#065: Why You—Yes, YOU!—Should Consider Writing a Book [Podcast]

Admit it, you’ve thought about writing a book. According to a recent reader survey, 61.5% of my blog readers have thought about writing a book. Is it time for you to stop thinking and start doing?


Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/plastic_buddha

Being a published author has done more for my career—and my income—than I could have ever imagined. It has opened doors of opportunity I couldn’t have dreamed were possible. It can happen for you, too.

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 Here are five good reasons why you should consider writing a book:

  1. It provides an opportunity to share your expertise.
  2. It provides an opportunity to establish your authority.
  3. It provides an opportunity to differentiate yourself.
  4. It provides an opportunity to expand your market.
  5. It provides an opportunity to launch a business.

I’m not saying that writing a book is easy. It takes a lot of hard work and, most of all, perseverance. But it is possible. I promise, every published author—every successful author—started out just like you.

Listener Questions

  1. Bruce Cross asked, “What is one thing that can help me get started writing a book?”
  2. Christopher Scott asked, “What is the most likely type of book a a publisher would publish from a first-time author?”
  3. James Kinson asked, “Is there benefit to publishing a book before establishing my platform?”
  4. Kari Scare asked, “Is writing a book really worth the time when there are so many books written by such competent people?”
  5. Regan Kakoschke asked, “Can I publish my journal or should I start over to turn it into a book?”
  6. Steve Dwire asked, “Should my reasons for writing a book impact the path I take (e.g., ebook, self-publishing, traditional publishing)?”

Special Announcements

  1. Just a reminder about Platform University. The monthly subscription price is going up for new members. If you join before September 13th, you will save $5 a month on the membership fee. That’s $60 a year. I honestly don’t know of a better way to grow your platform faster than learning from the pros and brainstorming with like-minded people. This is why Platform University is so valuable. Click here to find out more.
  2. If you are considering launching your own platform—or just getting serious about it—you need to start with a self-hosted WordPress blog.

    This is not as complicated as it sounds. In fact, I have put together a step-by-step screencast on exactly how to do it. You don’t need any technical knowledge. I walk you through the entire process in exactly 20 minutes.

  3. My next podcast will be on the topic of “The Primary Difference Between the Wise and the Foolish.” Which are you? And, as a leader, which do you have working for you? If you have a question on this subject, please leave me a voicemail message. This is a terrific way to cross-promote your blog or website, because I will link to it, just like I did with the callers in this episode.

Tip of the Week

Now let me leave you with one final tip. People tell me all the time that they know they should be reading more but can’t find the time. They also tell me they know they should be exercising but can’t find the time.

Well, I have good news for you. You can kill two birds with one stone. All you have to do is join Audible.com and listen to audio books while you exercise. I have been doing this for years. It’s one of the reasons I am able to read as much as I do and stay in shape.

The Audible app for iPhone is terrific. You can listen to books at normal speed, 1.5x, or even 2x. It really enables you to cover a lot of ground at once. I can usually read about a book a week using the Audible app.

Episode Resources

In this episode I mentioned several resources, including:

Show Transcript

You can download a complete, word-for-word transcript of this episode here, courtesy of Ginger Schell, a professional transcriptionist, who handles all my transcription needs.

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Question: What about you? What business would you like to be in? How could a book help you get there? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • http://www.twitter.com/erikjfisher/ Erik Fisher

    Michael, I’m way ahead of you. :) My new book with Jim Woods http://beyondthetodolist.com/goals is out now! And there is a great quote in it from my interview with you on my podcast. Thanks again!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Congratulations, Erik! That is awesome.

    • http://JonDHarrison.com/ Jon D Harrison

      Congratulations Erik!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Well done, Erik!

      • http://www.twitter.com/erikjfisher/ Erik Fisher

        Thanks Michele!

  • http://donnielaw.com/ Donnie Law

    It seems like a good progression would be: 1) make a super useful blog series 2) turn into useful e-book 3) turn multiple e-books into a published book. Thinking about it that way it actually seems doable!

    • http://www.twitter.com/erikjfisher/ Erik Fisher

      Breaking a project down into smaller, less daunting tasks has always been very helpful to me. If I don’t have to climb a mountain, but just need to reach a certain peak, or even just these few steps, I will start moving.

