Every book requires an investment, in fact a very large one. So a good exercise before starting on a book project is to calculate your return on investment. What are you going to get back from everything you put in?
I like marketing guru Michael Port’s way of looking at it: You have to figure out your financial, emotional, physical, and spiritual return on writing. He calls it your FEPS ROI. For starters, how much money will you get back? Then, how will it make you feel emotionally and physically? And of course, how will it serve your purpose?
You can’t actually put numbers to all these things. But you should put them all into your mental ROI equation. You want to feel comfortable that you’re going to get a good return, given the time, money, stress, and sacrifice of doing a book. In the process, the investment variables you examine will clarify goals and directions for your book. This has the added benefit of being a huge time saver as you choose what to—and not to—include in the book.
Port’s acronym is FEPS ROI, and it is a good one for anyone. But you could also create your own. Along with (or instead of) the F, E, P, and S, you might use other letters—Career, Reputation, Networking, Credibility, and so on.
Whatever your acronym, spell it out on paper, and keep a record throughout your book project. The variables you include, and the return you’re shooting for, will keep you straight on the path to delivering the right book—structuring the right argument and choosing the right examples—and one you feel returns dividends for years to come.