June 28, 2011


your name hereHow many chickens does it take to cross the road to change a light bulb? That's not quite right. Here's the real question: How many authors does it take to write a book? The answer isn't funny but includes Ken Blanchard, Jack Canfield and Stephen Covey.

Your Expertise

Writing helps establish whether your ideas have value. Blogging lets you share your thoughts instantly for free.

A book hikes credibility, especially when printed by a well-regarded publisher. Books might also bring in revenue. The only problem is doing the writing.

Collateral Damage

A pre-written, pre-packaged book looks like a convenient shortcut. What's the downside?

In school, taking credit for something you didn't do was called plagiarism. Now it's called outsourcing. We use routinely use templates. For instance, in Microsoft Office templates save you time and mistakes. In exchange, you lose flexibility and control. For instance, this blog uses a standard template that my web designer customized. Yet all the content is mine.

Why "reinvent the wheel"? Reinvention leads to improvements, a better mousetrap (and smarter mice). Unless there's not enough difference, there's no point shipping. That applies to books too.


These days, Google reveals secrets fast. How did I find out about the fill-in-the-blank authors? A ho-hum speaker was selling a book she co-wrote with Stephen Covey and the rest. This puzzled me. We're judged by the company we keep. Why would Covey associate with this so-so speaker? He'd get money but risk losing reputation.

I went online for reviews and found the same title but now the no-name author was a man!?! I did more searching and started seeing the insert-your-picture-here pattern.
Speaking Of Success with Blanchard, Canfield and Covey: one book? (click to enlarge)Click to see for yourself. Names of the insert-name-here authors masked.

Outrageous! How would you feel if you paid $20 for this title?

Loss of Trust

Even if each book is materially different, how do you set yourself apart by mimicking your competitors? You certainly won't get an "A" for originality. Once discovered, will you get a premium for your products or services?

Do you trust a fill-in-the-blank author? Do you still trust the name-brand authors? We're judged by the company we keep. What are you doing that might deceive others?


PS If you're going to use a pre-written book, at least change the title and cover.

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