Writing a book doesn’t just teach other people about your business. It also teaches YOU.
Every day, as you move through the world, you see it through your perspective. Since you see it all the time, your take on things probably doesn’t strike you as anything unique or especially valuable. In fact, you might not even be aware that you’re looking through a perspective at all. It could be so familiar it’s bound to your consciousness like shrink-wrap.
When starting the book development and writing process, most of my coaching clients don’t realize the extent of their brilliance. They know that they have incredible expertise — incredible insight — but often they don’t see the best of it. It’s only in the process of writing a book that they discover the deeply unique perspectives that they have to offer.
Often, the most profound insight only comes through developing a salable book concept and writing the manuscript. It’s the insight that’s so ingrained in you, so fundamental to the way you operate, that you don’t even realize you know it. You don’t realize how valuable it is — that people want it, need it, and would pay top dollar to get it. It’s the insight that you need to leverage in order to grow your business.
I experienced this for the first time when I was writing my own book. I was working with a business coach at the time, and I was telling her about my writing process. That’s when I made a very offhand comment: “Outlining a book’s pretty simple,” I told her. “There are just four structures out there.”
When I said that, my coach sort of jolted up, leaned forward, and asked me to explain.
So I did: “If you look at the best-selling books of all time,” I said, “they all use one of four basic structures.”
She asked me whether I knew what the four structures were.
I told her I did.
She said, “Robin, that’s a million-dollar idea.”
“Naw.” I said, “That’s just how it is.”
She was right, of course.
What I thought was obvious, other people considered insightful and valuable. So I wove an analysis of those four basic structures into my book and my web course. Now, that insight has become one of the main things that distinguishes me from my competitors. Clients who start out overwhelmed by the prospect of generating an outline discover that there aren’t 1,000 choices on how to structure a book. There are four. Once you see that, the writing process becomes infinitely easier.
That was one of my unknown knowns—an insight, which struck me as obvious. It was only in the process of writing my book (and coaching) that I realized that I was on to something unique and valuable.
It’s for this reason that I always stress the importance of beginning your book by researching your field. Analyze your competition, and clarify your particular value-add. Because if you want to grow your business, you have to peel away the shrink-wrap—and figure out what makes you special.
I often say don’t just sell your book — write a book that sells YOU. But your book can do more than sell you to prospective clients. Your book can sell you on the value of you and what you have to offer.
And if you’d like to go deeper, you can check out my book, How To Write A Book That Sells YOU.
Or, find out how you can work with me in person at my next 3-day intensive in New York City.