Publishing a book can boost a career, establish your authority, differentiate yourself, and heal emotional wounds. But before you put any words on paper, it is important to understand why you want to write a book. What is the purpose of the book? What is the story you are going to tell and are you ready to emotionally and physically take the plunge? Similar to becoming a parent, once you start writing, your life may never be the same.
If you know you want to write a book, but struggle with what reason(s) you may have for doing so, here are five reasons I hear often:
1. To put a capstone on your career and leave a legacy
There are people who have seen more in their lifetime or career than the rest of us ever will. They have accumulated industry knowledge that no one wants to see retire with them. If you have led a team or been in a position to gather and retain wisdom and experience, consider writing a book to capture that brilliance. It is the ultimate responsibility and gift to the next generation to leave them the tools to continue your positive impact on the world.
2. To create a lead for speaking, consulting/coaching, and online programs
There is a business trend to write and self-publish a book to create more speaking opportunities and sell the book at the back of the room. It’s trendy because it works! People get to know, like and trust you at a lower cost level through your book. If you impress them, they’ll choose to work with you for a larger investment. Be sure to leave them loving your style and wanting more of your greatness. Include your intellectual property and thought leadership, don’t sell someone something they could have found on Google. If this is a business lead, put your best foot forward.
3. To inspire, entertain, educate or motivate.
This is the real reason any of us write anything, from a blog to a newsletter to a social media post to a book. The reader must come first! No matter what I said in reason #1, do not write a book all about how smart you are and as an experiment in vanity. If you have a sincere desire to stir something in your reader, to get them to think or act differently, then you have one of the best reasons to write a book.
4. To heal and process an event
I wrote this journal entry recently when I was told by my editor to cut a piece of my story out. “I am not “over” my year from hell. I’m still tender and sore from the things that happened, and I am not objective enough yet to take out a piece of the story that may not serve the audience. Some parts are more important to me because of the blatant injustice, but they are not essential to the story arc. What is most important is for me to impart the takeaway for the reader, not enumerate the one thousand cuts that brought me to the lesson. I have recorded the one thousand cuts for myself. Now I need to move the audience.” Writing is a healing process, and there is value in taking the time to process an experience by writing about it. Know that it doesn’t have to be published to the masses, or if it will be, it will need editing for audience relevance. Either way, write it and heal.
5. To have a career as an author
These are my favorite books. They truly stand out from books that are written to execute a business plan. You can tell when someone has spent years working on their craft and honing their writer’s voice. It takes a very long time and very thick skin to survive in the author career, but for those of us who are called to use the written word as our art form, it is so very much worth it. If you’ve dreamed of seeing your name on the spine of a book for most of your life, don’t give up. If you keep returning to the goal every few years, don’t give up. If you are meant to be an author, do the work!
If you have an idea of what you want to say in your book but struggle with getting those ideas on paper, download your free Outline eBook – it’s where your book begins.