Every once in a while when someone learns that one of the hats I wear is that of a freelance corporate writer, that person becomes intrigued and asks me to help write a book about a fantastic true story. This doesn’t mean that the person’s story is boring, uninspiring, or not helpful. It might be a great story. However, it simply demonstrates a common misunderstanding about the publishing world. That misunderstanding is that publishing a book is an easy, fun, inexpensive process that is guaranteed to succeed if you simply have a good writer.
The reality is that the world of book publishing is much larger and complex than most folks can imagine. Book publishing is many things but one thing it is not is a quick easy path to riches and success. If indeed you have a book in you, then write it! Just don’t expect that book to be your meal ticket.
First and foremost, you need to determine whether a book is an effective tactic in a much larger strategy, and if so, then you need to coordinate many additional tactics throughout that strategy to make it all work. Some folks end up doing this very successfully and others fail miserably. It is best to know which crowd you are in before you begin.
Anna Sproul-Latimer is a literary agent with the Ross Yoon Agency. I like the way she summarizes these realities (Kara Gebhart Uhl, “Meet the Agent” Writer’s Digest. March/April 2017, p. 17):
“Don’t think a book is going to give you a platform. You’re going to have to bring your platform to a book.”
Now that’s good advice for any aspiring writer!