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Adviser Workshop: How to write a book on financial planning

Nicola Down and Keith Churchouse explain how they made their first forays into publishing.

Adviser Workshop: How to write a book on financial planning

Nicola Downs (pictured above) and Keith Churchouse explain how they made their first forays into publishing.

Nicola Downs

Director, Trentham Invest

My book, Your Final Salary Pension Options: The truth behind the myth, took several years from conception to completion.

Write it out loud

Getting the information out of your head and written down is hard work. My best method of communication is talking, so I dictated it to get a first draft out. That makes it much easier to make annotations and pick holes in a draft. I paid a company called 90-Minute Books to interview me. Once I had hired someone to interview me, it took around six weeks.

I employed graphic designers The Creative Team to create illustrations for the case studies in the book.

Keep it brief

I am a strategic coach for the 10x Ambition Program, through which participants learn skills to achieve their goals. I used one of its tools called an impact filter to establish the chapters.

Part of the tool asks: ‘at the end of this project, what must be true?’ I listed what I wanted it to achieve and what I wanted to communicate with it. That helped me to set out the chapters.

Statistics show people usually only read around 50 pages of a book before giving up on it, so I kept this book short. If you can read something in half an hour, there is more likely to be some tangible byproduct from it, i.e. you may take some action. If the book is so big it puts people off even opening it, you will not be very successful.

I am planning a new book now about the myths of investing.

Top tip: Keep your book to a half-an-hour read.

Keith Churchouse

Director, Chapters Financial

It is important the book you are writing is relevant to the period of time in which you are writing it. It gives your book a shorter shelf life but makes it more topical. If you do not do that, it risks becoming a very dry technical book.

Share your personality

Financial planning can be quite a dry topic but the general public want a good read. So add flavour, colour or whatever you want to call it.

I wrote my first book, Sign Here, Here and Here! about my first 25 years in financial services back in 2010. What we do for a living is marvellous. It is a real honour to share in people’s lives. In the book I detail some of the most interesting, and bizarre, tales from visiting clients.

I looked at some of the sales techniques used in that period, which have been interesting to say the least.

Think big

If you decide to write a book, treat it like a business. Get an ISBN and a price and register it with the British Library. If you are successful, you want to be proud of it both now and in five years’ time, and it might be a revenue earner.

If your book is really good, do not just restrict it to English. Think about where else in the world it could be sold.

Top tip: People do not want a technical book. Put some emotion and style into it.

What Twitter thinks

Warren Shute

Director, Lexington Wealth Management

I really enjoyed writing my new book, The Money Plan [due for release in December]. It is not often you will hear that.

It allowed me to put my best ideas down on paper. When I read it back, I still enjoy it!

Chris Budd

Managing director, Ovation Finance

Only write a book if you have something new to say. It is a lot of work and expense, and is only worth doing if you have an original idea.

If you do not have anything particularly original to say but want to get something out, that is fine. But it will just be a glorified business card.

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