I wonder what goes through the mind of a mountaineer who decides to tackle Everest? After all, no matter how many climbers reach its peak, the ascent remains a potentially life-threatening endeavour, even with the help of highly experienced Sherpas.
Writing a business book is, of course, nowhere near as dangerous as climbing one of the world’s tallest mountains – but it has its own, unique set of challenges. The best way to go about it is to engage the services of a different kind of guide, and at the Right Book Company we're experts at guiding you to success.
I’ve worked for The Right Book Company for almost two years now – first as an independent developmental editor and more recently as editorial project manager in charge of a team of editors. I’ve been a guide and support to many authors, some of whom wrote their books from scratch, and others who had written a first draft that needed some TLC.
For many business owners and entrepreneurs, the decision to write a book can feel as momentous as the climbing of Everest. And more often than not, once that decision has been made and the ascent begins, these new authors – who sometimes lack confidence in their writing – begin to realise exactly what they have taken on. One author I worked with told me: ‘The thought of becoming an author and writing a book seems very exciting but, like most things that are worthwhile, a considerable amount of hard work is required.’
And that’s when they need a book guide – someone who has been up the mountain before and not only has the technical skills necessary to help an author reach the peak, but also has the ability to motivate them to carry on when the going gets tough. Another of my authors needed this level of support on her journey: ‘The process built an important level of momentum that carried me through the times when I felt stuck or overwhelmed,’ she said. ‘Ultimately, I achieved a much better book than I could have managed alone.’
Once an author has decided to embark on the climb, the book guide will meet them at base camp to discuss logistics and make a plan to help the author reach the top of the mountain. They will then organise regular check-ins to assess progress and, if necessary, make a course correction.
So, if you are thinking about writing a book to promote your business, here are three key questions to ask yourself before you attach those crampons:
Have you put together a workable plan to help you reach the peak? If you’re being brave and going it alone, make sure you put together an achievable timeline. Remember that life and day jobs will always get in the way, so be realistic about the time it will take you to write your book. If you’re being wise and hiring a guide, they will help you figure out a plan that will get you to the top of the mountain on schedule, with regular support provided along the way. Never underestimate the time it will take you to write your book. I’d suggest giving yourself at least six months to put together a first draft.
Have you thought about what kind of support you’ll need? If you need a guide to help you structure your draft and give you feedback about the flow of the book as well as the overall reader experience, then you’ll need a developmental editor. If you need a guide who will hold your hand all the way up the mountain, then you’ll benefit from the support of an editor who is also a coach, mentor and accountability partner. One author told me: ‘However experienced a writer you may be, the benefits of sharing the sometimes-isolating writing experience with an editor able to motivate and guide you is a great and necessary investment.’
What will happen if you encounter an obstacle? We’ve all read stories about brave mountain guides who help climbers across treacherous crevasses. What will you do if you hit a rough patch? Or, God forbid, encounter icy writer’s block? Do you know how to get back on track when you’ve started to doubt yourself? This is where a guide who is also a coach comes into their own. They’ll be waiting for you at the next checkpoint, ready with moral and emotional support as well as practical writing and editing suggestions to help you get unstuck. Another author writes: ‘In my opinion, a coach provides a vital role that ensures that, with the required amount of hard work, you will take the optimal path towards becoming a successful author.’
Are you ready to embark on the ascent? As I was finishing this blog, an author who is about to submit his finished manuscript likened the book-writing process to climbing Everest. I smiled at the coincidence and reminded him that, once we’ve helped him climb those final few feet, we’ve already assembled a team of guides to help our next authors reach the peak marked publication!
Beverley Glick is The Right Book Company’s editorial project manager. She works closely with a team of editors to help authors write, shape and structure the best possible manuscript. She has been a professional writer and editor since the early Eighties and has worked for several national newspapers in a variety of writing and editing roles. She is also a leadership communications coach and trainer, specialising in TED-style speaking and storytelling. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.