I’ve recently been hearing about publishing coaches who offer to help people write a book in only 48 hours. Intrigued I looked into this further and am surprised to find this really is a trend. However, having written, published, co-authored, and developed dozens of quality books in the last 10 years I can honestly tell you that there is a process, and it’s a reasonably lengthy one. Significantly longer and more complex than what can be achieved in under a week.
How long does it REALLY take to write a book?
Well some would argue that you can simply write a book by planning a few sexy chapter headings, dictate your material then give it to a publisher. That does sound like a very good short cut way to become an author. However the reality is that getting your content out of your head is only a small part of the process.
For a start, there are LOTS of barely average books hitting the market every day. Millions of new titles are being released every year. If your book is going to even see the light of day, it has to be good. Your content has to be far better than average, well edited and reader friendly. Without these boxes ticked, there’s a very high chance that your book might even do the opposite of promoting you positively to your market.
Your relationship with your publisher and editor can make or break your chances of success as an author. Transcribed spoken material reads quite differently than written content. For example:
- If I’m going to speak this sentence, it will sound like: Loved meeting over dinner th’other night; great range of options on the menu too.
- Written it is more likely to be: I Loved our chance meeting on Wednesday night. I was really impressed with the range of options on the menu too.
Subtle differences, but when you are reading a lot of text that is not well written, after a while it becomes annoying and sometimes even hard for the reader to remain focused. That’s because we are taught to read differently than the way we hear. We process the information slightly differently too.
I’m not saying that voice recording your material is a bad thing. In fact, for many writers it’s a preferred option for getting ideas out of their heads. However, just having those recordings typed up, without a good editing process in place will show your book very quickly to be of sub-standard quality.
Remember this – if your readers are regular readers of anything, they will be discerning readers. Your professional reputation is at stake if you don’t measure up and put some real effort into conveying your expertise in a way that represents quality sharing.
The Publishing Part of the Process
If you then want to present your manuscript to a publisher, there’s a series of editing steps and submission preparation you need to go through in order to attract positive feedback and opportunities from publishers. They will not publish anything sub-standard either – their reputations are based on quality publications, and it’s not worth their while messing with this rule.
I’ve worked with a number of agents and publishers over the years – and even cooperative publishers (a cross between traditional and vanity publishing companies) will be very careful about what they associate their names with. In one instance when I was negotiating an opportunity for a well known Australian Author to start working with a USA based Cooperative Publishing house, their concerns were met by three factors equally: 1) the author was living in the USA and working successfully as a professional speaker there, 2) she had already sold 30,000+ copies of her book in Australia, and 3) she had exceptional quality reviewers comments already for the revised USA edition. Without these three factors, they were not interested, even though she had established herself as a highly successful author/speaker Down Under.
You may prefer to self publish, or work with a collaborative publisher – someone who guides you through the process, takes care of much of the donkey work associated with publishing processes, and still leaves you in charge of ‘owning it’. Either way, there’s a number of steps in the process to work through and it will take time.
By the time you have written your draft which can be as short as eight weeks, although I’ve known some books come together in only about six weeks to first draft stage, then you have to allow even a minimum of editing time of four weeks by the time you make revisions, corrections, and review it again. Then you will have to allow for typesetting, design, covers, and the extra pages such as About You, Acknowledgements, Indexing, Forewords, and Reviews.
A Word on Reviews When You Write a Book.
Just having reviews for your work is not the same as having reviews for your book. Taking the time for people to actually read even parts of your book and writing (and that includes signing off on) a review comment is worth doing well. Just because you helped someone as their coach or consultant, does not mean you can take their testimonial for your work and put it on the back of your book. It’s a different thing.
A Good Strategy is the Key To Your Success as an AUTHORity
If you want to write a book for the sake of saying you are an author, and are prepared to put some effort into making it an excellent representation of your expertise or wisdom in any area, then why would you short change your readers with substandard output. It’s a big deal to write and publish a book. There are now dozens of ‘publishing coaches’ in the marketplace all vying for your money and most make big promises about how easy it can be to quickly become a published author. They are wrong. It’s not a quick fix option, it’s a serious marketing strategy that needs to be planned and executed well.
You also need to consider what you’ll do with your book once you’re published. How is it going to be used to leverage opportunities for work, contracts, speaking engagements? What will you do to promote and distribute your book? How will you make it available to your potential readers?
Having a good strategy for writing your content, publishing it, and then delivering it to your market is worth doing well. As with any part of your business, a plan is something you can work with, set goals with and measure outcomes against.
Ask yourself this – do you want your book to be something that could help to get you a TED talk, or a Rotary Breakfast talk?
Dixie Maria Carlton
PS – If you want to know more about how to write a book and publish it, then you will find Idea to AUTHORity very helpful.