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Is This the Year You’re Going to Write a Business Book?

So you want to write a business book about your area of expertise?

That’s great! I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who can use your insights about carpentry, management, education or whatever subject matter you’re so excited to share.

Just keep in mind that you need to be serious about it if you’re going to write a business book. This isn’t something you can create in a day or a week. If you want your manuscript to be a real book and not a booklet or pamphlet by editorial standards, it’s probably going to take you a few months at least.

So before you go planning your dream vacation with the money you’re going to make on this publishing phenomenon you haven’t yet started, ask yourself these three questions.

1. Do You Have What It Takes?

Do you have what it takes to commit to the project, including the time, energy and dedication? And do you have what it takes to get all your thoughts down on paper in a coherent, logical, engaging manner?

It’s okay if the answer is no. Not everyone can reasonably commit like that to write a business book, just like not everyone has developed the skills necessary to transfer their expertise into a manuscript.

That’s what ghostwriters are for. They write it out for you.

One word of caution if you choose to go that way though. Ghostwriters are convenient, but they’re not cheap or always effective. In my editorial journeys, I’ve met too many people who have hired ghostwriters, only to be exceptionally disappointed with the results.

That could be the ghostwriter’s fault. Maybe they were lazy, unethical, strapped for time or simply confused. But it could also be the client’s fault if they weren’t clear about what they wanted. Despite their name, ghostwriters aren’t supernatural creatures. So they can’t read minds.

2. Can You Create an Outline?

Regardless of whether you go the ghostwriter route, you almost undoubtedly want to create an outline.

What details do you want to cover, and in what order should you cover them?

Your area of expertise might lend best to a step-by-step guide, where you show how readers can build credibility or credit or culinary chops. In which case, your outline might start out with something like this:

1. Introduction

a. My life as a ground-breaking chef

b. Why I’m confident you can create pro-level dishes too

2. Starting out.

a. Evaluate your kitchen equipment

i. Stove

ii. Pots, pans and dishes

iii. Accessories

b. Evaluate your personal culinary skills

i. Don't overwhelm yourself

ii. Don't underwhelm yourself

c. Keeping your kitchen stocked with certain staples

3. Kitchen safety

a. Proper storage (for knives and such)

b. Proper usage

c. In case of an emergency

Since I’m not a chef, that’s as far as I’m going to take this particular outline. But hopefully you get the point.

And regardless of whether you're doing a step-by-step guide or not, your manuscript outline should be as detailed as possible, covering all the key points readers will need to know in order to achieve the goal you’re promising.

3. Can You Stick to a Schedule?

Books don’t write themselves. So if you’re going to write a business book without the aid of a ghostwriter, you need to figure out a schedule.

Since life is filled with worthwhile and worthless distractions, this is actually a good tip for most serious writers. Figure out what events, responsibilities and engagements need to take precedence and which ones aren’t as high on the priority list.

You can almost certainly set aside some Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media time in favor of a half hour of writing four times a week. And while you most definitely don’t want to be ignoring your closest family and friends all the time, you can tell them you need to take fifteen minutes a day to work on this particular project.

Your book-writing schedule can honestly be as simple as that. Just as long as you stick to it, you’ll start seeing your manuscript grow in no time at all.

After that, we can talk about the editorial services your "write a business book" project is going to need.

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