Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
February 14, 2011 9:00 PM

Why You Should Write A Book

There are a lot of books that have already been written about Social Media. There's really not that much more to say...

Those two sentences may sounds like a truism, but they are not. It also doesn't matter whether we're talking about Social Media, cooking, history, economics, business, romance, science fiction or even mystery, if you have something to say, and you feel that the medium of a book would act as the ideal platform to get your ideas across, then nothing should stop you. The world doesn't need another Social Media book, but the world desperately needs a new Social Media book by you.

Do you understand the nuance?

There are many books about many topics out there, but there are zero books out there with your perspective on it... and that's what people are buying. The same can be said about a painting or a song. Do you really think the world needs another song (especially after listening to the catalogue of The Beatles work)? Are you even capable of painting something that is worthy of being hung in a museum or a gallery? If you follow the prescription that there are too many books about any particular topic out in the market and that there's not much more to say, your art will never fully be realized and the world quickly becomes a less creative space.

People make this mistake every day.

Nearly three years ago, a well-known Public Relations celebrity was giving a presentation right before me. After the event we were discussing book publishing as the news of my deal (for Six Pixels of Separation) had just broke in the publishing trades. This individual (who shall remain nameless) quipped that they had been offered multiple book publishing deals but opted against them because they too had felt that there were already too many books out on the topic. This was three years ago... imagine how many more books have been published on the topic. Just look at the success of Gary Vaynerchuk's Crush It or Chris Brogan and Julien Smith's Trust Agents... and what it has done to their respective careers.

Beyond adding your unique perspective to the world of publishing, there are countless other reasons why you should write a book:

  • It forces you to think in a much deeper context. If a book is nothing more than a bunch of articles or Blog posts, it's not really a book... it's a compilation. The true act of sitting down, structuring and framing a complete book is a much deeper thought process.
  • It will give your business more clarity. That deep context from the last point leads into clarity. All of the research, writing and mind exploring usually gives you a perspective on your industry that your peers have never spent the time trying to explore and define.
  • It establishes you as a credible authority. Clients and potential clients still feel that the act of writing a book and getting it formally published is an act of credibility. I, too, believe that people who have published works have more credibility in the marketplace.
  • It's a great business card. It's a great thank you card.
  • It doesn't have to be physical. Even self-publishing an ebook can be enough, just be sure to get a good editor or someone to help you find the right flow and structure.
  • It gets you exposure in places you may have never had access to. I can't tell you how many times a week I get an email from someone who picked up my book and read it because they discovered it in an airport bookstore or at a shop in the mall. These are places where my Blog and the marketing materials of Twist Image can never reach.
  • Strategic by-products happen all of the time. Someone sees the book and thinks to call me about something else and this turns into a business opportunity that would have never happened had it not been for the book being present in people's lives.
  • Crap is crap. None of this matters if you publish something poorly. I'm assuming it's not just your perspective, but a well-written and well-thought-out personal perspective.

If you don't write it, someone else will.

Ultimately, new books come out each day because someone takes a new perspective (their slant) on things. The bad news is that you didn't write a book because you assumed that their take is the same as your take (it's not... bad assumption). This isn't about getting everyone to publish a book on the same topic. This Blog post is much more about doing things that can help you grow - for your own personal development and for your business. If a book will help you accomplish that, there's no reason not to write one... unless you don't believe that you have a unique perspective.

Please don't take your art with you to the grave. There is nothing sadder.

(this was inspired by Ari Herzog's Blog post, If I Wrote A Book, and the comments that went along with it).

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Lynette Young
    Mitch Joel

    This is the drop-kick square in the gut I needed. I have been sitting on a proposal for a year. Time to start getting contacts & finish writing. Thanks Mitch. :)

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    What are the things that hold people back, even when they agree with everything you've argued above?
    - it can be costly to self-publish, especially a well-thought out and research unique-perspective piece
    - it can be difficult and time consuming (not that it isn't being done, just it might take more than three years) to find an agent and/or publisher

    You have a lot of experience with this industry, Joel - how do you suggest people overcome or speed up these processes?

    One more reason to go ahead and publish the book that you love: some say publishing books in printed form is a dying practice (it doesn't make sense from a business perspective) - so if you do publish a book in the next 10 years, be sure to also publish in hard copy form. If the publishing industry continues moving to fewer hard copy books published, then in 200 years your book will be one of the newest, and last, books published in this era. What a legacy!

    Reply
    • Posted by David Seid
      Mitch Joel

      Hi Debbie!

      You may want to consider a MiniBük! Easier to write than a traditional book because it is premised on writing about a single topic, and not exhaustively...but efficiently and succinctly. You deliver your all important perspective on a topic to create contrast for the reader (without contrast there can be no perspective). You accomplish all of the things Mitch talks about: you establish a position of thought leadership, you can give your book away as a calling card or marketing piece, serendipity takes hold and (if your book delivers great value to its readers) your book can deliver your message far and wide.

