It is very common for business men and women to want to write a book that explores their business acumen or maps the paths they have traveled to arrive at their current position. Some want to write a legacy piece or historical retrospective. Some want to advance their position within their industry. Some want to pursue a speaking career.
There is, however, often the perception that the process is straightforward and easy. Of course, it is neither. And that’s a good thing, because otherwise everyone would be doing it.
The first hurdle is determining what you intend to focus on. You need an idea that has some degree of originality to it, because you don’t want your reader asking why you’ve written what you’re written. You want to a present a view of the business world that people haven’t heard before, or you need to present it in a way that is unique and valid.
The second hurdle is having an idea that can stand the test of 40,000 – 60,000 words of exploration, explanation, and examples. Most business books, like most self-books, are heavy on the fluff and short on seriously useful, entertaining, and educational material.
The third hurdle is getting the thing written and written well. At Mark Graham Communications, we have collaborated on many well-received and successful business books with people who understood that they weren’t in a position to get the job done themselves. Either they had plenty on their plates already, or they understood that they didn’t possess the skill set necessary to really do justice to their idea. Employing a ghostwriter in no way diminishes the fact that this is your book and that the ideas in it are yours.
The fourth hurdle is what to do once the book is done. There are a number of viable options. You can present your idea to a reputable literary agent, one who focuses on business books and knows the editors who buy them. You can present your book to smaller publishers who don’t require a literary agent and who specialize in business books. You can publish your book independently and contract elements such as book cover design, interior layout, and marketing to specialists in the industry, such as Graham Publishing Group. Vanity presses are to be avoided at all cost.
The fifth hurdle is pulling the trigger.