Man holding brain image in front of conference room

Are YOU too Smart to Author a Nonfiction Book?

I have collaborated a wide variety of nonfiction book authors and one thing is common across every topic. The author is smarter than their target audience.

You may ask, “What’s wrong with being smart?”

“Too Smart for Your Own Good”

I am sure you have heard the phrase “too smart for your own good” and it certainly applies to book authors who want to write and publish a book with minimal or no help from others.  It is a BIG mistake.

This is where I feel you bracing for the sales pitch.  Sure, smart people know how to leverage their time and if you are smart about corporate operations, you will probably benefit from delegating your book about improving operations within an organization.  It’s simply a matter of ROI (Return On Investment.)  If you try to do it all yourself, you will do it slower and more poorly than someone who is a professional writer.

But that is not the kind of SMART I want to talk about here…

Think About Your Prospective Reader

More than likely you have given much more thought about your book topic than all the people who are most likely to read your book.  The fact you feel inspired to publish a book on the topic is enough evidence for me to be confident you are TOO SMART TO WRITE THE BOOK.

A couple of decades ago, serious nonfiction books were written often in a dense, complicated way.  The esteemed expert wrote the wisdom into the book and those who wanted to learn from them just took the time to carefully digest what was offered to them.  If you doubt this statement, look at nonfiction books written 10-20 years ago.  If you are like most of us, you simply don’t have the patience to slog through all the information contained in them.

Today’s Readers Are Different

Today, your book reader spends, on average, about 10 hours a day consuming content.  Think about it.  When they get to your book, are they willing to put a lot of effort in learning what you have to say?  Not likely.

In fact, today’s reader no longer reads until they determine your content measures up to their way of consuming it.  Internet-enabled readers are accustomed to scanning content.  This highly-developed ability to scan content (books, digital articles, web pages and all of it) is fine-tuned and rapid.  If they decide what you have to say is worthy of really reading, they will go back to read after scanning.

How to Adapt to Today’s Reader

In the marketing world, copywriters have been drawing the reader into the content of their web pages, articles and books in a very effective way for decades.  There are a few essential tools they implement to make the process work.  Here are a few of the critical ones:

  1. Use powerful headlines and sub-headlines
  2. Write short paragraphs and short sentences
  3. Test all content with a readability tool such as Flesch-Kincaid and keep the level of readability under 8th grade
  4. Eliminate all unnecessary words
  5. Simplify every sentence
  6. And so much more.  You will find a partial list of these content characteristics on the home page of this website.  No need to share your contact information.  Easy download.

It’s Not About “Dumb-ing it Down”

Even if your target reader is PhD level, highly-evolved thought leader, they are more likely to read and recommend your book if it is easy-to-read and follows the principles of good copywriting.  Clear, concise and compelling content is no longer a luxury reserved for web pages and marketing fliers.

The true secret to becoming a best selling, highly influential book author is finding a collaborator who has experience in writing for today’s reader.  Your ghostwriting partner needs to demonstrate their ability to improve the readability of what you want to tell your reader.  NEVER hire an editor without seeing samples of what they will do for you.  If they simply correct your grammar and sentence structure you will not have a successful book.

I could write an entire book on this subject, and some day I might.  For now, just know you are too smart to write your own nonfiction book.  Learn more about what I mean by sending me an email to:, or using the contact form on this site.  Please include the subject line:  Smart Author.  I will know what it means.