    • http://JonDHarrison.com/ Jon D Harrison

      That is exactly what I am working towards! Donnie, what will your book be about?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yep, that’s a great strategy.

  • http://JonDHarrison.com/ Jon D Harrison

    Interesting topic! – the first time I heard Michael speak was just over a year ago at a John Maxwell conference titled “A Day About Books.” I never would have imagined that I would be where I am today – already drafting up a ebook and running my own blog.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Nice, Jon. Well done.

  • BruceCross

    Michael – I appreciate you including my question for this week’s podcast. I believe I am called to author and speak, particulary in encouraging people to step up to the plate and take some swings at life….along an overcomer theme.
    Will be addressing the WHY as you indicated and also drilling down to get an Ebook in focus to offer as a subscription incentive….thanks again…..really am blessed by your input into my life!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Excellent, Bruce. Thanks.

  • http://www.GigaLawFirm.com/ Doug Isenberg

    Michael, what is an “unfair advantage”? You use that phrase in this podcast, as well as in every episode of your Get Published audio course (which I own and highly recommend!). Thanks.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Sales copy, I think. ;-)

      My daughter challenged me on that, too. She said, “Dad, you are all about being fair. This doesn’t square with your brand.” She’s right.
      But here’s what I meant. By “unfair advantage,” I mean an “extra advantage,” something no one else has. Another synonym might be “an edge.”
      Hope that helps. Thanks!

      • http://www.GigaLawFirm.com/ Doug Isenberg

        Thanks. I agree with your daughter. And with you! I think simply “advantage” or “extra advantage” is more accurate — and less sales-y.

      • http://JonDHarrison.com/ Jon D Harrison

        I personally like the idea of having an “unfair advantage” provided it is within my control to create or sustain! I like to think of my unfair advantage as my unique combination of talents, personality, and mindset.

      • http://www.twitter.com/erikjfisher/ Erik Fisher

        Do you mean what strengths make YOU uniquely you?

        The secret recipe of you. :)

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          Sort of. But it could also refer to your unique experiences, training, etc.

          • http://www.twitter.com/erikjfisher/ Erik Fisher

            So all the things that make up who you are? There may be some similarities with others here and there, but overall, only I have my strengths, background, education, experiences etc.

          • http://www.twitter.com/erikjfisher/ Erik Fisher

            I just recorded a new NMX Podcast Report episode with Cliff Ravenscraft, and he referred to this as your ‘Unique Selling Proposition’.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

            Yea, this is a very common phrase in the corporate marketing world, often shortened to USP.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Great question, Doug. P.S. Thanks for the GP plug. :)

  • LadyJevonnahEllison

    This was so encouraging. Thank you. I’m launching an eBook November 1, 2013 called: The Journey to Excellence. I would like to use the book to promote my coaching business. Thank you again for all you do! FAN for LIFE!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      The fact that you have a date/deadline speaks volumes. Way to go!

      • LadyJevonnahEllison

        Thank you Michele! The timing on this is great. I just finished listening to you and Michael on GET PUBLISHED about goal setting. I’ll be reviewing my journal of goals today. Thanks for all you both do.

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          Ah, love hearing that. GP remains one of my favorite projects ever.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

            You did such a great job, Michele. It would have never happened without you.

          • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

            Thank you. We make a great team!

  • David Sanford

    To me, every book has the potential to be a ‘golden key’ that opens exciting new doors for speaking engagements, mass media appearances, social media buzz, etc. True, a lot of people don’t have a good or great book in them. Then again, a lot do! The more on-ramps and fewer roadblocks we can create for them, the more everyone wins. I’ve presented a ‘no fear’ 2-part workshop on today’s best book publishing options at a growing number of colleges, grad schools, universities, conferences, etc. I’ll be glad to send a copy of the handouts to anyone who’s following you. Just drop a quick line to me at mailto:dsanford@corban.edu. You can check out my bio at http://www.linkedin.com/in/drsanford.

    • Jim Martin

      David, thank you for the offer of your handout. Very generous.

