Top nine tips for writing a best-selling business book

If you’re going to write a business book, make it good. Really good. Having a bad business book with your name on it is worse than having no business book at all. People will definitely judge you by your book so don’t put out anything that is less than your best work. Here are a few tips on how to write one.

  1. Link the book to a business goal
    Your business book needs to have a purpose – to sell more products, get you speaking engagements, drive people to a website, promote a coaching programme. If you don’t have a product to sell, don’t waste time writing a book.
  2. Don’t leave your best content for the end of the book
    87 per cent of people don’t finish business books. I made that statistic up, but I reckon it’s pretty accurate. Don’t fall into the trap of ‘saving’ your best tips or stories for the end. No one will read them, so put your best work at the start of the book.
  3. Create a process
    People want to learn something from a business book, so create a ‘process’ that summarises what you do and base the book around that process. Don’t worry about ‘giving away’ your best content. That’s what a book is for. Most people don’t do what they know or read in a book. That’s why they’ll come to you.
  4. Focus on a niche
    It’s tempting to write a book that appeals to the widest market possible, but the best business books focus on a key target person, their pain point (or business problem) and provide a solution to that problem. Yes, many others will benefit from reading your book, but writing it for that key person will ensure those people become your customer.
  5. Be funny
    ‘Funny is money’ as they say in the entertainment business, and whilst you may not be a comedian or joke teller, choosing humorous stories or events will keep the reader engaged.
  6. Be vulnerable
    Whilst we all want to hear how great you are, be sure to include stories of failure, loss and fear as this will endear you to the reader and make them feel you are as human as they are (even if you know you’re better than almost everyone else).
  7. Tell stories
    I tell my ghost-writing clients to avoid cliches ‘like the plague’ but most business books are filled with them: Be resilient. Don’t give up. Fail forward. Yeah, yeah. We’ve heard them all. It’s okay to include them, but make sure you include a compelling story that demonstrates these values in action.
  8. Create a timeline
    Writing a book is as much about managing vast reams of content as it is about writing the content. It can get out of hand pretty quickly. The best way to get started is to document your life on a spreadsheet. Start with the year you were born and jot down every major milestone from then on. It could be an award you won, a degree you completed, the birth of your children, your first sale, the day you sold the business etc. This provides you with a starting point for working out what stories you can, or should tell.
  9. Get help
    If you know you want to write a book but don’t like writing, can’t find the time or struggle with motivation, hire a ghost-writer to help you. They’ll take the effort out of it for you, help you navigate the publishing process and ensure you create a book that achieves its goal. Everyone has a book in them. Let a ghost-writer help you write yours.