CGM blog: Is there a book in you?

So, here’s the question – do you have a book in you?

I mean, seriously, do you think you have what it takes to write your own book?

If so, where can you go for impartial advice? Well, you could try our Is there a book in it? half-day course for would-be authors (the next one is this Friday, July 6) where we’ll provide answers to key questions.

In essence writing, producing, publishing – let alone selling – ANY book is dependent on two key criteria:

Is it a good story?

Is there a market for your book?

Legend has it that most people reckon they’ve got a book in them. Somewhat cynically the saying also goes that in most cases that’s probably where it should stay.

But how do you know if you’ve got a genuinely good tale to tell and how do you go about getting it published?

Your book idea might be a personal life or business story, a tale of some specific interest or area of expertise – possibly even a novel or guide of some description.

Some folks even feel a compulsion to write their story but need a co-author or ghost writer to bring it to life. Again, arming yourself with knowledge by finding out what’s involved is a good place to start.

What you need is advice on how to shape it and the how-to mechanics of researching and writing a book.

And then there’s the passion. If you only fancy writing a book, forget it.

You NEED to really write a book to make it work. It requires desire and drive – not least during the dark nights when hard work drains energy levels and self-doubt can creep in.

That comes from the conviction of truly believing you have a great story and a framework of hanging it together.

A book is a marathon in the same way that a blog is a 100 metre dash. They’re both races – and writing – but each requires distinct skills.

A 100 metre race requires a lung-bursting, teeth-gritting dash for seconds. A marathon needs thorough preparation, a detailed training schedule and the mental toughness to keep going.

That’s why it is a challenge for the toughest of athletes just as a book is the equivalent for writers, albeit you have the relative luxury of allowing your thoughts to ‘breathe’.

Primarily you need a purpose. There are many different publishing options but you need to decide the desired outcomes you’d like from writing your book.

Not everyone can be or even aspires to be a best-selling author. It makes me smile when some self-obsessed business coaches boast about their ‘best-selling’ book when they (a) it isn’t, and (b) they don’t seem to know what that phrase means!

You should always have an audience in mind and may want to write your book for any numbers of reasons:

As an ‘extended business card’ for coaches, consultants for example, that reveals a bit about how you do what you do not just what you do (your thought processes in detail).

It may be as a manual for others to follow.

You may fancy writing a novel or even have a family story to tell that you want to record for posterity before it is consigned to history and forgotten.

The reasons and purposes are endless – but a goal and audience in mind is vital as you’ll need to get out there to market it.

You’ll also need to condense your idea into a synopsis particularly if you are seeking a publisher or other support and some sample text – even if only to ultimately convince yourself that you’re on the right track.

So where do you go for impartial advice?

Our course is a great starting point. You’ll leave with a:

– Book publishing template
– Synopsis shaper guide
– Cost benefit calculator
– Marketing guide

Most of all you’ll meet and share your thoughts with fellow would-be authors and get the chance to learn from experienced authors who have been there and done the hard yards, over and over again.

Still got a book in you?

Chris Green is managing partner of Chris Green Media and an experienced author and broadcaster. His books include Every Boy’s Dream – England Football Future on the Line and Cyrille Regis – My Story.