A Team Approach For Ad Agency Principals Who Want to Write A Book

A team approach can result in an excellent book that tells your agency’s story in a fresh yet authentic way.

Last month my client  Jim Patton and I finished writing the manuscript for his book, Life in the Turn Lane: A Story of Personal and Corporate Turnarounds and the Principles that Make Them Happen, which chronicles what he has learned personally and professionally throughout his career.

Jim Patton is a true American success story. He started out as a heating and air conditioning repairman, learned how to do mergers and acquisitions by reading The Wall Street Journal, and today he runs a firm that buys, fixes and sells distressed manufacturing companies throughout the world. One business publication has dubbed him the “billion-dollar repairman.”

Writing the book was a year-long process, and next week it will finally be released, so we’re both pretty excited to see the final product reach the marketplace.

Recently I was asked how someone else can write (or co-write) a person’s book–as opposed to just providing editing assistance–while retaining authenticity. It’s a good question.

Most ad agency principals have very busy schedules, and the thought of taking time to write a book can be a bit overwhelming. Plus, some people have a great deal of knowledge about a particular topic but don’t like to write and/or are not very good at it.

A good ghostwriter brings new thinking and perspective to a book. He or she should be able to pull information out of the executive, as well as work off of written documents (notes, presentations, articles, etc.) the executive may have about the subject matter.

The writer also should learn as much as possible about how the person thinks and speaks, and try to capture his or her personality on paper. It’s vital that the writer and executive work well together and have good chemistry.

The first step in the process is to jointly develop clear objectives for the book and create an outline of chapters. Once that’s completed, my approach is to supplement existing material with input from the executive through notes he or she puts together on each chapter. We then sit down together to flesh out details, fill in gaps and clarify or expand on a particular point.

With that information in hand, I’m ready to write a chapter draft. The executive edits the draft, and we go back and forth a few times to fine tune it. Then the process starts all over again with the next chapter.

You may also be interested in reading my article: Why Ad Agency Principals Should Consider Writing a Book

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.


Writing a Book Has Many Advantages for Ad Agency Principals

Having recently completed the manuscript for one of my clients, whose book is about his life story, I was again reminded of the many advantages to being a published author.

My client is a true American success story and I believe his book, Life in the Turn Lane, will inspire and motive many individuals who are discouraged and ready to give up, as well as provide practical advice to young executives seeking to advance in their careers.

But Life in the Turn Lane also highlights his expertise in the world of mergers and acquisitions, and how he got where he is today.

My client started out as a heating and air conditioning repairman, and he learned how to do mergers and acquisitions by reading The Wall Street Journal. No kidding.

After losing everything in his first major deal, he recovered and today is the founder of an international private investment firm that buys distressed manufacturing companies, turns them around and then sells them. Dubbed the “billion-dollar repairman” by one business publication, his never-give-up entrepreneurial spirit has paid off in a highly successful business career and financial independence.

Clients aren’t the only ones with interesting stories to tell. Last year I wrote a guest blog post titled “Why Ad Agency Principals Should Consider Writing a Book.”

At one time or another, I suspect just about every agency principal has toyed with the idea of writing a book. And with good reason.

Ad agency principals know a lot and have plenty of valuable insights worth sharing.

Those who dislike writing should not let that discourage them from pursuing a book, because there are some very talented ghost writers around to help. A good ghost writer will ask probing questions, serve as an objective sounding board and distill the essence of your thinking into clear, lively copy that keeps readers engaged.

Writing a book allows you to clarify your thoughts, get to the core of your message and discover the best way to convey important information.

It positions you as an expert, increases your visibility and helps market your agency. It also gives you material to use for your agency’s blog posts, Ezine articles and e-newsletters.

Finally, imagine how impressive it would be to conclude a new business presentation by giving prospects a signed copy of your new book.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.