  • DDF

    Well, I’m pretty sure I don’t agree with you entirely on this one, Michael. I remember back about 1998 attending a pastor’s retreat at a retreat center out in North Carolina. Eugene Peterson was the speaker. I loved his books and The Message. One day I got to walk with Peterson for an hour. I was thinking about writing a book or trying to become the religion columnist for the local newspaper. We discussed this at length. Peterson said, “Well, if you want immediacy and want feedback from your community, I’d say write the column. Writing a well-written, well-reasoned book is pretty lonely work.” I guess that’s what I wanted because I got the chance to become the Sunday religion columnist for our paper (a big-10 college city of 150,000). Writing a well-written, well-reasoned column can be pretty lonely work, too. :) But I’ve now written more than 600 (850 word columns). I have had hundreds of conversations as a result of my column. Some people like it a lot; others don’t at all. I’m okay with both.

  • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

    Thank you for including my question in your podcast. Your answer confirmed what I thought and helped build some confidence to keep moving forward.

    • http://sukofamily.org/ Caleb

      It was nice to hear a familiar name pop up on the podcast. I’m glad Michael was able to answer your question!

      • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

        I’m glad too. It was the answer I needed to hear.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Great! I’m glad.

  • http://markstruczewski.com/ Mark Struczewski

    @mhyatt:disqus: I can’t tell you how timely this podcast was today. I’ve written one book already (A Succès Fou Life: What It Is And How You Can Live It) but have changed my platform slightly since writing it and have been telling myself that I need to write a new book. I already have a platform and the title and the content. I just need to make time to write it now. Like you have said numerous times, if it isn’t scheduled, it doesn’t get done. Well, I’m going to start writing on my day off this Friday. And…I will use the first chapter as an incentive to get people to sign up to my e-mail list. A win/win! Thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Good for you, Mark! Awesome.

  • http://sukofamily.org/ Caleb

    I started a manuscript earlier this year and then somewhere I fell off the horse. Maybe this podcast will be the inspiration for me to get back on again! Thanks Michael!

    • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

      Would like to hear more about your manuscript sometime, Caleb. You know where to find me!

    • http://www.seannisil.com/ Sean Nisil

      Caleb, I’d be interested in hearing more about your manuscript too! Love what you’re doing w/ your blog and the story you have with your family of being missionaries.

  • Cash Car Convert

    Michael, Thanks for answering my question. BTW, I set up my blog using your new video for setting up a self hosted WordPress blog and it was really easy, very helpful. I think an e-book is a brilliant idea. I look forward to meeting you at the Platform Conference. You have been a virtual mentor to me since I discovered your podcast back in November of last year. Thanks so much for all you do!

  • http://www.larrypoolespeaks.com/ Larry Poole

    Hey Michael, thanks for everything. Because of you & Platform University I launched my blog about 5 weeks ago and am writing 2-3 posts per week. I had one article go semi-virual and have had about 5,000 visitors to my site in the last 2 days.

    Last week I started an e-book. Do you suggest time away and writing in big chunks, or do you recommend writing 300-500 words per day? Thanks.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Awesome story, Larry. Thanks so much for sharing it.

      In terms of writing your book, I have done it both ways. Both work. The daily method is probably the easiest to pull off if you are new to writing. It is daunting to take of the time and then stare at a blank screen. It’s a little like running a marathon without training. I have only written two books out of seven that way (my first one and my last one).
      You can also do a hybrid where you write the first draft using the daily plan and then go away for a week and re-write or polish it. That works too.
      Hope this helps.

      • http://www.larrypoolespeaks.com/ Larry Poole

        Hey Michael, thanks for taking the time to respond.

        I love the marathon analogy. That makes perfect sense. I’ll probably write daily and do my best to write exceptional content.

        Thanks again for all your help. Keep up the great work.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I’ve done both. For me it depends on life season. During this past summer, while my kids were home, it was almost impossible to write every day. I had to block off chunks of 2-3 days to go away and get my writing done. In fact, while I type, I’m in the mountains for a 2-day solo writing retreat. I get much more accomplished when I have uninterrupted time to dive in.

      • http://www.larrypoolespeaks.com/ Larry Poole

        Michele, thank you so much for your insight! How did you go about writing your first book?

        My pseudo-expertise is in a niche market. I know I have some valuable content to share, it’s just figuring out the right time-frame and schedule to do it.

        Also, a piece of me is a bit terrified. I’m sure that’s somewhat normal though.

        P.S. Huge congrats on your contract with Zondervan! Well deserved honor and privilege. Keep up the great work.

