Many entrepreneurs don’t believe they are writers. However, they want to become authors or bloggers because they know a book and a blog give them expert status. Indeed, becoming an authority or thought leader in your industry will help you grow your businesses. But if you don’t think you can write, this leaves you in a quandary. You want and need a book and a blog but don’t feel you 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—or maintain a blog—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 and blog posts that attract more customers and clients, thereby boosting your business’s bottom line.
How is that possible? You can speak your book. You also can speak your blog posts.
Let’s focus on how you speak a blogged book. Keep in mind that the same principles apply to writing blog posts on a continuing basis.
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 end up sounding like you.
5 Steps to Speaking Your Blogged 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 it produces 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.
- 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. Conclude the exercise with you can create a table of contents. This provides you with the basic structure for your book. (To learn more about how to go through a mind mapping process to start your book, read this post.)
- Create a detailed table of contents. (I discuss this in the mind-mapping post as well.) Continue brainstorming, or mind mapping, until you have more content. Take all the smaller topics you conceived during the mind-mapping process and place them in the appropriate chapter in your table of content. 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 know what you want to say for each one. The point is to get as detailed as possible (without writing the book). Think of 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.
- Speak your book chapter by chapter. Using the detailed table of contents, speak your book into a digital recorder.
- Get your recordings transcribed. Hire a transcriptionist to take your audio recordings and turn them into a Word document. Or use MS Word’s dictation system or a program like Dragon Naturally Speaking as you record your book. This avoids the cost of transcription.
- Edit your transcripts. Tackle your manuscript once yourself before hiring an editor. This step saves 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.
Final Tip for Speaking Your Book
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.
When you’ve completed all the steps, you will have produced 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 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. (If you need help with your book structure or content, hire a book coach to help you.)
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.
Use this same process once you’ve finished blogging your book. Speak your posts to help you write, publish and promote your book and your business on a regular and consistent basis.
You’ll never again say you aren’t a writer!