For more than a decade, I had put off writing my business book. I knew I had compelling ideas and techniques that would fill a void in the marketplace, but the prospect of taking on the daunting task of what could end up being a multi-year endeavor dissuaded me from even attempting to capture any of my ideas in book form. If I was going to do it at all, I needed to find a way to get it done fast. But how? I had exactly zero experience as an author, so how might I ramp up the learning curve quickly, on the first attempt?
The trigger came when I was informed that I had been selected for a coveted speaking slot at a big industry conference. And, as part of this, I was offered a book-signing table to promote my book. I just needed a book and I needed it fast! The conference was less than 12 weeks away, which left less than a month for the actual authoring.
Here’s how I did it:
Like many authors, I had already blogged about some of the same topics, so I used my blog content as a head start for the book.
Second, I had assembled quite a bit of additional content into a set of “technique training” materials that I used to deliver an all-day training class for my clients. This called for heavier use of graphics, which ended up serving a double-purpose for the book. Also, the experience of delivering the training sessions helped sharpen concepts for the book.
Third, I enlisted the help of two co-authors, each of whom already had some content written up for their specific areas of expertise. The content required significant editing as well as some re-writing and graphics work, but that option better than starting from scratch, and better than trying to create new content I didn’t know quite as well myself.
Fourth, I relied on my network to locate an excellent, affordable, and very fast professional copy editor. Okay, actually it was my sister, so maybe this was more due to simple luck than superior networking ability.
Fifth, I used a print-on-demand (POD) publisher, BookLocker.com, known for providing good support to first-time authors. They also were fine letting me do some parts myself, such as the eBook conversion, to save money where it made sense.
And finally, I changed my attitude. With the aggressive schedule, I knew there was a reasonable chance that I might fail. As a result, I decided that I was going to make sure I at least learned enough about the process to understand how to succeed in the future, if not at this first attempt. This kept things fun, even in the middle of some stressful situations.
So, if you have a business book in you, but have been held back by the unappealing notion of a long, arduous authoring process, try these seven techniques to help knock out the authoring job in a month or less:
- Blog for a head start or pull topic-related content from your previously published work.
- Build training materials for an even bigger head start. (If you don’t have training materials up front, consider creating some after finishing your book to generate a second source of income.)
- Get a very real near-term deadline, such as a speaking opportunity connected to a book promo event.
- Get a co-author or two to help carry the load.
- Network to line up a strong, reliable copy editor ahead of time.
- Use a good POD publisher that can help you fast, and where you need it most.
- Focus on the “learning” objective, so that you’re guaranteed to succeed.
Good luck – let me know if this approach works for you
Michael Hannan is Founder & Principal Consultant of Fortezza Consulting, and is an innovator, author, and professional speaker on how to boost the performance of IT project portfolios. His most recent book is The CIO’s Guide to Breakthrough Project Portfolio Performance (2014).
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: If you aren’t willing to bring on co-authors, but you need to purchase materials from others to get your project completed ASAP, be sure to have them sign a work-for-hire agreement. For more info. on that, CLICK HERE.