This is the fifth article in a series of posts covering the topic of writing a non-fiction book as a business owner.
The fifth part in this series lists a handful of thoughts and ideas I’ve found useful, and is by no means a summary of earlier posts. Like with most things in life, there’s a learning curve to writing but also to authorship—being an author. I haven’t been one very long but some of the beliefs I initially held have either changed completely or have been at least slightly modified. Your opinions and convictions will similarly shift in light of new information. In fact, if you are eager to win, adopt continuous learning and recursive self-improvement as your guiding principles—spend a fraction of your time learning from others so you can better perform at other times, thus out-doing your competition in the long run.
If you’ve been involved with business ventures, you’ll know that entrepreneurship by default involves more ambiguity and uncertainty than employment at an established firm. Writing is similar in that regard. As a business owner, the persistence and the savviness you’ve hopefully mastered over your career will be helpful to you in achieving the goals related to your book, whatever those may be. If you’re totally inexperienced, however, your enthusiasm will likely meet a sudden reality check.
The newbie mind demands the materialization of a formidable goal, say a million copies sold, within some arbitrary time period. I don’t want to preach to you about the grind because I find it distasteful and it sounds stuck-up. Nonetheless, keep in mind that devising ways and means of selling more copies involves other people whose behavior you may not able to direct, making accurate projections and scheduling difficult. Things outside of your control will inhibit your progress but don’t let that discourage you.
Obviously, impressive performance demands ambitious goals but if you’re dying to move on and forget about the entire thing, your dislike of writing and marketing will show, and it might even preclude the realization of your aim. In that sense, consider your published book a piece of intellectual property that you can milk for royalties for decades to come, making it an on-going concern rather than a project you hope to bring to completion by a certain date.
Additionally, I would counsel you to shift your attention to aggressively pursuing intermediate goals that all lead to the realization of your ambitions in a staircase-type fashion. For that, you’ll need to track the relevant metrics by which the world will ultimately judge you. Whatever endeavor you’re trying to make a name for yourself in, make a conscious effort to avoid the hustler mindset—banging on your chest because you’ve sent an impressive number of emails or celebrating the sleepless nights you’ve endured because of poor planning. “Going hard” is impressive if it’s accompanied with some sort of substantial achievement, and without one, you risk looking foolish. Although your work ethic can be a reflection of your personality, the bottom line that makes somebody a standout individual is the quality of that person’s writing and the volume of sales. In business, similarly, the trophies that matter are handed out based on revenue and earnings and maybe some other key variables, as well. The world rewards individuals for winning, not competing.
To win, pay careful attention to long-term strategy in addition to your daily actions. Deep thought can yield you brilliant ideas that, when executed correctly, will allow you to outrun your competitors and triumph in the future. That, much like writing, is a skill you will perfect over the months and years of practicing it.
Finally, this series has been about writing and publishing a book as a small-business owner, and despite trying to actively refrain from being overly philosophical, it has been primarily an overview rather a step-by-step guide to putting your work out there. Inevitably, countless details have been omitted, and it falls under your responsibility to sort out the minutiae of your personal project. For that, I wish you the best of luck, and I hope the general approach to gainful book-writing described in this series has been valuable to you.
Anthony Simola is CEO of Simola Technologies Inc. He is the author of “The Roving Mind: A Modern Approach to Cognitive Enhancement.”
Anthony Simola is the CEO of Simola Technologies Inc., and author of “The Roving Mind: A Modern Approach to Cognitive Enhancement.” Educated at Columbia University and Vanderbilt University, he now lives in New York.