Author, publisher and author’s mentor Lucy McCarraher is the Founder & Director of Rethink Press and the founder of the Business Book Awards.
As a key person of influence she is on a mission to show entrepreneurs how publishing a book can open doors. In particular she says that writing and publishing a book could be of particular benefit to female entrepreneurs. In A Book of One’s Own, fifty women authors (including Marvellous PR’s founder Lucy Matthews, author of A Marvellous Reputation) share their experiences with Lucy. We were delighted that she was able to be our Marvellous guest blogger this month.
Why do only half as many women entrepreneurs write and publish their business book as men? Maybe for the same reasons that fewer women than men start their own businesses: they have less confidence in their own abilities, are more risk averse, and have to factor in caring responsibilities. They are also taken less seriously by organisations like banks, funders and publishers, and lack role models, mentors and networks.
I founded the Business Book Awards in 2017. I brought together an eminent Judging Panel of equal male and female business experts, authors and publishers with a female Head Judge, Alison Jones. When the rigorous judging process was completed, every category winner and the overall winner of the first Business Book of the Year was a white male author.
Of the 150 books entered, from big and small publishers and self-published authors, one third were written by women. Slightly less than a third of women authors made it through to the shortlist and not one to the line-up of eleven winners.
I analysed our list at Rethink Press where, as a hybrid publisher, authors approach us to publish their books – we don’t select them. Our 300+ titles were also one-third female to two-thirds male authors.’
Next, I carried out a survey and in-depth interviews with 50 female authors of business books and found that women entrepreneurs believe that they are up against the ‘6Cs’ both in business and in publishing:
- Confidence – women have less confidence than men in their own abilities and suffer from Impostor Syndrome
- Criticism – women are fearful of judgement and criticism – with justification
- Caring – women have to factor in caring responsibilities and feel selfish taking time out to write their book
- Cash – women are more risk averse and worry about investing time and money in book-writing and publishing
- Credibility – women lack credibility with external organisations like funders and publishers due to unconscious bias
- The Club – women lack the role models, mentors and networks that men automatically have access to. They don’t know where to get support and are nervous of ‘putting themselves out there’.
The findings are published in my latest book aimed at women in business, A Book of One’s Own – a manifesto for women to share their experience and make a difference.
But I also found positive ways in which women can reframe their feelings of Impostor Syndrome and reluctance to ‘put themselves out there’. Women need to realise it’s not selfish to invest time and money in writing and publishing their book; it’s more selfish to withhold their knowledge and experience that could help their readers and their market, make their business more secure for their colleagues, and make their families proud of them.
If you are running a business, are an entrepreneur, coach or consultant. there are five good reasons why you should write a business book.
Firstly, it’s one of the best pieces of self-development you can engage in. Planning a well-structured book gives you clarity and forces you to create a logical, compelling story, or reader journey. Authors often find that writing their book produces insights that improve their business or methodology.
Secondly, creating a detailed manuscript of 30,000 to 40,000 words gives you an invaluable archive of content that can be repurposed in many formats from blog posts to keynotes to workshops. The act of writing embeds that content in your brain, so you become more confident and adept at speaking, pitching and selling.
Thirdly, being a published author is the most effective way of demonstrating your authority and expertise in your field. I’m sure you’ve noticed how many media pundits and experts are introduced as ‘the author of… (book on relevant subject)’. Your book is your entrée to industry events and invitations to speak and present worldwide.
Fourthly, your book is the best business card you will ever have. A small piece of printed card or even a nicely printed brochure can be filed away; an email can be deleted, a letter binned. But few people will ignore a well-designed and produced book. A business book sells you and your business to prospects and creates an endless marketing funnel. The kudos of authorship allows you to raise your fees and meet influencers in your market on an equal footing.
Finally, there is a predictably unpredictable magic to writing and publishing a good book. Every author whose book I’ve published comes back to me at some point with a story that usually opens with, ‘You won’t believe what’s happened…’ and ends with ‘… and it’s all because of the book.’
I’m on a mission to inspire more women entrepreneurs to write their book and claim their authority in their niche. What’s more, becoming a published author is a gender-neutral way to gain credibility, and each individual book authored by a woman adds much needed respect for women in general.
If you want to get more information and support while you plan, write and publish your book, come and join the ABOO private Facebook group for aspiring and inspiring women authors www.facebook.com/groups/ABOOCircles .
A Book of One’s Own – a manifesto for women to share their experience and make a difference is available on Amazon – www.amazon.co.uk/Book-Ones-Own-experience-difference/dp/1781333467/
More info on www.abookofonesown.co.uk or connect with Lucy on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn
Lucy McCarraher, Founder & Director, Rethink Press; Mentor, Key Person of Influence programme; Founder Business Book Awards