Writing a book is easy.
The actual writing.
OK. Maybe not nothing. Maybe it’s like 1% of the whole insane process that is known as ‘a book.’
People think the writing is hard.
The hard bit is thinking what to write.
It’s the researching and learning about what you decide to write.
It’s figuring out which bits to leave out.
And which bits to leave in.
It’s editing what you’ve written.
It’s figuring out what to delete.
What to add.
It’s uploading a book to one website so it appears on other websites.
It's designing a cover for the book.
And redesigning it.
It’s getting people to do advance reviews of the book.
Getting people to buy the book.
Doing talks about the book.
Writing articles about the book.
Doing press about the book.
It’s checking the book once it’s been made to look like a book.
It’s asking people who like the book to review it on Amazon.
It’s worrying about the book.
Worrying so much about the book.
It’s hoping people who hate the book aren’t too unkind about the book.
It’s realising once you’ve written one book, you’re going to have to write another book.
The list goes on.
This really is just the half of it.
(Thankfully, there’s a load of people - publishers, editors, marketers, friends and family - who help with all this extra ‘bookness.’ And my sincere thank you to everyone who’s been involved so far and is still involved.)
But the writing. Pfff. The writing is nothing.
I look at the giant wall of books I have in my lounge and feel I share a dirty new secret with them:
The writing is sideshow.
I don’t know how I feel about it.
There I was for years thinking it was about the writing. Turns out I was wrong.
The writing is an extra in the film. Without any lines; who is killed in the opening scene.
So what is it all about, if it isn’t about the writing?
Here’s the realisation. Dumb me because I should have known.
To be fair, I already did know but didn’t truly understand how deep the conspiracy went.
It’s all about the ideas.
I’m not a writer. That’s why my job is so hard to define. I’m just someone who’s able to invent and express ideas.
It reminds me of a Picasso story. A woman asks him to scribble a drawing on a napkin. He obliges and says, that will be £10,000, please. She replies, but it only took you seconds! Picasso counters, no, my dear woman, it took me forty years to learn that.
It’s a simple ‘lesson,’ one I’ve just been reminded of in preparing a training session for non-‘writers’ who would like me to teach them how to write engagingly.
In documenting my own approach it dawned on me…
It’s all the same.
Writing a book. Writing a blog post. Hell, even writing a tweet. The writing is incidental.
It’s all about the research. The context. The relevance. The editing.
It is all about the ideas.
Without those, sure, the writing is hard. But then without the ideas, everything is hard.
Some other book-related news
Thanks to the small army of people that are currently helping to bring it to life, my book took a big step forward this week as the typesetting was completed. This is where it gets laid out to look how it will when it’s printed.
Happily, it now looks like a proper book and not just a glorified Word document that you call a manuscript to make yourself feel better.
I have that to check through and then it will be readied to go to print. It's exciting.
Daunting because now is also the stage at which I invite a load of industry experts to read the book and offer their thoughts.
Thankfully, the reviews so far have been extremely positive.
For example, fellow author and hugely-respected copywriter, Andy Maslen, has kindly offered these words for the cover:
"Glenn Fisher knows an incredibly valuable secret. How to write to complete strangers and get them to part with their hard-earned cash. Now he seems to have taken leave of his senses and published his secret in this book. Any copywriter, hell, any marketeer or business owner, who wants to make serious money should buy a copy."
To say I’m chuffed with such a kind review doesn’t do it justice. And my heartfelt thanks to everyone who's been sending nice words in about it.
Elsewhere, as I come to realise a book has very little to do with writing and more to do with everything that is not writing, I’m in the process of arranging talks around the country.
But my first stop is in my little hometown of Grimsby.
Details for the event for local businesses at Riverhead Coffee can be found here.
I’ll update you on talks elsewhere as dates are confirmed.
Finally, I’ll also be starting a new podcast loosely linked to the book. I’m going to be doing things in a slightly different way (dare I say, more professional) to how I’ve done interviews in the past. But expect irreverence and lots of what I believe is humour (even if no one else believes it).
It’s all really exciting and it's a pleasure to be a part of.
If you’re not already involved yourself, I’d love you to be in someway. Just reach out to me here. But the first, most simple step you can take is to pre-order the book itself.