Executive Insider

A Book Inside: Tips for CEOs to publish a book in a pandemic

Businesswoman thinking over the glass window

​Surviving a pandemic seemed easy for me being comfortable in a crisis situation, but has been devastating for countless others. No matter how well you have adapted, you may have found yourself clawing your way out from under that stubborn Covid-19 canopy that may have been cramping your lifestyle while birthing a new meaning to the word “Zoom”.

You may have even dealt with those daily curve balls thrown by that relentless pitcher named Covid. As sporting events were canceled and photographer credentials ground to a screeching halt, I decided to make best use my free time by upping my writing game.

If you have not already taken advantage of those large blocks of uninterrupted time, there is no better time than now to document your thoughts and experiences.  Good chance your pearls of wisdom may influence an eager reader in a positive way.

Everyone has a book inside them

As a manager and leader, you have undoubtedly crossed paths with people from all walks of life. My 25-year Air Force career coupled with my second career as a professional sports photographer enable me to meet new friends from all over the world. Transforming acquaintances into fantastic friends is fun and fulfilling, while discovering the intricacies of various cultures left untouched by any textbook you have read. Surprisingly, I have found that nine out of ten people I meet have a book inside them, filled with stories that are well worth telling, just like you.

While I exit the first quarter of my 60th annual orbit around the sun, let me pass on a few pointers for CEOs publishing their first book during a pandemic, nonetheless. After all, I have been there and done that. Who knows, this article could be the final nudge that may enable you to put pen-to-paper or fingers-to-keyboard. You may even be producing the world’s next best seller.

Your book idea, genre, goals

​When it comes to getting started, keep in mind that your brain is wired to easily think in lots of three. Guess it is because we can effortlessly remember three things at a time. Of course, it does not matter if you are going to be writing a Clancy-type fiction hit or a non-fiction best-selling book about your life or that of your long-lost relative.

Speaking of three, there are three things to consider before you begin, pandemic or not. 

  1. Identify your book genre and book title. Your book could settle into a genre or two. It is up to you to determine its genre or direction of your work. As for titles, catchy short phrases work best. If your title is longer, you may want to consider a short title followed by a longer subtitle. I am totally biased here, but I like two-word titles like, “On Parr.”
  2. Know your reader.  Write as though you are speaking to the person who will be attracted to your book title and content. Establish a relationship with the reader through your work. They will get to know you and visualize, feel, and experience the messages you develop via your manuscript.
  3. Set goals to include the number of hours you will write each day along with the deadline when your manuscript will be complete. Make sure they are measurable, reasonable, and attainable. If you are a CEO or senior leader of an organization, you are most likely a Type-A personality so setting goals (and attaining them) is nothing new for you.

Research, accuracy, and clarity

​As you begin to pen your thoughts there are three rules I employed when writing the second edition of my upcoming release (“On Parr”) and my current work, both which are non-fiction.

  1. Time is so important to each of us during our daily lives so go the extra mile by doing your research rather than merely writing what might be interpreted as a waste of a reader’s time. Bore your reader or seemingly waste their time and you are sure to lose both your reader and your credibility.
  2. If even a moment of hesitation crosses your mind when you are writing, good chance a reader will also doubt your written word. Fact checks of your written work produce succinct and accurate takeaways and lessons learned for the reader’s benefit. That is how you build a following and readership for any follow-on books.
  3. Write like you speak. Make your sentences clear, crisp and to the point ensuring the reader grasps the message you are passing along.  Good chance you will keep your reader wanting more.

Make the Most of the Zoom App

If your manuscript will include interviews, I highly recommend the following technique: get permission from your interviewees to record your “Zoom” meetings on a hand-held digital recorder in addition to the actual “Zoom” App recordings. Then upload the resulting MP4 file into the online transcription app otter.ai (there are a host of apps available). Voila! Within 30 minutes, you will receive an email containing a transcribed version of your “Zoom” meeting to use in formulating your manuscript.  ​

Writing a book is an enormous undertaking and should not be taken lightly. Covid or not, the time to get started may be now! Get ready, get set, get writing. You will be happy you did and so will the readers with whom you will be sharing your expertise!

Written by Ken Murray.

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Ken Murray
ken-murray is an Author of “On Parr” and Ghostwriter. On Parr is a story of hope, resolve, and Col. Ralph Parr’s ability to persevere when faced with unrelenting odds. During his 34-year U.S. Air Force career, Col. Ralph Parr was awarded more than 60 U.S. and foreign decorations, including 41 Air Medals. Through his five deployments spanning three wars, he pushed every aircraft he flew to its limit. The book will be available for purchase May 2021.

Books by Ken Murray:
On Parr: The Stunning Combat Missions of American Fighter Ace, Colonel Ralph Parr.

Ken Murray is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow him on LinkedIn.