by Nina Amir
Many entrepreneurs don’t believe they are writers. However, they want to become authors because they know a book gives them expert status.
Becoming an authority or thought leader in their industry will help them grow their businesses.
This leaves them in a quandary. They want and need a book but don’t feel they can write it.
If you are one of these business owners, stop stressing! If you can speak, you can write. And if you can speak about your business, you can write a book that helps generate increased income.
Better yet, if you can speak about the issues your customers and clients most often want you to solve or the questions they most often want you to answer, you can write a book that will attract more customers and clients, thereby boosting your business’s bottom line.
How is that possible? You can speak your book.
Don’t Bother with a Ghost
Most people who believe they can’t write turn to ghostwriters. I get at least one call per month from someone who wants to know if I’ll ghostwrite a book for them or recommend a ghostwriter who will.
I always tell them I don’t recommend this option. Here’s why:
- Ghostwriters are enormously expensive.
- Ghostwriters don’t know your business.
- Ghostwriters don’t have your knowledge or experience.
- Ghostwriting takes a lot of time and energy.
- Ghostwritten books don’t always end up sounding like you.
5 Steps to Speak Your Book
Instead, I recommend an alternative option that I use successfully with my clients. I tell these aspiring authors to speak their books.
This method is easy, quick and affordable and turns out a book filled with their own knowledge, experience told in their voice and with their language.
If you need to speak, rather than write, your book, here are the exact steps I use with my clients to get their books out of their heads and onto paper—without them hardly typing a word.
1- Mind map the idea. Start by brainstorming the book idea. You may have only a general topic, but work until you fine-tune this to a subject and an angle.
End up with a table of contents. This provides you with the basic structure for the book. To learn more about how to go through a mind mapping process to start your book, read this post.
2 – Create a detailed table of contents. (I discuss this in my previous post as well.) Continue brainstorming, or mind mapping, until you have more content.
Take all the smaller topics you thought of during the mind mapping process and place them in your table of content in the appropriate chapter. These might end up as subheadings in your chapter, and you can set them up as such in your table of contents.
Also, create bullet points under each subheading to remind you of the topics you want discuss. Take the time to make notes, if necessary, on each chapter, subheading, bullet point, or topic so you are sure you know what you want to say for each one.
The point is to get as detailed as possible (without writing the book). Imagine this like a PowerPoint presentation; you need enough information so your memory is sparked and you know what to say, but you don’t necessarily want to write everything out in sentences and paragraphs.
3 – Speak your book chapter by chapter. Using the detailed table of contents, speak your book into a digital recorder.
4 – Get your recordings transcribed. Hire a transcriptionist to take your audio recordings and turn them into a Word document. Or use Word’s dictation system or a program like Dragon Naturally Speaking as you record your book. This avoids the cost of transcription.
5 – Edit your transcripts. Tackle your manuscript once yourself before hiring an editor. It will save you money. It gives you the chance to ensure what you said made sense. It’s amazing how what we say often is incomprehensible.
Once you’ve done this, send it on to a professional book editor for a round or two (or three) of developmental editing and then a round of line editing.
Here’s one more tip: If step #3, speaking your book chapter by chapter, feels awkward to you, turn your detailed table of contents into questions. Then have someone interview you. Record your answers into a recorder, and follow the rest of the steps.
At this point, you have a full manuscript. How much editing that document needs varies, but if you’ve planned out your book in fine detail—the more detail the better—and stuck to that detail as you spoke your book, it should be in pretty good shape.
You also need to have created a sound book structure in those early stages. If you didn’t, a developmental editor will find many reasons to move content around and make other major changes.
Once editing is complete, your book is ready for cover design and interior design, if you want a print book, and proofreading. Then you can publish and start boosting your business as an author as well as an entrepreneur.
This article was originally published on The Future of Ink and is reprinted here in its entirety for our Magnolia Media Network readers.