Recently I asked BM, a marketing consultant, whether he was working on the new book he had told me months ago he was planning to write.
He replied that he was struggling with the question of whether to move forward with it.
“The the world does not need another marketing book,” he e-mailed me, sounding a bit down and dejected.
My first reaction was that BM is right: the world does not need another marketing book.
A number of my readers send me their new marketing books without asking whether I want them. Note: If you were thinking of doing so, please do not.
And my initial reaction is usually that the book should never have been written or published in the first place.
Most of the books are a rehash of what has already been written about a zillion times before.
But when I drill deeper into thinking about marketing books, my viewpoint begins change.
Why? For starters, even if the material has been covered elsewhere, many readers still need to hear it again.
If they didn’t, their marketing would be performing a lot better than it is right now.
Second, the authors, whether business owners or consultants, have conducted and seen the results of many marketing tests, and in doing so may have picked up some learning that you and I can benefit from.
I have been a copywriter for 35 years, and to my amazement, I still learn new techniques and tips every week that help me write better copy and get better results. And the only way you can learn them from me is to read my books and articles or attend my talks.
Yes, 95% of what is in these marketing books may have been written about before. But there’s nothing wrong with that, given that we read largely for reinforcement—to master the principles and make them ingrained in our brains.
If we could truly learn all we need from one volume, there would only be a single self-help book sold at Barnes & Noble.
And, as pointed out by many people wiser than I, if you get just one good idea from a marketing book, it can pay back your entire investment in buying and reading the book 10X over or more the very first time you use it.
So my advice to BM is: if you feel a strong desire to write a marketing book, and you think what you have to say is valuable or fresh, or both, then by all means do it.
At best, you will create something that brings genuine value to your readers—value beyond what they paid for.
At worst, you will have enhanced your reputation by being the author of a published book.
I close with what I think is a relevant story…
About 30 pages into the writing of his first published novel “Carrie”, Stephen King became so despondent he threw the pages into the trash.
The novel would never have seen the light of day had his wife Tabitha not rescued the manuscript from the waste bin and encouraged him to finish the book.
Millions of readers and the King family are glad he did, right?
Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.