A BLArticle® Miniseries
“It Starts With…”
I can see the question coming a mile away. Almost every time I finish a keynote or a workshop, I end up talking with a handful of courageous souls who come on up to meet me. Some just want to say thank you, and others have a question or two, but there’s always one person who hangs back a bit. That’s almost always the one who wants to know how to write a book. It happens to be a question I love answering because it all starts with one thing.
Knowing your topic is really important. How can you write a book if you don’t know much about the topic you are preparing to write about? In a sense, How to Change Minds was the culmination of over twenty-five years of working with people who persuade for a living. I’ve studied what it takes to influence, and how to reach those who you want to influence. You must be a subject matter expert on any given topic you have decided to write about, but that is not what writing a book starts with.
I can’t begin to tell you how many people I have met in my career who seem to have done everything imaginable to prepare to write a book except actually writing the book! They may have created the outline and prepared a writing agenda, but it is the actual writing that is the key. Many years ago, to help authors escape the trials and tribulations of daily activity, publishers gave authors advanced sums of money. The thinking was that, with this advance, an author could get away, focus, and write a book without worrying about money. Clearly, you must map out the time necessary to write a book, and actually do it, but that is not what writing a book starts with.
As an author, you need to map out whom you intend to market the book to. You need to figure out which publishers would be most suitable for your topic. You need to prepare your own personal proposal or there is no book. The process that takes place when an author searches for a publisher can be a daunting task, but certainly not an impossible task. It requires research and patience. Clearly, you must prepare yourself, and your materials, for the publishing process, but that is not what writing a book starts with.
It starts with passion. When you write a book, it can’t be because someone has told you to write it, or because you’ve always dreamed of writing it. You write a book because you have a fire in your belly that burns to tell people about your story or topic. That fire can keep you up late at night, wake you up early in the morning, and distract you in the daytime. These aren’t unpleasant distractions I’m referring to. They are bolts of thoughts, and stories, and analogies, and every time you have one, you want to get them down for fear they will be forgotten forever.
How to Change Minds came from a fire in my belly, and you could probably see it when you saw the promotional video we created about the book. For the past thirty years, I have had a front row seat watching people’s fear of change, and the devastating consequences that can come from it. I didn’t write the book because friends told me to, and I didn’t write the book because an agent or publisher told me to. I wrote it because I had a message and a story that had to be told.
If you are the one holding back with that question, you now have a head start on the answer. It starts with passion, and when you have a passion for what it is you want to write about, the rest comes a lot easier than you would think!
A favor: please watch the new short, promotional video on YouTube, How To Change Minds – The Movie. If you like it (and I hope you will!), hit the thumbs up Like button, hit the Subscribe button, hit the Share button and share it, hit the Add to/favorites button and/or leave a short comment below the video. I am told all these things can help spread the word. Thank you!