Raise the topic of writing a book and most people will look at you aghast. The very idea of writing a book conjures visions of a gargantuan task, the literary equivalent of climbing Mt Everest (albeit without the need for supplementary oxygen). You may even be thinking along the same lines. Writers write books, and I'm not a writer.
A blog, on the other hand? No big deal. Tell people you're writing a blog and some will be impressed while others will secretly be wondering if you'll manage to get out more than three posts.
Nevertheless, a blog seems more manageable than a book. A post once a fortnight, say. About 600 words. You don't need to be a writer to do that – just capable of writing a few coherent sentences. Put your mind to it and most people in business should have that much to say in the way of sharing what they know, providing a few tips or some salient advice.
And here's the thing. If you were to do that – if you started a blog and wrote 600 words a fortnight for a year – guess what? You'd have 70 per cent of a book written, and the momentum to finish the rest!
All you'd need to do is gather your blog posts into rough categories (chapters), perhaps combine two or three posts here or there into a longer section, and do a bit of extra writing to smooth the flow between each part and fill any gaps, and voilà, you have a manuscript of a bit over 20,000 words – a 150 page book – ready for editing.
Sure, 20,000 words is on the shorter end of the book spectrum. It's no War and Peace. But guess what? A short book gives you as much credibility as a long one, and it is much more likely to actually be read. (Only this week, author Nick Earls won the People's choice award in the NSW premier's literary awards for his 20,000 word novella Vancouver #3.)
From there it's a matter of editing and design, along with a little administration, and your book is ready for printing. And event that is a relatively cheap and easy task these days, as I discussed last time.
Now I know that some of you may be thinking that a book comprised of a collection of blog posts doesn't seem like a valid 'book', anymore than a greatest hits album is a legitimate album. But that's the wrong way to look at it. Some very successful books (and albums) have been collections. Chicken Soup for the Soul and Seth Godin's Purple Cow are just two examples of highly regarded and very high selling books that are essentially collections of articles.
The point about writing a book isn't to be high brow. It's to get your ideas out into the world.
Now, to come to the point of the title of this post. Have you already been regularly blogging for a year or three? Or writing a company newsletter? Perhaps it's not you but your business – a collective effort if you like. However the content has been generated (and assuming it's original), the thing is that you actually have the content. That means you get to skip most of the writing bit and jump straight to publishing. You may even have the luxury of picking and choosing your best content and still having enough for a book.
If this is the case, your book is so close you really have no reason for waiting. It's time to act. Time to publish. Your credibility will thank you for it.
As usual, if you have any questions or comments, or if you need any advice on writing or publishing your book, please add a comment below or contact me.