April 23, 2013


Workbook  cover - How To Earn Public Trust by Promod SharmaI’ve been planning to write a book on trust and perhaps others. I even have multi-page outlines and thousands of words written. But I’ve stalled. Maybe you have too?

Writing a book is a time-consuming process with  unclear results. You get to say you're an author but is that enough anymore?

Instead, consider writing a workbook that goes into a nice binder and gets used in a workshop you deliver.


You probably bought books you haven’t read. Contrast that with a workbook. You’re forced to read portions during the workshop. You’re encouraged to complete exercises and often participate in group discussions. The personalization makes the workbook yours. You’ve personalized it. You have a reason to keep it (even if you don’t refer to it as often as you planned).


If a book typically sells for $10 or $20, yours will too. It doesn’t matter how brilliant, well-expressed or life changing your ideas. Put that same content into a binder and now you have training. Your workbook can now sell for hundreds as part of your exclusive workshop.


click to readA “proper” book seems to run about 200 pages. An amateur’s book run might run 100 or less and have more white space to mask the paucity of content.

If your goal is to say you wrote a book, you save time if you make it short. You can then write more books. (If you don’t care about trust, you can pretend you’ve written Speaking Of Success with Ken Blanchard, Jack Canfield and Stephen Covey.)

Readers expect results from a workbook. They want quality without fluff. Shorter can actually be better. You can create a shorter initial workbook and continue to add content later.


By the time you publish a book, the content may already be stale. This is especially true of nonfiction books by major authors using traditional publishers: the gap between writing and publication gets measured in months.

In contrast, you can easily update your workbook whenever you want. You can tailor the content for different groups and different session lengths.

Ease of Creation

Writing a book feels daunting. You can’t ship it until everything is done. Observant readers don’t pardon mistakes easily. We expect perfection. You might take time learning to use a specialized app like Scrivener.

Writing a workbook is much easier. You can’t be sloppy but the expectations aren’t as high. Your workshop attendees can point out mistakes and make suggestions.

You can use Word (or another word processor) and work on the key sections first. The learning curve is small. You get professional results if you print on good quality paper with a laser printer. You can even print in colour.


A book is a time-consuming experiment that can easily fail. What’s the ROI on your efforts?

Publishing costs money. You need a proper editor and a cover designer. There are multiple steps in the creation of the master files for the paper book and ebook. You can outsource for a price but if you don’t have a reasonable understanding of the process, you might not get your money’s worth.


Books don’t sell themselves. You need to market them. The best way is to start before you write by gauging if there is demand. Seth Godin ran a Kickstarter campaign.

A workbook is often designed for a workshop. You know if there’s demand if you get an audience (free or paid). You can also test via webinars too. Your audience can become part of your marketing plan. They can give you testimonials.

The Last Step

If you start with a workbook, you can always write a book later. Now you have the structure and know what works with live audiences. You’re earning money along the path. If you start with a book, you don’t get these advantages.


PS Writing a blog helps you write a workbook.

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