When is the right time to write a book? Or, what does the stock market have to do with your personal success?

Posted October 14th @ 12:05 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Tuesday’s writing tip for authors

Have you been concerned with the economic news lately? It’s hard to avoid, isn’t it. “Stock rise!” one day, “Stocks fall!” the next. Gloom and doom headlines seem to be everywhere. As the world economy enters an “age of uncertainty,” It’s easy to find reasons to become discouraged about becoming a published author in your field. It’s hard to maintain a positive perspective, focused on success when there’s so much defeatism in the air.It’s easy to succumb to pessimism and feelings of helplessness.

So, what’s an author, or would-be author, to do?

Regaining control
Rather than succumbing to the daily diet of negative habits, a better approach might be to ask 2 simple questions:

  • What can I control?
  • What’s beyond my control?

Separating things beyond your control from things you can control can help you focus and prioritize your daily actions.

  • You can’t control interest rates or rescue a regional bank, but you can commit to planning, writing, promoting, and profiting from a published book.
  • You can commit to devoting as little as 30 minutes a day to planning and writing, and creating a marketing and business plan to leverage future profits out of your book.
  • You can commit to studying the habits of published authors, by listening to them as they describe their paths to publishing success in interviews.
  • You can spend time researching existing books in your field, and identifying the “book that hasn’t been written” that’s just waiting for your unique ideas and perspective.

The choice is yours
You can commit to the status quo, and be at the mercy of events beyond your control, or you can devoting as little as 30 minutes a day to planning, writing, promoting, and profiting from a book.

Here are some of the tasks you can accomplish in 30-minute increments:

  1. Make a list of some of the topics you’d include in your book.
  2. Visit the websites of 2 or 3 of the authors in your field, and analyze their pros and cons.
  3. Ask your library to obtain copies of 2 or 3 recently published books in your field form inter-library loan.
  4. Analyze the reader reviews of books in your field, and look for repeating concerns.
  5. Assemble a “dream team” of co-authors you’d like to work with, or have endorse your book.
  6. Review your most successful accomplishments and look for lessons you can share.
  7. Learn how to set up a blog and begin to post daily.
  8. Identify the publishers who are most active in your field.
  9. Locate literary agents whose authors have published books in your field.
  10. Master a new writing tool, like mind mapping, or master Microsoft Word’s keyboard shortcuts.

The feeling of progress that results from cultivating the habit of daily writing success can go a long way towards overcoming today’s negative headlines.


QUESTION: What do you think is the best time to write a book? When times are good, or times are uncertain? Submit your opinion as a comment, below.

11 Comments

  1. Chris
    October 14, 2008

    What an inspiring post! Even if my book never gets published, I’m glad for the sense of accomplishment at having written it.

  2. Bob Burg
    October 14, 2008

    Great article. I don’t think that writing or not writing a book should have anything to do with external (those you cannot control) circumstances. If you feel that by writing the book you will be able to add value to your readers . . . then write that book. Regarding the financial aspect of any project, I believe we need to encourage people to simply not buy into the scare tactics employed by our politicians and media. Instead, focus on adding value to others and profiting as a result. So many people have made tons of money in “difficult” economic times it’s almost proverbial.

  3. Michael Nolan
    October 14, 2008

    It’s kind of like the old Chinese saying, “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second-best time is now.”

    Market conditions will change a lot in the time it takes to write and publish a book. If your topic is relevant, timely, and especially if it offers ways to work smarter and thrive in challenging times, go for it. Don’t look back.

  4. Ryan Lee
    October 14, 2008

    Nice job Roger!

    The best time to write a book is RIGHT NOW. Too many people wait and wait but never take action.

    Just break it down into small daily chunks and it will get done.

    -Ryan Lee
    http://ryanlee.com

  5. Stephanie Diamond
    October 14, 2008

    Great points Roger! The focus of writing a book in good times or bad is to simply focus on what benefit the reader will get from your information.

    Then, you need to figure out the time horizon for publishing. You can’t second guess where the economy will be, so you have to decide how timely the information will be either short-term or long-term and deliver on that promise.

  6. Jan V. White
    October 14, 2008

    Writing a book has nothng to do with outside circumstances but with your confidence in the validity and value of your message. That can be done at any time (assuming that outside circumstances aren’t such that you are starving!).

    “Writing a book” is daunting. Don’t start that way. Instead, jot down a short thought when the spirit moves you and stash it away. Then do another one and add it to your stash. Soon you’ll have a bunch to organize, bridge, assemble, and the book suddenly appears.

  7. William Reed
    October 14, 2008

    Roger,

    You certainly know how to ”Break it Down”. Given your hobby interests, its a as if you are laying down railroad tracks to help people go farther and make the ride easier.

    I totally agree that the time for action is now, regardless of whether you are on an up cycle or a down cycle. Of course you need a long term project for focus, and you have given us the means to keep paddling.

    All I might add is that if took the same approach to all of your projects, and managed your time well, you’d have enough cylinders going to keep you floating and moving forward.

    And I agree also with Michael Nolan’s post about planting a tree. A lot happens below the surface which we don’t see until it breaks ground, and whatever you see above ground once started as a small invisible seed.

    Will Reed

  8. Maria
    October 15, 2008

    Roger,

    You’ve touched on a very important point. It’s easy to use the recession, market failing, or any other “bad” event as excuses NOT to write a book. Truth be told, if those weren’t around, you’d come up with something else.

    However, when you wrote in your post that you can commit to 30 minutes a day, that should completely eliminate any lingering doubts…

    Let’s put it into perspective:
    What is 30 minutes a day?

    Well, it’s an episode of Seinfeld. Now, imagine, Seinfeld had a little more than 180 episodes throughout the 9 seasons he was on the air.

    If you watched all those episodes, you could have used those roughly 5400 minutes of watching TV to write your book! Which would have been more beneficial to you?

    Unfortunately, and ultimately, it really does boil down to priorities and the choices we make.

    It really is in your control to say, “I won’t watch that episode of (fill in the blank) and work one step closer to writing my book.”

    Great post — as usual.

    Maria

  9. Stock Tips Guy
    October 15, 2008

    I like how the current state of the stock market is brought into your discussion. Failure to acknowledge the far-reaching nature of the market is ignorant and you do a good job of avoiding that.

  10. Matt Wagner
    October 16, 2008

    Good post, Roger. The bottom line for anyone who wants to write is to keep writing no matter what. Also, it’s important to note that some segments of the book market may tend to be counter-cyclical: for instance, books that prepare students for careers that might be considered “safe” may do well in this market.

  11. Roger C. Parker
    October 17, 2008

    Thank you, Matt:
    As a 20-year+ literary agent, your comments are especially appreciated.
    Roger

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