Do I Need a Book?


I’m constantly asked this question. You see it often on the NSA Facebook page. This post is geared more towards newer speakers. People just starting out in speaking asking for advice about a book – should they do one, do they need one and will it propel my speaking business? Answer – yes, not now and maybe. Shall I expand??

Too often well-meaning people advise newbies to quickly write a book so they have something to build their business around, and so that they have product right away. I think it’s a horrible idea!

I feel you need to live with your material, your expertise for a while before writing a book. What you should seek to do right away is start writing a blog. That is a way to get your intellectual property to the marketplace small pieces at a time. The magic of being effective on social media is to have great information to put out. Blog posts allow you to do just that.

As you grow your business and get more and more platform time with your expertise you will have stories, examples and a deeper understanding of your topic. That is what you need to have in order to be ready to write a book.

Writing a book can be a daunting project! I’m reminded of the saying “How do you eat an elephant? One bite a time”! The same can be said of writing a book. Write it one blog post at a time! Blog posts that are 500 to 800 works can be expanded with examples and stories from your clients. Then you have more than a post. You have a chapter!

So concentrate on getting a content rich blog established. Not a book. There is plenty of time to write a book, and the book will be a better product if you live a while with our expertise!

The next decision you need to make is to seek out a publisher or self-publish. I always ask clients “What is it that you want to accomplish with a book?” Simply put, if it’s for exposure, you may want to see a publishing house. Not an easy prospect at all. If your answer is to gain exposure and make money, consider self-publishing. Your clients could care less who published your book as long as it is helpful to them!

There are lots of decisions that need to be made as you grow your business. Writing a book makes sense later than sooner to me.

What do you think?

Copyright 2014, Lois Creamer. Lois works with professional speakers who want to book more business, make more money and avoid costly mistakes! She can be reached in the following ways:
Twitter: @loiscreamer
Phone: 314.822.8225
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18 Responses to “Do I Need a Book?”

  1. Ric Newell on February 5th, 2014 6:01 pm

    I believe one of the first decisions an author needs to make is whether their book is going to consist primarily of ideas or information. This decision is vital because a book of information has a much shorter shelf life than one of ideas. The relevant statistic that you used from 2004 has, many times, become irrelevant by 2008.

    On the other hand, a great idea is timeless. I have read too many books that are simply information dumps. The most useful books I have read contain ideas that I can use instead of random information that only becomes useful with context. My suggestion is that any author should use their expertise to generate new ideas instead of merely regurgitating old information.

  2. jdgershbein on February 5th, 2014 8:59 pm

    Wise advice indeed from the most valuable speaker resource available anywhere ~ thank you, Lois!

  3. Coach Jennie on February 6th, 2014 2:41 am

    This is PRECISELY the advice I needed to hear right now. I have made the decision to write a book proposal and seek out a publisher for the exposure and gravitas it will bring…but this is after over 7 years of honing my message and content. It scares the bajeebus outta me, because it is so daunting. But I’m finally ready!

    And I agree wholeheartedly with you. Far too often, I’ve seen colleagues slap together a book “just ’cause” when they could be spending that energy building their business. Bad plan!

    As always, I love how direct and concise your advice is! Thanks!

  4. Kathy Condon on February 6th, 2014 4:14 am

    Realistic article. In addition, would like to add, remember once you have the words written, you have to work on the logistics for printing the book if you self-publish. You will be amazed at the little details it takes and LOTS of focus. AND then, you have to start doing the marketing of the book. Writing a book is time intensive, no matter how much you want to convince yourself it isn’t.

  5. Michael Wesley Johnson on February 6th, 2014 5:21 am

    Wow, thank you so much! This was right on time for me. As a new speaker and business consultant I was presently wrestling with this very issue! Thank you Lois for making this clear for me.

