Write that book or get off the pot

I listened to a live-recorded episode of the James Altucher podcast this morning (yes I am obsessed but it’s temporary so don’t worry too much)… Altucher’s most recent push is for people to self-publish books. His guest was an author (in the self-help-entrepreneur-choose-yourself genre). During Q&A, at least two audience members said they felt like they “had a book inside of them.” First of all, you might want to get that checked out because it sounds painful. Seriously, though, can you please stop saying that? Metaphorically, everybody has a book inside of them. And most of them are boring crap that nobody would ever want to read. Still, the vanity press industry is thriving. Amazon has millions of self-published e-books that nobody will ever buy nor would anybody even download for free. You have heard the allegorical story that someone asked Michelangelo how he was able to create David using a block of marble that many sculptors had dismissed as useless. Michelangelo is supposed to have said that he saw David in the block of marble and all he had to do is remove all the marble from the block that wasn’t David. If you really do have a book inside you, maybe that’s how it should work. But you are not Michelangelo. You are the block of marble. It will take a skilled artist and craftsman to remove all the things that aren’t your book. So, you have three choices…

  • Hire a professional to ghost write your book
  • Learn how to write, become skilled at the craft of writing, practice your craft until you understand the subtleties of the art, and hire an editor to edit what you write
  • Stop saying you have a book in you. Because some shoddy surgeon will take you literally and try to remove all the parts of you that aren’t your book.
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