I’ve been working with business owners since 1998 and have literally worked with thousands of them in the past three decades. As you would imagine, I’ve encountered all sorts of individuals with all sorts of habits, quirks and idiosyncrasies. Heck, I even have a few.
This article was inspired by a recent session with one of my shook-publishing clients where his repeated tendency to get in his own way was causing his publishing schedule to be dramatically delayed. During our call, three “behaviors” arose that needed to be addressed immediately for him to move forward and accomplish the goal he set for himself a few months prior—publishing a short, helpful book.
These three behaviors are ones I have seen business owners deal with repeatedly since 1998 and even though I want to relate them to writing and publishing a book, they often happen at an even more fundamental business level. Their effect can be insidious, which is why I challenged my client to do his best to overcome them.
I share the three specific challenges I made to him here in order to help those who may be dealing with a similar situation right now. NOTE: Even though these are focused on a book publishing project, they can be applied to pretty much any marketing effort.
CHALLENGE #1: Don't Focus on Your To-Do's, Focus on Your Prospects' I Want's.
A common human (and business owner) behavior is to allow a variety of things to get in the way of completing a started project. What was once an important task and goal, is now a distant memory, because the person allows other projects, responsibilities, shiny objects, etc. to sidetrack the original project goal. I am not talking about critical life issues or challenges. I am simply referring to allowing other things to get in their way.
The number of people I have talked to that have told me they started writing a book, but never finished it, is long.
I have seen this happen more than once with clients who made the decision to work with me to get their book done and for whatever reason they never do. I do my best to try to get them back on track and my #1 challenge is to try to get them to shift the focus from all the things they have going on (and could easily become excuses) to their intended, targeted reader and the help and guidance that reader is looking for (and will not get if the book is never published).
If you allow this shift to readjust your priorities (so that you can help your future readers), it makes getting back on track quite doable.
CHALLENGE #2: Don't Focus on the Minutia, Focus on the Marketing.
This one is my Achilles’ heel too. The way my brain is wired, I often strive for perfection to the extent that it slows projects down. Regarding the specific client I am referring to above, our call happened after he sent us his third manuscript revision where he was making the most inconsequential edits. I am not referring to substantial context changes, but instead small little changes that 99.8% of readers would never even notice.
It’s a fact that the types of short, helpful books we create for clients are not going to become NY Times, Pulitzer Prize winning opuses, so the repeated effort of changing small things eventually results in a diminishing return.
It almost felt that by having a never-ending list of edits, he was delaying the inevitable responsibility of having to market and use his shook. There’s a saying you probably have heard of, “Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment,” which refers to the common behavior of mistaking busyness with getting the important stuff done.
I have seen many people worry about the smallest of details when in fact they should be saving that energy for figuring how the marketing of their book. If there is ONE HUGE author/publishing mistake I have seen too often it is the lack of consistent and persistent marketing of a book once it is completed.
CHALLENGE #3: Don't Strive for Perfection, Strive for Personality.
The third challenge I made to my client piggy-backed off #2, where I suggested his concern for trying to make everything perfect was getting in the way. I told him to worry less about trying to make every sentence perfect and instead write his shook in the same way he communicates with clients, face-to-face.
I am definitely not saying to publish a book that is full of easily corrected mistakes, but I would challenge all soon-to-be-authors to realize that there is no such thing as a perfect book (void of mistakes) and that they are much better served allowing their book to become an extension of themselves. It’s my opinion one’s shook should be an extension of their personality and when someone reads it, they feel as if you are right there talking to them (if you have ever read a newsletter written by Dan Kennedy or Gary Halbert, you know exactly what I mean). Creating a “perfect” book that nobody reads (because they don’t know about it) doesn’t serve anyone.
The Bottom Line
If you fall into the category of people who have started, but not yet completed their book, I want to challenge you at this very moment to take to heart what I shared above and make the promise to get your book done, once and for all. The people who want it and need it are waiting on you.