  6. Jean on February 6th, 2014 1:59 pm

    ‘ you have to live with your material’. Such great advice. I have bee. A business woman’s coach for nearly ten years and worked in corporate America for nearly 25. My insight to the issues has grown and evolved in such a way that any book written by me as recently as five years ago would embarrass me today

  7. William N Hodges on February 6th, 2014 3:21 pm

    Very sound advice not only for the newbie but also for those who may have been around for a while. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Tom Marcoux on February 7th, 2014 2:08 am

    Well said!
    I helped another speaker.
    With my guidance, she wrote a blog for a year and gained readers from over 102 countries.
    I helped with her book proposal and it convinced a senior acquisitions editor (at a major publisher) to take her book to the committee that makes final decisions about which books are published.

    Blog first –> book second.
    (As you mentioned, Lois!)

    the best to you,

    Tom Marcoux
    TFG Thought Leader
    Coach, Speaker-Author, 22 books (*free chapters
    at )
    Tom’s blog:

  9. Chris Witt on February 9th, 2014 3:43 pm

    I agree with you entirely.

    Another reason to postpone writing a book: If you approach a publisher, they’ll ask two questions: 1) What’s your book about? and 2) What’s your platform?

    They’ll ask many more questions — that’s what your book proposal is all about — but those are the two main questions. And the second question, about your platform, is the more important one to them.

    So you need to develop your content AND your following. A blog is a great way of doing both.

  10. Lois on September 7th, 2015 11:51 pm

    Well said!

  11. Bonnie Budzowski on February 11th, 2014 2:29 pm

    This is great advice! As a book coach/shepherd, I’m contacted routinely by people who have been told they need a book right out of the starting gate. As Lois says, you need to live with your expertise and refine your ideas by speaking, consulting, and writing shorter pieces before you try a book. Otherwise, the ideas are generalized, vague, and even confusing. They are unsupported by example and experience. There’s just no shortcut to writing a compelling book.

  12. Lois on September 7th, 2015 11:51 pm

    Thanks Bonnie! You know I’m a fan of yours and am always happy to recommend you!

  13. David McCuistion on February 12th, 2014 12:48 pm

    Great article Lois. Your comment about turning Blog articles into chapters is exactly the approach I am taking.

    Can and would you share some information on self-publishing, as I am considering this route for my book?

    Thank you for all your help and great advice.

    David McCuistion
    Vanguard Organizational Leadership (VOL)

  14. Lois on September 7th, 2015 11:56 pm

    I’m not the expert on self publishing. Suggest you look for NSA members who have done it and talk to them.

  15. Patricia Weber on February 14th, 2014 8:26 pm

    In my second year as a trainer and speaker, about a dozen of us joined with a publisher with a unique format – the Short Attention Span Library. These were pocket sized book of 100+/- tips about an area of expertise. I mostly gave them away to active training participants but I also sold them for the little price of $5. At the time it was a novel idea that worked.

    I love your question, “What is it that you want to accomplish with a book?” – I knew what I wanted to accomplish and it worked.

    A publisher contacted me last fall to write a book. I also know what I want to accomplish with about 210 pages!

    Valuable post – thank you Lois.

    Over from LI group

  16. Wayne Manigo on March 20th, 2014 12:14 pm

    Great advice and tips Lois! Thanks for sharing!


  17. Mark Lee on September 6th, 2014 7:47 pm

    This makes perfect sense to me Lois. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t write a book years ago. Now my blog of 8 years is well established and I have been writing a weekly column that is also well read I am thinking about writing a book – or at least adapting and expanding my existing content into a book.

    But I’m not sure the time this will take will be warranted. Perhaps it could be better spent seeking out more speaking gigs.

  18. Mark Lee on September 7th, 2014 6:56 am

    That ties in with my view too Lois. I’m unimpressed by all the self published books written by aspiring speakers before they have refined their ideas. This tends to happen over time as your talk develops by ref to eider experiences and feedback.

    I’ve been blogging for 8 years and writing a weekly column for a couple of years. The blog gets 25-30,000 visitors a month and the column typically gets 2-10,000 views.

    Part of me wants to have a book to my name but I suspect that cresting one would be a displacement activity. My time would be better spent getting speaking gigs!

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