My mentor, Dave Lakhani, sent me a copy of Derek Siver’s Anything You Want. Derek is the founder of CD Baby, a website he started to sell his CDs. Then a few of his buddies asked if he could sell their CDs, too, and as these things go, the venture morphed into a multi-million dollar business. His book is a collection of lessons learned in that experience, things that worked, mistakes he made, all told in an easily readable style.
One line in the book comes back to me daily: “In the end, it’s about what you want to be, not what you want to have.”
My ghostwriting clients want to have a book. My book coaching students want to be an author.
Hiring a ghostwriter is a lot less work (but more money) and when you need a book fast for your clients, as a lead generator or for back of room sales, it’s definitely the way to go. It’s an eight week process on average. (Yes, I know people say you can write a book in three days—in fact, I have said it—but those are almost always low quality, slapped together books used as online lead generators. I’m talking “real” books here.)
Writing a book yourself can take months, if not years. While many books are a labor of love, most take far too long to write because the author doesn’t know how to write a book. They start and stop, hit a brick wall and put the writing aside for days, weeks, then months. But the book always calls them back (they have a way of doing that, much like the sirens of old), and they start again.
It can be a long, frustrating journey but the desire to be an author has a strong pull. Unsurprisingly, an author’s second book takes a lot less time to write and there are some writers who can turn out a book a month (think serial romances and how-to books).
The path to your book depends on what you want. Do you want to have a book or be an author? Neither one is good or bad, wrong or right. A book should serve your purpose first, your ego second.