Writing (and publishing) a book can confer myriad benefits on your consulting firm. More publicity, more inquiries from clients, more projects, higher fees. A great book multiplies those benefits and can lift you and your consulting firm to the next level of success. But how do you write a great business book?
Most business books are like grocery-store cookies: reasonably satisfying, though too much filler. You wouldn’t recommend them to a friend. A few business books are bad or beyond their expiration date. A few are quite tasty—you’ll recommend those on occasion.
A very tiny fraction of business books are tiramisu: sublime to consume and (intellectually) fattening. They’re highlighted, filled with notes, dog-eared and frequently recommended.
Your consulting business won’t notice a difference between an okay book and a good book. But producing a great book raises you above the churning froth of experts in your field. It will be passed around and recommended extensively.
You’ll receive more invitations to speak, more inquiries about projects, and more consulting engagements at higher fees.
Writing an outstanding book is difficult and takes effort. It’s 100%, totally worth the investment.
For the moment, let’s focus on process rather than content. In other words, let’s not delve into commercial publishing vs. self-publishing, or formats (e.g., fables vs. how-tos), or the quality of your ideas.
What are your tips for writing an outstanding business book?
I’ve compiled a list of tips for writing an outstanding book, but am detailing only one in this article. I want you to share your tips in the comments, too.
Tip #5: Beta-Readers
Your Target, Not Your Friends – Assemble a list of beta-readers who look just like your prospective clients. Beta readers should not be your friends, family or other consultants.
At Least Two Per Chapter – Three per chapter would be even better, but never settle for input from fewer than two beta readers. You’ll find widely divergent opinions on some of your materials. I had as many as eight beta-readers review some chapters of The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients.
Solicit Useful Feedback – You’re not looking for kudos at this stage. You want tough-to-hear reactions that point the way to a better book. The directions I gave beta-readers included the following:
Make it Easy – Mail hard copy drafts along with a red pen and a pre-paid return envelope.
Also, since a great book holds its reader’s attention from start to finish, put a scale at the top of every page to get a bead on when your book is becoming boring. (A single, ho-hum portion will instantly demote your work from the ranks of outstanding books.) The header I put at the top of every page looked like this:
As I mentioned above, Tip #5 (Beta Readers) is one of many that will help you pen a truly great business book that will meaningfully help your consulting firm.
Based on your reading and your experience, what else should a consultant do to write a great book?
Text and images are © 2019 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.