Business lessons from books


At Tantamount we have been working with the publishing industry – both authors and publishing houses – for decades; we’ve worked on a lot of books and we’ve heard a whole lot more talked about but never actually written. Although the idea of a book seems to be a very specific kind of project, we’ve seen that there’s a big overlap between writing a book and any other business project and the watchwords for success are pretty much the same. Whatever the project, the first thing is to remember that you’re a professional and act like a PRO: Plan, Repurpose, Organise.

All projects work better with a plan, so don’t rush in without knowing where you’re going.

In the case of writing a book, you need to know why you’re writing and what you’re going to do when you finish the manuscript. How are you going to publish? Who is going to read the book and how are you going to distribute it? What will success look like? Taking time at the start of any project to consider the reasons for doing it and the target outcome can save a lot of wasted time and money.

It’s the age of reduce, reuse, recycle:

don’t re-invent the wheel; repurpose what you already have. For a book, this may be a question of plundering information from blog posts, presentations, reports… all the content that has slipped down the social media timeline or disappeared into the archives, never to be seen again. For other projects, too, you should look and see what skills and knowledge you already have in other areas and how these can be adapted and made relevant to the new endeavour.

There’s very little new under the sun.

When a whole world of information is readily available on the internet, it may be hard to see what possible value you can add. This is where organisation comes into play. Curating and structuring content is a massive time-saver for your audience, and organisation can be the thing that makes your book unique. Elsewhere, too, it’s your particular spin – the unique aspect of your service or product – that will make it stand out from the competition.

So, for books and other projects, planning, repurposing and organising are all essential for success. But, even knowing these basics, a lot of people fail with their book project and a lot of businesses fail with new endeavours. Writers fail to actually get the book written and businesses fail to get their new products launched, their new processes put in place and their new strategies implemented. Often this is because they don’t have the right A&E. No, they don’t need an urgent trip to the hospital, but they need Accountability & Expertise. They need someone who will act as a sounding board and provide accountability, without which the project may simply never get done; and they also need someone who is an expert in the field to make sure that it’s done right.

We can’t be experts in everything. These days, there’s enough information available that means we could probably all self-publish, create a website, paint our own house, repair the boiler and do a thousand and one other things that are not our actual field of expertise. But if we want to remain professionals, and not come across as amateurs, it’s important to take the advice of people who are experts in the fields where we are novices.

So, if you’re putting “write a book” on a list of goals, or if you’re thinking of undertaking any other new project in an unfamiliar field, just remember:

Be a PRO: Plan; Repurpose; Organise

And make sure you have the A&E support you need: Accountability and Expertise.

“…a professional is someone who can do his best work when he doesn’t feel like it.
― Alistair Cooke

We’re always interested in talking about publishing projects, so why not drop us an email or give us a call?