I’ve never seen myself as an author or, for that matter, a “writer”. This is not due to any lack of confidence: I’ve always understood my business and how to explain it to others, in addition to having a fair grasp of the English language (thanks to my 12th grade teacher, Mr. Murphy. Anyone who’s had him knows from whence I speak). What I mean is that, like many of us, we look in the mirror and develop our own labels. I’m a Creative Director. My focus, on a day to day basis, is ensuring the aesthetics and clarity of communication in the marketing materials I create meet a certain standard I’m comfortable with. I’m a father and a husband. I’m a good friend and a reasonably intelligent adult.
And now, after writing this book, I can comfortably label myself an author.
Writing a business book has a great many benefits. First and foremost it brings a level of clarity to my work that would never have existed had I not put my thoughts, strategies and knowledge down on my iMac. It’s allowed me to take what previously seemed like random nuggets of information about marketing and organize it in a way that makes better sense to myself and those I wish to communicate with.
It’s an easier way for me to introduce myself to potential clients who are interested in this type of service (advertising, social marketing, promotion, SEO) and let them know that I’m not just another schmoe who’s read a few articles on this stuff and prematurely calls himself an expert. As much as I already knew about my business and despite the number of case studies I have that show positive results, there’s so much more I needed to learn that required real research. In order to write a book that purports to suggest an expertise in a particular subject, I had to make sure I was that expert in order to complete it.
Writing a book is a master’s thesis. While it’s certainly not the kind of master’s thesis you’ll get from a biochemist who’s done year’s of research to reach his or her conclusions, it may require some of that time commitment. As a result, you can close the last chapter of your work with the knowledge that you are far more educated on the subject you write about than you previously were. It’s a license to drive in a lane you previously felt was too fast for you.
People take you a little bit more seriously when you’ve made the commitment of putting 248 pages of your thoughts on paper. This is not to say you weren’t taken seriously before, just that you were never previously seen as a thought leader or known quantity for your area of expertise outside of your circle of current and past clients (and colleagues).
Lastly, writing a book is an opportunity in and of itself. It’s a way to reach out to an audience that never would have found you. It’s a chance to speak to a wider audience and have some amount of influence on the subject you focus on. It’s an opening to prove to others, through detail, that your methods actually have merit. Sure, there are dozens of business books out in the world that offer little more than a few lazy observations, general bromides, or dated content. But that doesn’t have to be your book. Your business book should reflect your expertise, attitudes and philosophy.
Are there drawbacks? Not really, but understand that simply writing a book and getting it published doesn’t ensure anyone will read it. You have to market it, write about, talk about it, give it away, and get yourself out there any way you can. Writing it will not suddenly change your trajectory overnight and make you any less or more of who you are anyway. All it will do is give you an opportunity. You either grab it or ignore it. So go ahead and write it. Don’t second guess yourself, don’t overly edit your work until it’s complete, and discipline yourself to write every day. Do that and eventually others will find you through it – and you’ll have a sense of accomplishment no one can take away from you.