Reflections: What Makes an Expert Different?

Individuals and subject area experts interested in establishing thought leadership through a published book might enjoy checking out Conor Neills’ recent blog post, abortion What Makes an Expert Different? This is one of the most concise and useful discussions of the elements of expert status I’ve ever seen.

Conor Neills is professor at IESE Business School in Barcelona. Conor an entrepreneur who’s founded 4 companies. He’s currently writing a book on making the best of your journey through life. His Rhetorical Journey blog is a compass for those who want to become confident and effective speakers.

Lists as a teaching tool

One of the many lessons What Makes an Expert Different? teaches is the importance of simplifying complex topics down to their essence so they can be better understood. Conor makes excellent use of lists and selective emphasis (created by setting keywords in bold) to provide a new context and a perspective for further exploration. Short blog posts, like short books in general, i.e., 42 Rules for Driving Success with Books, are often far superior to encyclopedic treatments that readers may not have time to read.

Not only Conor Neills’ What Makes an Expert Different? valuable in its own right, but it also contains links to additional sources of information on becoming an expert.

Your opinion counts

What do you think of Conor Neills’  What Makes an Expert Different? Which of the characteristics that he describes do you think is the most important/least important? Are their other characteristics of “expertness” that you think should be included in the list? Share your ideas and opinions as comments, below.

7 questions to ask before writing a nonfiction book to drive your success

Writing a nonfiction book is the proven way to build your business by attracting new prospects, online pre-selling your competence, nurse opening doors to new product and service opportunities, while differentiating yourself from your competition. (Mitchell Levy’s 42 Rules for Driving Success with Books for details and examples.)

However, you have to write the right book! Here are 7 questions to ask yourself before you begin to write your nonfiction book attract new clients and prospects:

  1. Who should I write my book for? Before writing a book, take the time to identify your best prospects and clients…the types of individuals and firms you want to attract because they’re challenging, profitable, and fun to deal with. Few books, by themselves, sell enough copies to provide an author’s sole source of income. Today, books are written to generate post-publication business by attracting qualified prospects who want to benefit from the author’s proven expertise through sales of back-end products and services.
  2. What are their problems and concerns? Publishing success is not about how much authors know they know about their topic, but how much they know about the information their intended readers need to know! Successful, career-building, nonfiction books are actionable; they help readers solve problems or achieve goals. Success is all about helping readers experience positive change! Instead of taking an inventory of what you know, take an inventory of what your prospects and readers need to know.
  3. What existing books are already available? Before you you start to write your book, you must research existing books and learn as much about them as possible. Writing success involves bringing new information to the table (or the bookshelf). No publisher wants to publish a book that covers familiar ground. Likewise, no readers want to spend money on a “me, too!” book.
  4. How are their authors profiting? In addition to studying existing books in your field, you need to research the businesses of the authors who wrote the book. Authors who are actively publishing books in your field are usually frequent speakers who also offering coaching, consulting, or training services. Visit their websites and examine the topics they speak and present on, as well as the client case studies they describe. Examining their blog and website may provide several new ideas for topics for your book.
  5. How motivated is the market? Look for markets that are active and characterized by books with consistent, healthy sales.  More important, look for markets that are experiencing change and are urgently looking for solutions. Hint: if you are writing for businesses, look for situations where failure to solve problems or achieve goals is costing firms a lot of money, either in wasted opportunities or reduced profitability. If you are writing for consumers, look for health, employment, or personal development issues causing pain and stress.
  6. How can I set my book apart? The more time you invest exploring your market and your competition, the easier it will be to identify and organize a book that brings a new approach to your topic. Look for something fresh: look for a way to bring new information, new examples, new style, or a new process (or system) to help readers solve their problems or achieve their goals. Question current assumptions and look for new approaches.
  7. How can I finish my book as quickly and efficiently as possible? Efficiency and speed are important, but often overlooked, considerations. The sooner your book is completed, the sooner it can begin opening new doors of opportunity for you. This does not mean not presenting a complete solution or sacrificing clarity, responsibility, or quality. Experienced book coaches and editors will be able to suggest ways you can enlist the help of others to get your book into your prospective clients’ or customers’ hands as quickly as possible without losing control of your book.

In many ways, writing a book is like playing chess; planning and strategy play a bigger role than action. Writing a book for a market that can’t afford, or doesn’t want, your products and services is as bad a mistake as writing a book that duplicates existing information.

Likewise, a book that comes out after a wave of demand has begun to lose power is another prescription for failure.

By all means, write a nonfiction book to drive business by positioning you as the go-to expert in your field. But, before you begin to write, ask the above questions to make sure your writing the right book!

Roger C. Parker invites you to explore Published & Profitable’s Sample Contents and sign-up for his Writer’s Writer’s Tip Blog. Roger’s latest book is #Book Title Tweet: 140 Bite-Sized Ideas for Compelling Article, Book, and Event Titles.