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