Most successful people have a favourite business book (mine is Guy Browning’s ‘Innervation’ – thanks for asking!) Ask around, and the chances are that every person you talk to will mention a different book. One that just happened to speak to them.
With so many old and new ways to do business, people are in constant need of easily relatable, tried and tested expertise. It’s never been easier to become a business author, providing a knowledgeable, reassuring and plain old ‘common sense’ voice to the business world, and if you’ve managed to grab and hold on to some success in your career, your personal story could end up inspiring others to reach heights they’d never dreamed of.
As I listen to people explain their career stories for a new CV, discuss their working methods for a LinkedIn profile or extol the benefits of their business for web copy or a blog post, I often think that there are so many inspirational stories out there, just waiting to be told to a wider audience.
But as we all know, writing a book isn’t easy – even if it’s about you and your thrilling career! So…just how do you get started on transforming your success into an exhilarating business story people will be queuing round the block to read?
What’s your message?
Start by writing a few sentences that summarise your particular area of expertise, how you were successful and what readers will be able to do better once they’ve finished reading your story (manage their time better so they can see their kids more often, for example?). This is your starting point, which can later be broken down further into sections and chapters.
Who’ll be reading?
Who will get the most from your story and experiences? Start-up entrepreneurs seeking reassurance, established business people looking for a boost, or maybe nervous employees who are fed up with the rat race and looking to go freelance? Pinning down who you’re writing for from the start means you’ll understand better how to write for them.
To paraphrase Frank Sinatra, “you did it your way”. Yes, other people will share the same job title as you and they may work successfully in the same field, but nobody else has your experiences, and personal experiences are what speak to people, compelling them to root for and remember you.
If you’re struggling to think of how to personalise your story, start by asking yourself the questions you’d ask someone you admire. For example, if there was one piece of advice you’d love to have been given when you were just starting out, what would it be?
Don’t feel you have to be perfect – if you’ve made a mistake or there were a few hairy moments along the way, describing how they happened and how you overcame them not only show you’re human, but could also end up being the most thrilling bits of the book!
Promote your story
I won’t lie and say that it’ll be easy to get a publishing deal for your finished book. Begin by finding an agent who specialises in business writing and send them a detailed proposal.
If the traditional method fails, there are many alternative routes you can take to getting your book into readers’ hands, such as self-publishing and selling copies through your website. You could publish a ‘teaser’ chapter online to whet people’s appetites for the whole book, or release sections as handy downloadable advice guides.
Trade press may well be interested in your insights, you could send copies to your local radio station and newspaper office to drum up some promotion, and if you’ve got the inclination, maybe even try arranging a tour of local bookshops where you can tell your story in person (and perhaps sign a few copies for devoted fans!)
Have you got a best-selling business book in the making, but are not sure how to get started? I can help you plan and write your masterpiece, so why not contact me for a chat?
I'm a friendly and professional writer, reviewer and editor who works with warmth, humour and flexibility.
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