      This is the vehicle to deliver your message to the 80% of the public that is not considered an "avid" reader... because they can be read in an hour or less! You can affordably self-publish, and they are mailable with a single postage stamp (.44/.64) under 88 pages. There are numerous other reasons about how and why they work. They are the book form that addresses nearly every one of the limitations of traditional books and many traditional marketing materials as well. I call it "The Social Media you can hold". Thank you for your time! -David Seid

      Reply
  • Posted by Amber Naslund
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch -

    Thank you so much for writing this.

    As the fear and exhilaration of our new book hitting shelves washes over me, I can't help but have a few moments of trepidation. But I'm also immensely proud of the work we did, the thought we put into this, and the hopefully personal perspective we brought to a topic.

    I really appreciate the reminder that context, nuance, perspective and approach all matter, and can resonate differently with different people. Thanks so much for putting it in writing like you frequently do so well.

    Cheers,
    Amber

    Reply
  • Posted by Kneale Mann
    Mitch Joel

    I like how Amber Naslund puts is on the heels of the release of "Now Revolution" with co-author Jay Baer - recent Twist Image podcast guests - who said writing a book was definitely an item on her bucket list.

    I was speaking with a colleague today who has written three published books who reminded me of the work involved but the opportunities that can follow. I think many of us - excuses as they may be - think there isn't enough time to build our business and write a book. Then again, no one said this is a 9-5 experience.

    Thanks for the kick in the backside.

    Reply
  • Posted by Lucas Wilk
    Mitch Joel

    Well, folks, I work for the publisher that published Amber's outstanding book so if you think you can come up with something just as good please drop me a line. :-)

    Reply
  • Posted by Mark W Schaefer
    Mitch Joel

    Ironic! Tomorrow on my blog I am going to announce that my first book is now available. I didn't go the Wiley route because I work for a living and don't have the time or stamina to live up to the promotional expectations. However, I did write and publish an excellent book, a helpful book, a book I am very proud of. So here it is: http://bit.ly/taobook

    It is called the Tao of Twitter and it's about navigating Twitter to realize personal and business benefits. Not so much Tweetdeck versus HootSuite or how many times you should tweet a day, but this is about taking out the mystery of Twitter and adopting a mindset that works.

    Well I didn;t mean for this to be self-promotion but since you asked (and actually have encouraged me) there you have it! I got on a roll! : )

    I feel great about it for all the reasons you mention here Mitch and think it is probably the first in a series. A very positive experience.

    My biggest learning from the experience is that I needed long stretches of uninterrupted time to do the work. It was very difficult to write then do some work, then write and take a phone call. I needed to literally block out days to get in the flow. At least that's the way it was for me.

    A great post and thanks again for your support and encouragement!

    Reply
  • Posted by Paul Flanigan
    Mitch Joel

    I have read Schaefer's book. Very good book.

    I want to read Amber and Jay's. I have read Mitch's - very good book. But here's the thing: All of you are human - all of you did this out of passion. None of you (at least as I can tell) make a living at writing (in the classic sense).

    You are closer to what I envision potentially happening with me - I want to write a book. I have the passion. I have some ideas, but the depth of vetting them out, putting them together, and really constructing something is daunting.

    But I will. Someday. I hope.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    Thanks for the prod Mitch.
    I'm 86,000 words into mine and, finally, the end is in sight.
    It's funny I read mostly non-fiction but chose to write fiction.
    While not a business book, it is a contemporary romantic comedy that takes an entertaining look at how technology influences our communication, our relationships and how we find love.
    It reflects a very unique viewpoint and one I'm keen to share.
    Thanks for the reminder that there's value in sharing our unique perspectives and no time like the present for doing so!
    Cheers,
    Linda

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    The main excuse of saturated market often disguise the real excuse : lack of confidence in self-value. You are totally true about the fact that people buy "points of view". If I don't want a point of view, I'll buy an encyclopedia or dictionnary. But I want emotion. I want your emotion. I want experience. I want you to show me yours. Every book has one or a few human beings behind and that is fantastic.


    Reply
  • Posted by Angela Crocker
    Mitch Joel

    Wonderful post and I can attest that every word of it is accurate. This is in part because i've promoted thousands of books during my career but even more so as Penguin Group have just published my first book. The highs and lows of research and writing can be lonely but the clarity, precision thinking and thought organization that comes from the process is worth every bit of effort. And those are just the benefits prior to publication.

    Best, Angela

    Reply
  • Posted by Ivan Hernandez
    Mitch Joel

    Outstanding post Mitch!

    Thanks for the inspiration and motivation. You are 100% right and I do also agree with the comments here.

