Your Thought Leadership Book: Why Hire a Writing Agency?
YOUR THOUGHT LEADERSHIP BOOK: WHY HIRE A WRITING AGENCY?
You are a seasoned expert in your industry, and you’ve always wanted to write a thought leadership book. But a book is a big project. Where do you start? How do you organize your knowledge? How do you know your writing is any good?
You aren’t alone. Many new authors struggle to start and finish a book. After all, you’re an expert in your expertise, not in writing, editing, publishing, researching, or proofreading.
Getting Help to Write Your Book
“There are two main reasons authors hire a writing agency for help with a thought leadership book – skill and time,” says Wintress Odom, owner and senior editor at The Writers For Hire, Inc. (TWFH), a Houston-based writing agency.
“Writing a book can take hundreds of hours; it’s quite an endeavor. To add that type of workload on top of what is already a 40-, 50-, 60-hour-per-week schedule—it’s just not going to get done. And others feel that their skillsets lay elsewhere. Who has time to be an expert at everything?”
Flori Meeks, a TWFH ghostwriter, agrees it can be difficult for clients to see a thought leadership book through to completion.
Their attempts to write a book can stall for any number of reasons.
Some are stuck at the idea stage, she says.
“Some bring an outline and others bring nearly-completed manuscripts and hire a writing agency to create a smoother finished product that appeals to its intended readers.”
Wherever you are in the process, a good writing agency’s ghostwriters and editors will pick up your project from there—whether it’s brainstorming your book’s concept, organizing its structure, writing your manuscript, or proofreading and editing your finished work.
Hire a writing agency and get a team on your side.
An undisputed thought leader himself, inventor Thomas Edison used the principle of teamwork across all his enterprises. In an article for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Sarah Miller Caldicott explains Edison’s thinking:
Because he believed that a diverse group of individuals offered the best chance for collaborative success, Edison consistently created teams that had members from several disciplines. The famous group that drove the breakthrough thinking behind the incandescent electric light consisted of a glassblower, a machinist, a chemist, a mathematician, an instrument maker, and a textile worker, along with Edison himself.
You, too, have probably enlisted teams to accomplish large professional goals. When you hire a writing agency, you recruit a team of writing experts to help you achieve another significant goal—finishing your book.
The Writers for Hire is a Houston-based writing agency with a history of effectively filling the writing needs of clients using teamwork.
Odom outlined two team-centered scenarios her agency uses in producing thought leadership books.
The team collaborates with the author (usually remotely) throughout the writing process. If additional help is needed with research, the agency provides it.
When a manuscript is completed, Odom says, an objective proofreader and a previously uninvolved editor are assigned to the project to bring outside perspective:
Basically, [it is] having enough hands to really perfect the book—it’s not something a single person can do. It’s not physically possible. I don’t care how good a writer you are—trying to write in a vacuum without any sort of editing or QA (quality assurance) process, you’re just not going to get the same level of refinement that we can by adding those extra people in the process.
In the second scenario, a more rushed project is produced by the agency on a three-to-four-month timeline. Some projects, the owner recalls, have involved “really intense research [on] tough subjects where they really wanted to show an expertise, but it was a time-sensitive subject for them, and they really wanted [the book] out quickly.”
The company assigns teams of four to five writers to the book in this scenario to finish it on schedule. An editor “smooths out” chapters as they are completed, ensuring that each chapter is written in the same style and voice.
Odom’s teams have put in 600 work hours within three months, something she says is “not physically possible for a single person.” But with multiple team members, the writing and editing are finished on a compressed schedule with continual quality control.
“You can write a book with one person in three months. It’s just not going to be very good,” she adds. With a lone writer, the objective viewpoints of others are missing from what becomes a more hurried process.
Meeks affirms that when the team approach is used, “you’re more likely to have multiple sets of eyes on your manuscript, which is going to produce something that is very clean, polished, and likely to resonate well with the readers.”
Hire a writing agency for its scope of experience.
Just as your expertise has been broadened and deepened over time while communicating and working with your customers or clients, the same is true of a reputable writing agency. Its writers have built their skillsets in crafting thought leadership books through years of conversations and collaboration with leaders in many industries.
Meeks notes: “Our writers have experience writing for many specific industries, and we try to match clients with writers who understand their industry and know to ask the right questions to get the best stories and really flesh those out and get, not just an interview, but a conversation.”
She recalls working with an author who was an entrepreneur in a wide range of industries. With Meeks’ understanding of business and entrepreneurship, she was prepared to ask good questions. The result was “a book that really showcased his expertise.”
Meeks also recounts helping leaders in the oil and gas industry, including one based in Africa, another who ran home foundation and horse-breeding businesses, a female executive in the energy industry, and an author involved in finances and investing.
A ghostwriting team with experience in your own or related industries will offer an informed sense of what your target reader wants to learn from your thought leadership book. The team will help ensure that your readers’ most likely and crucial questions get answered.
A good agency understands thought leadership books.
As you consider writers and editors for your book, look at their published projects. Have their efforts resulted in complete, cohesive, and polished thought leadership books? A respected writing agency has a portfolio of well-organized, well-written expert books to its credit.
One reason an agency completes these books successfully is its ability to oversee the entire process—something usually lacking with independent freelancers.
Odom explains: “A lot of individual freelancers may be familiar with one part of the process—they may be an excellent writer or editor. They may be very good at marketing the book, but it can be difficult to find someone who has a specialty in making all of these connections to walk you through the entire process.”
When a manuscript is completed, her company also advises authors on a range of options for getting it into print.
This could include anything from using a smaller independent publishing house to self-publication or other options in between.
Most important to you as an author, an agency will work to ensure that your own voice, personality, vision, and objectives for your book are reflected when it goes to publication.
Agency ghostwriters will take as much time as needed to learn all about you, your business, your expertise, and your style of communication.
Meeks explains how a skilled ghostwriter listens to an author:
It’s letting them tell stories about their experiences and reflect on their significance or lessons learned or changes they made as a result; share advice for others in their industry based on what they’ve gone through; and maybe reflect on what they’ve observed among colleagues and other companies. They’re given a chance to show what they know and understand.
Thought leadership authors are glad they hired a writing agency.
Here are a few samples of author feedback received by TWFH:
“I had previously sent you an email stating how very much pleased with the book…but, I am not sure whether I fully expressed it. Frankly, the writing of the book is simply outstanding! You and your team have done a wonderful job of creating a very readable and interesting book! I just can’t believe how it is all coming together.” — Norm B.
“You guys have been AWESOME throughout this process, and we can’t thank you enough for how quickly you knocked out a whole book insuch a short time. Wecould not have been more satisfied with the work you did!” — Tommasina D.
“Wanted you to know that the book finally arrived on Wed. I would love for you to have a copy. You spent so much time with it you should see the printed version. Thanks for help once again. You may never get rid of me!” — Danny K.
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