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          One page at a time. ;) Seriously, you have to think of it in terms of the eating-an-elephant metaphor. A bit of terror is expected. Yes, you’re normal. Instead of dwelling on all 200-300 pages, break it down into bites: images, scenes, chapters or even individual paragraphs and sentences.

          Thanks for the congrats, Larry. :) Now, to turn off my internet and get back to work …

  • http://www.nosuperheroes.com Chris Lautsbaugh

    Hi! I’ve self published one book two years ago. I am chewing on a second. When I shopped my first book to some agents, no one wanted a book which was already published even on a small scale. I’m still happy I got the book out there as it has benefitted many. But, as I think of a second book, would you encourage shopping a proposal first over self publishing a second time? Thanks

  • Tracie Rollins

    Thank you for this episode. I self-published my first book on Amazon this year, and it was a fantastic learning experience. I’m now the “expert” in VideoScribe just as you indicate on your podcast. It’s amazing!

    • Jim Martin

      Tracie, great to hear that your experience parallels what Michael said in his post. Thanks!

  • http://jeremymccommons.com/ Jeremy McCommons

    Great post! I’ve been really toying with the idea of writing a book and believe that I have a lot of experience and information that could be so helpful to readers interested in building wealth and financial stability. My main issue is trying to find that one unique aspect that will differentiate what I have to offer from others. Do you have any advice on how to uncover or create that special thing that would set me apart?

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    I’ll do it tomorrow.

    ( I wrote the book on procrastination )

  • Bryan Van Slyke

    Great Podcast Michael. I really enjoyed listening and have also enjoyed reading your blog posts about writing a book. Between you and Jeff Goins, I am hoping to have a book ready for next year on marriage. Keep up the great work!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Good for you, Bryan. You can do this!

  • http://leadbychoice.wordpress.com/ Kimunya Mugo

    Michael, I am nearly there. Less than one year after I began interacting with you here, I submitted my manuscript to Westbow Press! My book “Down But Not Out – Becoming a Significant Reader at Home” contains the story of me and how I made radical decisions to be the leader my family deserve. Thank you for being an inspiration, the second chance that many like me cry out for.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Awesome, Kimunya.

      • http://leadbychoice.wordpress.com/ Kimunya Mugo

        The feeling after I hit the “send” button was out of this world. Now anxiously waiting for the next steps, and the launch for the Christmas window… Awesome!

  • http://www.hughosmith.com/ hughosmith

    Love this one Michael. You’re so right. I’ve written 2 books with 2 more on the way by the end of the year and found all you say is entirely accurate.

  • At Peace 360

    Hi Michael, You sure nailed it for me on this one. I’ve been wanting to do a book for a while now. Maybe my best approach is to just write a simple how to book first and offer it for free on my site and then work on a longer ebook from there. That way I build momentum and work towards that final version of the book I want to publish. Thanks for all that you do.

    Pete Szpakowski

  • Metz Miranda

    Writing a book?? Yes I admit it, I’ve thought about writing a book. And I have to agree with you about the good reasons why you should consider writing a book.

    One advice, you should be a reader so you could write a book. What I like the most are the numbers 1 and 2. I want to share my experiences and expect long nights, a lot of effort, and frustration.

    I found this post shared on Kingged.com, the IM social networking site, and I “kingged” it and left this comment.

  • Dani Clay

    I just finished writing my first book. I am currently looking to publish it. I have to consider the medium that I will use to publish my book. Any advice given will be appreciated.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Are you thinking just digital or digital plus physical?

      • Dani Clay

        I want to do digital plus physical. This issue is money. I do not have a dime saved so I can start the process. I was so eager that I almost went with Kindle the problem is my face book friends want a physical copy and I want them to have one too. Kindle seemed easier because of my current situation. I think I will wait until I get some money before I make a decision. I have started a face book page to promote my new book. I think I will start a webpage soon. I just need to find one that I can start for free.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          You could go Kindle plus CreateSpace (Amazon’s POD service). I haven’t tried it yet, but it says you can begin with one title for free.

          • Dani Clay

            Ok thank you very much. I did not even consider Amazon’s POD service.

  • http://www.bookwhirl.com/Services/ BookWhirl

    Writing a book for the very first time makes you leave your comfort zones, and with that it will change your life. Any time you set for a new adventure, it changes you. You will learn and grow.