Why the Executive Level Author’s Book Fails
First, let’s talk about what the executive Level Author does right. Since they are accustomed to delegating to others as a tool for time management, the executive author normally doesn’t hesitate to hire someone to collaborate with the writing task.
Clearly Executives Are Smart
The willingness to delegate to a ghostwriter, editor or book coach is evidence of why they succeed in their executive level work. However, it is possible for them to be TOO SMART. I talked about this dilemma in a post by the title of “Are You to Smart to Author a Nonfiction Book?”
In this post I talk about how really smart people tend to write in a way reflecting their intelligence, level of education and peer group. While both the author and their target audience may be PhD experts, everyone prefers to read something easy to comprehend. Go read the article to learn more about clear, concise and easy -to-read book content.
One of my mentors, John Carlton, recently said in his newsletter, “I coach a lot of really bright entrepreneurs. (You’re attracted to my charm and linguistic versatility, obviously.) And one of the first things I have to do, to be able to move y’all up a level in salesmanship……is knock some of the smart out of you.
In fact, the bigger the IQ…… the lousier the marketing chops. On average. Why? Easy. Selling requires communication. Communication requires conversation on the level of your prospect.”
Of course, Carlton is talking about marketing copy and you may think a book is very different. It isn’t. Readers of your message, whether in a book or your marketing, respond better to simple language. It’s been proven time and time again. Trust me, or ask me for the data.
Executives Have Expertise
In this Forbes article, Michael Levin makes a bold statement, “When You’re the Author, You’re the Expert”. He states there’s no marketing tool more powerful for entrepreneurs (and executives) than having one’s own book. He explains how his firm helps financial advisors and insurance people to publish a book – and why being an expert alone is not enough. The book is an amazing way to differentiate the average professional from the masses.
Here is a quote from the article: “They need books because their marketing is shockingly generic. You could switch out the websites of any two financial advisors and they’d never notice. Same Viagra photos of the older, happy couple on their bikes at sunset. Same stock images of well dressed, mixed race professionals smiling and shaking hands around a conference table. What does that even mean?”
Executives Resist Narrowing Their Reader Audience
For an executive to have a successful book they need to clearly, and narrowly, define their target reader. It’s not easy to do when you are accustomed to seeing an overview of the business responsibilities and trying to make everyone happy. Authoring a book requires a totally different mindset. I used MS Word Smart Art tools to create this graphic.
The goal is to define the readers who are interested in your topic, are part of a group willing to pay you to share what you know. are people you can easily locate and quickly monetize their interest in what you have to share. If you don’t do the work to identify the specific reader audience ready willing and able to help you profit from the book – long before it is written – your book is headed for failure. It’s really too late to figure out this stuff after the book has been published.
You want to know their demographics (age, gender, income level, etc.) That’s not all. You also need to dig into their internal landscape:
- What are their goals and dreams?
- What is the current stage of their own life’s journey?
- What limiting beliefs are standing in the way of them achieving those goals?
- What keeps them up at night? And what hunger can you satisfy for them?
When you can actually see your ideal reader in your mind’s eye, you can align the message of your book to a profitable reader audience.