For many of you, writing a book may be just a passing thought. The pressing nature of business for most executives means that you've hardly had time to seriously consider whether (1) you should put your efforts into such a venture, and (2) what to expect to achieve, besides having fun recounting business events from your perspective or hoping to give useful advice to future leaders and managers.
For most of my career I've worked with nonfiction authors specializing in business, economics or finance. Many combined teaching with consulting and writing, such as C.K. Prahalad who wrote the now classic, The Fortune At the Bottom of the Pyramid that we launched as the leading book of the Wharton Business Book series. Others like Bill George, former chairman and CEO of Medtronic and now Harvard professor, began writing his books after leaving his corporate position. He created the concept and bestselling book True North, and has used it as a platform for other writing, classroom teaching, speaking and consulting. His fourth book, True North Groups: A Powerful Path to Personal and Leadership Development, was published in fall 2011. There are those who are working full-time in their field while writing, such as Jane Stevenson, vice chair of KornFerry's CEO and Board Practice, and Bilal Kaafarani, whose book Breaking Away was launched in spring 2011.
Here is the thought process
Whether you are in the middle of your career or at the top, whether you already write a blog or speak before conferences, here's the thinking process you might use to decide whether writing a book is the right step for you. Before you begin the formulation of a book project or think about hiring a ghostwriter, here are some questions you should ask yourself if you are serious about writing a book.
What is the purpose of my book? You'll need to define what you want the book to accomplish. As a business executive, you already set goals for yourself and then plot the process to achieve them. You'll need to think about your book in a similar way. With a larger purpose than simply yourself, you are more likely to find the energy to act as an advocate for the book once it is published. Please note: This is a different question than the one often asked in radio or television interviews--"Why did you write the book?" From my perspective, everyone has a unique story to tell, but that doesn't mean it should be in book form.
Who is the target market for your book? This is an important question because...