One of my favorite expressions—in fact, it was a catch phrase for a while—was “It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be done.”
You’ve probably heard it expressed in other ways:
- Bad marketing done consistently will beat good marketing done sporadically…
- Good is better than perfect. Done is better than perfect.
- Don’t let perfect get in the way of progress.
- Perfect is the enemy of good.
We tend to over-worry our work—nitpicking it to the point that we never release it out into the world.
This post is not about that.
I receive a lot of books from people, some as manuscripts, some in full paperback form. Many are just hot messes—no structure, organization, poor grammar and punctuation. (What’s with the rampant random capitalization, people?) All of which makes the book difficult for the reader to consume and more important, makes the author look like an idiot.
One of the reasons business owners write books is to increase their credibility and authority. A bad book does just the opposite. Your business book (I’m not talking about a freebie, downloadable lead generation book here) needs to be, at minimum, “Not embarrassing.” Good enough is not good enough.
Let me give you a non-book example.
The air conditioning on my classic (i.e., really old) Audi went out. Before it went, there was a period where vapor came out the vents and I could hear water sloshing behind the dashboard fire wall after I had been driving for an hour or so. If enough liquid built up, it would slosh on the either the driver’s or the passenger’s feet depending on which way I turned. Good times.
I took it to my regular mechanic who gave me an estimate of $1,200. The car is worth about $2,000 on a good day, so I was doing a cost/benefit analysis in my head. I stopped by the local auto parts store and in conversation, they recommended another local mechanic who specializes in Audis.
His estimate came in a couple of hundred dollars below my guy’s. (Pricing clue: Over $1,000—decisions have to be weighed. Under $1,000—Let’s do it!) It’s a 10 hour/two day job. Which took three days. I got the car back, it blew cold air for a few minutes, and then it went to luke-cool. I take it back to the shop and drop it, telling them I was heading out of town for the week. The implication being that I would like it to be READY when I returned. It was, in fact, more than implied.
I returned; the car wasn’t ready. But it was by end of business that day. Fine. I pick it up and the a/c is blowing cold. Great!
Within five minutes of driving, I can hear water sloshing behind the dash and vapor is coming out the vents.
The a/c is fixed. It blows cold. Good enough?
Nope. I am one of those picky customers who doesn’t like to get their feet wet when driving their car. The problem was only partially fixed and the customer was not happy. (And yes, it was fixed. Third time’s a charm.)
You can easily publish your own book. In fact, I recommend it.
Does your book have to be perfect? No. Does it have to be an industry game changer? No.
But it does have to be a good book. It has to reflect well on you, otherwise you’re shooting yourself in the foot. You’re better off not having a book at all.
I was talking with another book marketing consultant and she mentioned that speakers, in the context of coaches and consultants, all thought that writing a book was the golden ticket to more speaking gigs.
It used to be that way, back when your book had to show merit before a publishing house would invest money and time in publishing a book. It was a vetting process. With print on demand, that vetting process is gone. No one is checking to see if the ideas are viable, new, or even relevant. No one is checking to see if the content is presented in a logical or interesting manner. No one is even checking spelling and grammar in some books.
Anybody can publish a book (or a long blog post that they call a book).
And that’s bad for everyone.
It’s not enough to have a “good enough” book anymore. Virtually every speaker on the circuit has written a book. You need to have a more than good enough book. Not a perfect book (there is no such thing). It doesn’t have to be genius. But it needs to be a solid book with informative content presented professionally.
In the business world, the bar has been raised and good enough is no longer good enough. Do yourself a favor. Write a good book. Have it edited. Pay for a good cover. Your business book deserves to be more than good enough.