I never thought I would ever write a book let alone get it published! However, I found a colleague who had done so and asked his advice – that was the start and now I am a published author of seven books on Public Speaking, Coaching and Mentoring and Leadership with five different publishers.
So what are the 7 leadership writing strategies to get you published I offer when mentoring aspiring leadership authors?
1/ Firstly Identify a healthy target market. Ask yourself these questions:
Who in the leadership world will read your book, and what will make your book stand out from others in the same genre?
2/ Come up with a strong original idea. Are you an expert on a particular aspect of leadership? What do people need from your book? Break down the various elements of leadership and decide on an ‘edgy’ topic that will attract both publishers and readers.
3/ Understand exactly what you want to achieve. What kind of leadership book will this be? Serious informative, light & humorous, factual and based on innovative new research? How long will it be and how much time and effort do you need to put into it?
4/ Another of the 7 leadership writing strategies is to consider doing a survey to find out the needs of your readers. Ask your contacts and colleagues what they would find interesting. Check out books on Amazon and other industry publishers such as the FT (Financial Times) and Prentice Hall etc Make sure you understand the lists of books that publishers own and see which best fits with your ideas. Check out the ‘Writers and Artist Year Book’ as they list all the publishers and agents in the UK and Ireland – a new edition is out every August.
5/ Stick to the publisher’s guidelines which are available to download from most publisher’s websites, and be aware that your book will be rejected if you do not adhere to these guidelines. Follow the 7 leadership writing strategies as Publishers today need to ensure they will make a profit from both you as a potential marketing arm and from your book. Publishers like to consider you as someone of credibility and expertise as well as your book title and content.
6/ Do your research and ensure your content is original. With so many leadership books out there yours needs to be sharp, edgy and different. Do ask for help with editing and as this is about your reputation in the market. If you do not have experience of writing and getting published there is plenty of help available. Or contact me for a two-hour ‘book publishing mentoring session’ to get you started: Jackie @coach4executives.com
- Tell stories and meet your reader’s needs. Some of the best book reviews are about leadership books which share personal anecdotes, stories and feelings. One such book which closely follows the 7 leadership writing strategies is ‘Leading Teams 10 Challenges 10 Solutions’ is written by two colleagues of mine Mandy Flint and Elisabet Vinberg Hearn – their book was accepted by FT publishing as it was different and described familiar situations and emotions that leaders face on a daily basis. My own book ‘Coaching Skills for Leaders in the Workplace’ is validated and recommended by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and the Institute of Leadership & Management for their level 5-7 Qualifications as it is highly practical and gives interesting case studies and is packed with resources.
In summary then:
1/ FOCUS – WHAT is your target market – what do readers want?
2/ PURPOSE – WHY you – what’s your strong idea, are you an expert?
3/ APPROACH – HOW will you present your book, what kind of book is it?
4/ READERSHIP? – Who are your readers and what do they need?
5/ PUBLISHERS & COMPETITION – What other publishers and books are out there?
6/ GUIDELINES and MARKETING IDEAS – Find out the guidelines and stick to them
7/ MARKETING – What’s your title and what stories or facts will engage your readers?
When approaching publishers always provide:
- Intro letter – why this book – my experience of …..
- Cover page – Title and author name
- Table of contents
- Marketing page (how you will help to market it and who to)
- List of illustrations if any
- Brief bio – professional background – 3rd person
- Previous publications – published writing if any – very important
- One or two sample chapters
- Word doc, double spaced
- Attractive binder or by e-mail.
Remember: Publishers buy the author and the book