Getting Started with Your Book

A poll among financial advisors and asset managers revealed that while 90% believe authoring a book is a smart marketing strategy, less than 1% have been published.

Why the disparity?

The prospect of writing a book can be daunting to a busy professional. Many say they simply don’t have the time to write, or lack the energy after long business hours. Some question whether they can organize their thoughts into a coherent and compelling format. Others fear they lack the necessary writing skills but question if a ghostwriter will understand their business or accurately portray their positioning. Some assume it will be too costly or won’t deliver commensurate value.

I suspect that in many cases, the project appears so arduous and time consuming, the prospective author decides it’s simply too much work to take on while managing a financial practice. Perhaps it triggers memories of pulling an all-nighter to finish a college term paper, or some other odious recollection. Metaphorically speaking, they see a whole forest that needs to be razed versus a series of trees that can be hewn one at a time.

Yet some busy people manage to author several books while simultaneously managing successful businesses. How do they do it? Obviously, they don’t give up sleeping.

I’ve spent the past 30 years ghostwriting for financial professionals and I have some thoughts on the subject. I’m not a missionary for authorship or an ambassador for book publishers, but it’s apparent that those who publish tend to be regarded more highly and attract more new business than those who do not. There’s no denying that authorship provides an imprimatur of credibility.

For most potential authors, it’s a matter of time allocation and affordability.

How long does it take to write a book?

If you decide to write it yourself, it may take forever, in which case my forest metaphor may be accurate. Sarcasm aside, few advisors can find the time needed to organize and write a book. The majority of those who publish use a ghostwriter/editor.

Collaborating with an experienced financial ghostwriter can drastically reduce the time it takes to complete your book. The process is fairly straightforward. Phone interviews are scheduled based on your availability and time horizon for being published. In my experience, a 60-90 minute interview twice a month should result in being published within 12 months. If you have a shorter timeline, the interviews can be compressed to escalate the process. In other words, the date your book is ready for distribution is up to you. If you want to coordinate the book’s release with an event, such as a seminar, conference, annual client review or holiday gifting, a competent ghostwriter can guide you past any impediments.

As your ghostwriter, my job is to ensure the content is compelling and accurately reflects your personality and marketing objectives. The book is, after all, a marketing tool to support your branding, generate referrals, stimulate media interest (and appearances if you so desire), and create a permanent legacy for your professional practice.