The philanthropic author


Look after your readers, because without them you have nothing

Publishing a book for your business, or in your area of expertise, is almost as much a philanthropic process as it is about showcasing your expertise. If not, the book will be too much about you, and why would l want to read about you? 

There is a link between what you will achieve by writing a book and what you give to your reader: the more you give, the more you get. So don't be afraid to open up personally and in terms of the amount of content you give. If you have useful knowledge to impart that helps your reader they will market the book for you by talking about it to colleagues and friends.  

Make your book easy to read and laden with knowledge and insights that they would otherwise not be able to pull together - or at least not without enormous effort. 

What's the best way to achieve this?

For a start, never lose sight of your reader. When thinking about your reader, have a specific person in mind. By this I don't mean 'a middle manager with aspirations for senior management', but a name. At some stage you will have come across someone who represented exactly the person you are targeting the book at. 

Let's call your target reader 'Alex'. You need to find your 'Alex', know who they are and write your book to them:

  • What is their job?

  • What do they aspire to in their career?

  • What do they do on the weekends?

  • How do you know them?

  • Who are they married to and do they have children?

Don't try to be all things to all people or define your audience by a demographic or career position, as this won't provide the required focus. Writing for 'Alex' means that you are writing for someone else – it's not about you any more. 'Alex' has specific experience, specific training, a known background, and potential future which will help you write to a suitable emotional and intellectual level. Having such a person in mind will also help you produce emotionally engaging writing, as you know that person and what makes them tick. 

You may think this will cut some readers out, and there's no doubt it will, but you will engage with the readers you do win on a deeper more profound level and they will become your mavens.

Sound the trumpet

As a final thought on the process: as you write, think of yourself as a leader in the field. You have no doubt embarked on this journey to write a book because you have attained a certain amount of knowledge in your area of work. So proceed with the self-assuredness – not arrogance – that something you have to say that will improve the life of at least one reader, and make that your goal. 

If your book is your trumpet, let’s learn to play it with skill rather than just playing loudly. Making it a refined piece of work, rather than one that simply attracts attention is sure to benefit everyone in the long run.