are a great talker but not such a great writer, get a decent microphone and recording software and say what you want to write. Of course,
it will need some editing, but speaking your book is a great way to get your thoughts into writing. Just have a transcriptionist take that recording and turn it into a written document. No more blank piece of paper!
Keep in mind that one hour of audio typically translates into about 35 pages of transcripts. So, if your goal is to have a 150-page book then you are going to need about four and a half to five hours of audio to transcribe.
2. Take a video recording from you at some live event and have it transcribed to form the basis for your book.
3. Combine a series of articles you have written previously, organize it appropriately and you have a book.
4. Combine a bunch of blog posts you have done over the last couple of years together to form the basis for your book.
5. Have someone do a series of interviews with you and use the transcription of those interviews to make a book.
6. If necessary, start with a compilation book with other authors where you are contributing one chapter only to the book to get started.
7. Take an existing home study course or other product you have written previously and pull content from that to write your book. Repurposing is a key phrase you need to understand. You don’t have to necessarily reinvent the wheel—you may already have content you can reuse in some form as the basis for your book.
8. Hire a ghostwriter to write your book for you.
However, you need to get it done, just get it done. Your book is an important weapon in your marketing arsenal and in helping you build your platform as a speaker.
Your Book is an Important Weapon In Your Marketing Arsenal
It should be a key component of your physical media kit. You will want to send it to event promoters on whose platform you want to speak.
As a key component to helping you build your platform as a speaker it is a given that the quality of your book should be outstanding. But even the best of content will go unnoticed if you do not put together your book in a way that encourages the end reader to read your book from cover to cover. It is all about product consumption.
So how do you make your book more consumable for the reader? I recently went into a Barnes and Noble and picked up a book in the business section on marketing that sounded kind of interesting based on the title.
I started browsing the book, starting at the first chapter. It went on for not 10, not 20, but for 35 pages! My thought was “If it’s going to be this much work to get through the first chapter then do I even want to start reading this book?”
People like to consume information in bite-sized chunks. When you overwhelm them with lengthy chapters you make it nearly impossible for the reader to feel that intermittent sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a chapter. So, divide your chapters into more reasonable consumable segments—a maximum of seven to ten pages per chapter.
I also prefer that each paragraph is two to three sentences in most cases. My book is laid out with the thought of bite-sized chunks to help you consume the information more easily. Avoid overwhelmingly long paragraphs that intimidate the reader and stifle consumption.
Utilize pull quotes, boxed case studies, bulleted lists, illustrations, graphs, charts and other things that help break up the page so that everything is not pure text. Bottom line, if you make it easier on the eye you make it easier for the reader to consume.
Also avoid a teeny tiny font that is difficult to read. Most book layout people use a minimum of 11 point font so that those of us with older eyes can see the page better. If you subject is aimed at baby boomers then you are kidding yourself if you think you can go with 10 point type or smaller to save on page count. Most probably won’t read it.
You really need to have a book. Preferably, several books. For a typical non-fiction book, you want to limit the total page count to somewhere between 150-225 pages. Go much longer and you start to introduce that factor of overwhelm into the equation again.
You may not be able to include everything you know about a subject in a single book. That is okay. You are better off breaking your knowledge into two or more books if you have enough material then trying to include it all in one and having your book be too long.
Remember, it is all about consumption. If you get them to read your book, then the chances of them coming to you for other products and/or services you offer goes up dramatically.
Always be sure to include in your book several “bounceback” mechanisms. These are ways you can capture the reader’s information to follow up with them via autoresponders or offline methods.
When someone buys your book in a traditional retail bookstore or online via Amazon, you do not receive that buyer information so the inclusion of some bribe inside your book (preferably multiple bribes) to get them to come to your website is important. You can offer some free bonus material or a checklist or anything that they can access only by giving you their contact information.
I cannot state it enough—you must have a book!