We’re always really keen to feature any success that our ORB Members have in their business endeavours. So we were thrilled to hear that Jacqui Burke from Flourishing People, a business specialising in management, leadership and governance training, had been approached to write a book about her experiences in Early Years education business. Here she gives some tips on how you might approach writing a business-book to promote your business and/or your business approach:
Responsible Reputation leads to business book publication:
“In February of this year my book Building Your Early Years Business was published. Although the content of the book, which is quite sector specific, may not be of interest to most ORB members, I thought I would share with you some of my experience of writing it.
First of all a word about how it came about. Many people I talk to tell me that they’ve got an idea for a book and would one day like to write it. This wasn’t my starting point at all. It had never occurred to me to write a book so I was in some ways a reluctant author. It all began with an email from a publishing company. They had been conducting market research and had established that there was a gap in the market for a book focused on the business management aspect of running an early years and childcare business. There are plenty on people management and management of the delivery of childcare services but nothing really about business planning and business management. They wanted to know if I agreed with their findings, which I did, and why I thought this was the case. After an interesting exchange of emails on the subject they said that there was a definite gap in the market and felt that I’d be an ideal person to write a book to fill it.
I was interested to know how they had found me and come to that conclusion. The answer was simple – social media and in particular Twitter.
I joined Twitter some years ago and having built up a good following use it engage with like-minded people in the sectors that I work within. Some of my main activities include sharing my own thoughts and retweeting news and topics I think will be of interest to my followers, joining in and occasionally hosting Twitter Hours such as #EYTalking, and making face to face contact with people who I’ve engaged with initially through social media. My Twitter account is also linked to my blog.
The next question I had to address was what to write about. After 25 years of management training I’ve amassed a lot of material and even more opinions. The publisher required me to set out an outline of what would be covered in each chapter (in quite a lot of detail) and this was approved by their editorial panel before a contract was issued. Doing this was helpful as it became my route map to keep me on track and also enabled to me gauge the size of the book (they kept asking me to add more content and I was able to advise them how this would increase the word count. I was then able to start pulling together some of my existing materials and ideas and the book began to take shape.
The biggest challenge I faced came next – meeting the deadlines agreed with my publisher. Having never tackled something Iike this before, I made two mistakes. Firstly, I underestimated how long it would take me to write and secondly, but linked to the first point, I delayed starting, thinking I would have a quiet period of time over the summer. As a new author, there’s no advance money so writing is unpaid activity and so paid work always comes first. And that’s exactly what happened. Fortunately my editor was very supportive and we were able to agree a revised deadline – but I’d be lying if I said to you that meeting the deadline wasn’t stressful. By the end of 9 months, it felt like I was coming to the end of a long and rather uncomfortable pregnancy and just wanted it OUT!
So my top tips if you feel you’ve got a business book in you:
- Use social media including a blog to start to establish yourself as the go-to person on your subject
- Determine if you have existing materials that you could build on to create the content of your book or if you would be starting from scratch, and plan accordingly
- Be realistic in setting deadlines and plan in time to write, recognising it’ll probably take you longer than you think.
My final tip is also a word of warning – once your book is out and selling well, you may well be asked by your publisher to consider writing another one. And just like many mums with a new baby will tell you, the memories of the pain and discomfort have faded and you suddenly find yourself saying yes.”
Jacqui Burke runs Flourishing People, a business specialising in management, leadership and governance training. Her book Building Your Early Years Business was published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers and is available from her online shop http://flourishingpeople.co.uk