Writing a book, much like skydiving and getting your motorcycle licence is something that most people are, “definitely going to do at some stage.” However, unlike jumping out of a plane or risking your life on your daily commute, writing a business book can have immediate and tangible benefits.

Obviously, it’s a great way to enhance your reputation and position yourself as a subject matter expert in your industry, but there are other less esoteric outcomes that a book can create. For example, a physical book is an ideal promotional tool – both for giving to potential clients and using as personal leverage into speaking opportunities. A book can form the basis of your industry doctrine, becoming the embodiment of your thoughts and beliefs and helping members of your community gain a more intimate understanding of why your business does what it does.woman at desk writing

But how do you write a book, without having it take over every spare minute of your life? And how can you create this book in a reasonable period of time, say, a month?

Planning, Planning, Planning

A plan is the most important tool you can have as a writer. Not just a list of daily writing targets, but also a breakdown of chapters, and a structure for the book itself. Begin with what you want the book to be about. This doesn’t mean coming up with a title, or even making an eloquent statement. If, “I want to tell people how to do their accounts better,” is the goal of the book then so be it. You can craft the words later.

Next, create a list of topics that are long enough to take up a chapter. Post-it notes come in handy for this as you will definitely move your chapters around, combine a few and adjust the structure as your thinking evolves. You may also change the goal of the book, which is fine too.

Don’t rush this process, the better it is the faster your writing will be.

Writing

Start at the beginning of your topics, not the introduction. You can worry about welcoming readers and explaining the context of the book once you have it written. For now, begin with the first topical chapter that you assigned, and work your way through the book from there. Don’t jump all over the place with regards to chapters – you may want to reference the previous chapter in a future ones and this becomes crazy difficult when you aren’t sure exactly where you’re at.*

Set yourself a daily target. You can use either time or a word count, but stick to some sort of structure. I find it easier to write every day so that I can get into a rhythm, but you may find it better to put aside an hour every second day or a lot of time on the weekend. Whatever works for you, create a timeline and work your way backwards. If you want to get the book completed in a month, and you want the book to be 40,000 words, then you know exactly how many words you need to write at each session.

Don’t get too tied up in word count though, perhaps you will have a shorter book that has a bunch of exercises in it, or a short e-book, or a picture book…whatever is authentic to you and your business.

Edit

Do yourself a favour and hire an editor. There are plenty of freelancing sites like Upwork, Freelancer.com or Guru and being able to finish writing and handball it to someone else is worth every dollar you spend. Also, there is the added bonus of avoiding minor grammatical errors that can have a negative impact on the reputational enhancement you are hoping to achieve.

Once you’re holding a well-edited manuscript, you can either put it together yourself using one of the many online systems (I’d name a few but am yet to find one I would consider terrible) or you can grab another freelancer and get them to publish it professionally, preferably using something like Adobe InDesign.

There, you are now a published author – and don’t let anyone tell you that you need a publishing house to distribute your book before you can claim that; that’s old school thinking. Well done, author.

*I’ve tried this and it makes you want to scream and break things.