What your book says about you

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A business book is an extension of you. It makes an impression — both good and bad.

There’s an idea going around that a book is just a big (and expensive) business card. If that were true, it wouldn’t matter much what was in it. In truth, it matters an awful lot. Because if a reader spends 5 hours with it, or 10 minutes, or even just looks at the Amazon page, they’re developing an impression of you. A book tells them all about you before they meet you.

What will they think? This:

If the book is a striking new idea, you are an original thinker.

If the book is short and pithy, then you are incisive.

If it’s logical, you’re analytical.

If it’s well-written, you’re articulate.

If the cover is distinctive, you have taste.

If it’s traditionally published, you’ve been recognized for your accomplishments.

If it’s nicely self-published, you’re entrepreneurial.

If it’s well organized, you’re efficient.

If there are good examples, you can back up your thinking.

If it’s humorous, you’re witty.

If it sells well, you’re popular.

If it has good blurbs, you’re well-connected.

If it has good reviews online, you’re influential.

On the other hand . . .

If your book is long and repetitive, you’re a blowhard.

If it’s filled with jargon, you’re a faker.

If it’s too academic, you’re inaccessible.

If it’s poorly copy edited, you lack attention to detail.

If it has factual errors, you can’t be trusted.

If it’s sloppily self-published, you’re slovenly.

If it’s too salesy, you’re a jerk.

If it lacks an index, you’re scattered.

If it only talks about you, you’re a narcissist.

If it lacks actionable advice, you’re a waste of time.

If the promotional copy is lame, you’re a poor marketer.

And if the launch is invisible, you’re insignificant.

When you’re making an impression, take the time to do it right

Because a book makes an impression, it’s not a trivial undertaking. Do a half-assed job, or don’t put the effort into it that it deserves, and you may as well not bother.

This is why it pays to work with effective thinkers to develop the idea, editors to get the text right, and publishing professionals to make the finished product excellent. It’s why planning and executing the launch is so important.

That’s a lot of work and a fair amount of expense.

Half-assing it is worse than doing no book at all, because it tells everyone you’re an amateur. Invest the time, effort, and money, or don’t bother. This is not a dress rehearsal.

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