How many people enjoy reading self-help and business books? I can’t imagine many.
(I’m burned out, myself.)
A few weeks ago, I finished my book proposal for “Let’s Fix Work,” and it includes an introduction, author bio, an overview of the audience, a marketing plan, competitive analysis of similar books that sold well, book specs, a chapter outline, and a sample chapter.
Honestly, I’m not trying to write a self-help or business book. I’ve had to read about a dozen to understand my competition, and most of them are horrible.
On the business book side, they are mainly dull and dry. Authors want to establish themselves as experts and write in a formal, unapproachable tone. When it comes to life-hack books, I think it seems uncool and shady to follow a formula where the author tells her own pathetic story, swears at her readers to motivate them, and tries to seem edgy while taking their money.
(No thanks. If that’s the game, I want no part of it.)
What do you think of business books and self-help books? What do you like? What bugs you?
My book tries to make the case that work is broken because you’re broken. Do you want to fix your job? Fix yourself and put yourself first. Deprioritize your job title and reconnect with your community. Bet on yourself. Fix your money. Prioritize happiness and contentment. Put your physical and emotional wellbeing first. Blah blah blah.
My book isn’t a self-help book or a traditional business guide. It’s just an attempt to help you reframe your current situation. It’s a list of ideas and suggestions. Take it or leave it.
(I hope you take it. I hope someone takes it. Part of being a big sister is realizing that no one listens to you.)
Now, having done the competitive analysis portion of my book proposal, I know there are things that I won’t do with my book.
First off, I won’t pretend that I’m a therapist. If I watch another Instagram story from a self-help guru who offers clinical advice in a pretty font, I’m seriously going to lose it. Therapeutic advice from a writer who isn’t a therapist is fraudulent.
Second, I won’t commoditize life’s obstacles and offer a neatly packaged solution. There are authors and gurus out there who have trademarked issues like impostor syndrome®™ and social anxiety®™ with the goal of offering five simple steps to fixing your life. I think that’s malpractice. Also, what if you are an impostor? Maybe you should own up to that and start living a more authentic life, yo.
(I’ve got my work cut out for me.)
The good news is that literary agents are interested, and I start traveling to meet them after Labor Day. I’m also traveling for work — attending conferences and meeting with clients — and can begin my marketing plan right now.
The bad news is that this book proposal has ruined my personal reading goals, and I’ve been inspired-to-death. It’s nearly impossible to pick up my Kindle, right now, and get excited about my library. So, if you have any YA book recommendations, I’ll take ’em.
What’s good? What are you reading that you love? I need to get my mind off fixing work for a few weeks while I’m traipsing around on planes trying to lock down an agent and sell this manuscript.