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Should you write a book? Writing a book is an appealing idea, and it’s true that becoming a published author can offer many benefits, from personal satisfaction to financial gain. But not every book becomes a best seller, especially those written by financial advisors. Before you sit down to pound out your opus, step back and evaluate whether writing a book makes sense for you and your financial advisory business.

Pros and cons of writing a financial book

Writing a book on finance or investing is a major undertaking, and advisors should carefully consider the pros and cons before jumping headfirst into such a big project.

Pros:

  • Increases your credibility with clients and prospects
  • Gives you a platform for sharing unique ideas about investing, financial planning or wealth management
  • Leads to media appearances and speaking engagements, increasing your visibility and name recognition, which can in turn lead to acquiring more clients
  • Allows you to check an item off of your “bucket list,” if becoming an author is a personal goal

Cons:

  • Is time-consuming – research, writing, editing and promotion will consume hours that you could spend serving clients or focusing on other business development activities
  • Can be expensive, especially if you hire a ghostwriter, editor or publicist to help
  • May offer little return on your investment, since there’s no guarantee that a book will sell or increase client acquisition

Questions to ask

Ask yourself these four questions to help decide if writing a book is right for you:

  1. Do I like to write? This should go without saying, but if you don’t enjoy writing, there are better ways to use your time and promote your business.
  2. Do I have the time and energy to write an entire book? You may like to write blog posts or short articles for financial publications, but a book is a different animal. A short non-fiction book runs about 50,000 words, and many are much longer. You may work for several hours a day for months just to produce a first draft.
  3. Am I passionate about my topic? If you’re bored by your topic, your readers will be too.
  4. Do I have something unique to say, or a fresh way to deliver old information? Hundreds of financial books crowd the shelves. Yours will get lost unless you offer something truly different. Consider Carl Richards, who discusses fairly simple financial concepts in The Behavior Gap, but uses his knack for storytelling and clever Sharpie-on-a-napkin sketches to make his book appealing.