Interested in writing an Authority Guide or have already achieved that hard-earned contract? Here are a few tips to keep in mind when writing a Guide (or any book for that matter):
- Deliver on time. Slipping a month or two doesn’t really matter, does it? Yes, it does. We announce our books four months before publication, ensuring all the right details are given to our selling partners, bookshops and Amazon. If your publication date shifts, due to late delivery, it’s likely to miss a promotional window, meaning that sales will be hit, and your credibility may be affected. If you’re writing a book on time management, there’s really no excuse not to deliver!
- Deliver to the agreed length. We think carefully about the pricing of our books. Overwriting, even by a few thousand words, can disproportionately affect the price and profitability of a book. Remember to murder your darlings, and hit the right word length.
- Deliver what you said you were going to deliver. If you’re contracted to write an Authority Guide on managing difficult people in the workplace, do exactly that. While you may want to deliver a new version of War and Peace, we’re set up to sell business books, rather than blockbuster fiction!
- Write for the market that you know: the practitioners, the doers, the entrepreneurs, the learners. People who buy ‘how to’ books don’t have a lot of time, so get into the subject straightaway. Break the chapters up with headings and subheadings, case studies and bullet points. The easier the book is to read, the more useful it will be.
- Work with the reader. Don’t use ‘one’, it may be correct grammar, but it’s not good form. Address and engage the reader and bring them into the conversation and use ‘we’ or ‘your’ or ‘someone’.
- Know your subject. We’ve asked you to write the book as you’re an expert, but it’s okay if you don’t know everything. If you need to do a bit more background reading as you write the book, that’s great. An Olympic winner trains between events and gets better as their race gets nearer. Don’t sit still when it comes to improving your subject knowledge.
- When you start writing, don’t start with the introduction. This may sound counterintuitive, because it seems the natural place to start. But often it’s just the final dressing. Write it last once you’ve worked out what you’re going to say.
Above all, enjoy writing the book. You’re an authority in your field and you have a good news story to tell. So tell it on time. Tell it succinctly. And tell it so it makes people better at what they do.
This blog post was brought to you by Chris Cudmore, managing editor of the Authority Guides.