    Three years ago I had an idea for a book: Sharing the correlation between the art of Trapeze Flying (such as trust, timing, commitment, etc) and success in your personal and professional life . I told my wife and she said "what? ... there is no way somebody would read that" ... So, I did not go for it. Last year, I was a presenter at TEDxWarsaw and the base of the presentation was that initial idea for the book. People loved it and showed me that actually people "get it". I asked around after the Talk and most people showed their support to the idea. Lesson of the day: Do not listen to your wife! :)

    The truth is it wasn't my wife who stopped me from writing the book. It was me by allowing somebody else's point of view as an excuse. Oh well ... I think after readying your post you will get me to get my keyboard cranking ...

    Thanks again!

    Ivan

    P.S. By the way in case any of you may want to check out my TEDx Talk:

    http://wp.me/pRCEG-6

    Reply
  • Posted by Gunther Sonnenfeld
    Mitch Joel

    Spot on, and writing as we speak... (in fact, I sent you the abstract just yesterday ;)

    Reply
  • Posted by Sylvain Carle
    Mitch Joel

    Dang, I think you just infected me with this idea virus (thanks for the inspiration)!

    Reply
  • Posted by Scott Stratten
    Mitch Joel

    Practically every $ that I will make this year is directly related to the fact my book came out last fall.

    And not $1 of it from royalties :)

    Reply
  • Posted by Tony Faustino
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch, this is the kick-in-the-butt I needed. For the past two months, I've mapped out in my head and on paper my concept for an eBook. Yet, I haven't put pen-to-paper (or is that fingers-to-keyboard) towards the actual content.

    It's time to re-establish my personal commitment to this process.

    Thank you for inspiring and reinforcing the many benefits and possibilities.

    Reply
  • Posted by Marie Camirand
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch, love this post, do you have good books to recommend on writing books ?

    Reply
  • Posted by Kirkistan
    Mitch Joel

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this. I'm 85000 words into a manuscript and full of despair. I need this kick in the arse. Thank you!

    Reply
  • Posted by Trudy
    Mitch Joel

    Great advice. It's mostly mental stuff that keeps us from creating and sharing the art that we want to...have to move past those blocks. I released my first eBook ever last month and I am glad I did. It was a labor of love to write, but I had initial motivation and content from keeping a blog for my photography business, that included written content as well as my art. I think keeping a blog is a great step to break into writing and to get used to an audience digesting your content.

    Again, thanks for sharing this post.

    Reply
  • It's like you read minds at times. Though I've wanted to write a book for sometime, there is always a matter more urgent on any given day. These "urgent matters" are just an excuse not to write a book.

    Part of my reluctance is my background. I'd spent 5 years of my recent adult life in state prison for Intimidation of a Witness. This was a result of a shooting in my city. Also, when I was younger I'd fought 4 guys and stabbed one of them five times; resulting in a trial for Attempted Murder. I was found not guilty of self-defense three years later. My teen years, 20's & 30's, was colorful to say the least. Though I did graduate from college in 1988 with a degree in Management, my life in the streets and nightclubs strengthened my reputation as well as my arrest record. I could go on, but don't want to bore you.

    So Mitch, though writing a book is important in the many ways you've mentioned, it may not be for me at this time. I'm focused on talking to at-risk youth and gang kids about the importance of education; hence my blog name: Do Time.

    The idea is Do Time if you are an at-risk youth. Only do the time now on your terms (library, your room, etc.) not in the future sitting in a cell on other's terms. It's all about education.

    Thank you for mentioning the book idea though... once again it has me thinking.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    Mitch-

    You and ari have definitely got me thinking. Lately, I've been wondering, "should I even write a marketing blog? There are so many already." reading this has me rethinking that idea now.

    Thank you Mitch and Ari.

    Reply
  • Posted by Ari Herzog
    Mitch Joel

    You humble me, Mitch, for basing your insights on something I wrote. Much appreciated! I also enjoyed reading Mark Schaefer's comment above which caused me to click to his very affordable book and order it off Amazon -- which is approximately the number of pages I'd aim to write for a first book, in the neighborhood of 50 to 100.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    I liked the way you captured reasons to write a book, Mitch.

    One Q - what are the different options, avenues to self-publish?

    Thanks, Deven

    Reply
  • Posted by Ken Mason
    Mitch Joel

    Deven,

    You can self-publish for as little as $500, and then print on demand as needed.
    Our creativity books are high quality and look like those from any major traditional publishing house.
    Also, they get you the ISBN and send your title to the major on-line bookstores & distributors.
    If you want, I can send you contact info.

    Regards,
    Ken
    Ken Mason
    Seminar Consultant
    info@wholemindsuccess.com

    Reply
  • Posted by manjo
    Mitch Joel

    very interesting post. thx ... this is the best blob in this world :)

    Reply
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