Yesterday I attended a business meeting. The room was filled with people from a variety of businesses, but there was one person who caught my attention. He was an elderly gentleman with white hair. When he stood he was a little stooped over, and although he spoke clearly there were awkward pauses between some of his words – as if he had suffered a stroke some years ago.
He was only given a moment to introduce himself to the rest of us, and he took more time than he should have. He was an author, and he was there to promote his book. I never caught his name nor the title of his book. What I did catch was that a little over ten years ago this man retired from a very long, exhausting professional career which had nothing to do with writing. He was searching for something else to do with his life and was inspired to write a book.
It took this man ten years to complete his book. TEN YEARS! And trust me, this is someone who does not have time on his side. I turned to the gentleman sitting to my right and said, “I could have saved him about nine and three quarters of those years!”
Most authors probably don’t take ten years to write a book. It’s probably more like two to five years, depending on the subject matter and how much research is involved. Even so, that is a long time to wait to see a profit from your work. And you may never see a profit after all is said and done.
Booklets give you two big advantages. The first is that they take far less time to write and publish than a book does. And the second is that they give you a way to test your market before writing a full manuscript (should you be so inclined) and therefore saving you possibly thousands of dollars.
The poor gentleman at the meeting yesterday had it backwards. He wrote the book and now he’s trying to figure out how to promote it. Had he written a booklet, he would have more money in his pocket for promotions and he could have tested his market to see whether a full length book might be profitable.
I must give this gentleman credit, however, because he did finish his book. He had a box of printed copies with him. Ten years is a very long time to work on any project, especially when you have no idea whether you’ll reap any reward for it, and he didn’t quit. He saw it through to completion.
Don’t write a book. Please don’t. Not until you have a solid understanding of your market. Then, if a book is your heart’s desire, go for it. In the meantime, write a booklet. You can have printed copies in your hand in about a month’s time depending on how quickly you write your manuscript. And then you can test your market with your booklet and see how receptive they are to your subject and your content. You’ll also be able to test your marketing skills before investing the time and money it takes to self publish and promote a book.
Sometimes, the riches are in time and money saved.
Here’s to your riches!
PS: Like this blog? Tell a friend! And don’t forget to click on one of the links at the top right of this page to subscribe so you never miss a single important post!