“Let’s write a book in a day!” Got your attention? That’s the point. The statement draws clients in with promises of instant success, while the promiser makes money and up sells more services. This business strategy plays out every day on social media advertisements for webinars and workshops promising to help write a book in a day, or a weekend.
“Wow! Sign me up!” I’ve written a thousand magazine articles and each one took longer than that. I’ve written and coached writing for dozens of full length books. It took more time than a weekend to do market research or outline the chapters, much less create a top-quality book that’s marketable, publishable, and sellable.
I ask myself, “What are they doing, how are they doing it, what can I learn?”
Honestly, an underlying fear is, despite a long, successful career, “I might be doing it wrong!” (I’m only human so doubt crosses my mind on occasion, too. Darn the humanity!)
Let’s stop for a moment. Say the word: “Book”
What comes to mind? Pages covered in words and bound together with a colorful cover. It’s held in hand and read, right? But another book format is an e-book and the machine it’s read on. There are “books” in plastic boxes containing multiple CD’s. These audio books allow the “reader” to listen to the book while driving. Several different definitions of a book, but all probably between 50,000 to 90,000+ words.
The promise of “write a book in a day” boils down to the definition of a book. For this purpose, the word “book” is a guidebook, an electronic offering. Guidebooks serve a specific marketing purpose: Draw potential clients to a website and capture email addresses for future use. Clicking on a guidebook advertisement on social media triggers offers from its author to flow into the subscriber’s email inbox.
Opportunities to download a free guidebook come up on social media every day. Titles usually take on this format: “Five ways to . . .” or “Top 10 tips for . . ..”
Guidebooks are short, easy reads. Quick reads are powerful and effective to impart enough wisdom to entice the reader to want more. Once written, guidebooks are used as part of a business marketing funnel on a website. A general expectation for writing a guidebook is about 2 to 5 pages per point. Higher number of points requires fewer number of pages per point. The reverse is true for lower number of points. For example, the main content for a “Three easy health goals to . . .” guidebook should work out to about 12 to 15 pages (double spaced, 12-point type) or 4 to 5 pages per point. A “Seven tips for . . .” might consist of about 14 to 21 pages or 2 to 3 pages per point. This page count includes graphics, at least one per point. Bullet points, an outline, or “if ___, then ____” formulas flesh out the guidebook and make it easier to write. Also include the author bio and maybe a special offer or other call to action.
Guidebooks ARE books that CAN be written in a day or two. The most time-consuming part of the process is determining the book’s purpose and main points. Rule of thumb: Spend one hour of work time per finished page in the guidebook.
Don’t misunderstand, there’s nothing wrong with an entrepreneur creating a guidebook. There’s a guidebook on my own website, please check it out: BookWritingBusiness.com at the bottom of the Home page.
There’s nothing wrong with promising to help someone write a guidebook in a short period of time, as long as there’s full disclosure it is in fact a “guidebook” or “tip book” and not just a “book,” which in my opinion is misleading. This warning specifically focuses on promises to “write a book in a day,” where readers have to dig deep in the advertising content, after providing an email address, and sometimes paying money upfront to take an online workshop, to find out how the word “book” is defined.
I can help write a guidebook in a short period of time, but a key factor missing from the “write a book in a day” equation, and is how I personally do business, is the focus on quality. I prefer to focus on creating a top-quality product in the time it takes to do so. I’m more invested in creating a product my client is proud to put their name on, that will serve its business-building purpose, highlight expertise in a positive way, and attract prospective clients.
Finally, a guidebook is a great foundation for writing that 50,000+ word book. And it’s a great place for a writer to start!
Is a guidebook to highlight your business expertise and grow your e-mail list something that interests you? Look at other guidebooks and see how you can use this tool to build your contact list and reach more potential clients. Contact me if you want more guidance: Arlene@BookWritingBusiness.com