A New Way to Make Books

I've been doing a lot of work lately with Book In a Box, an innovative startup headquartered in Austin. There are a lot of things I like about this company (it's virtual, team members are valued based on what we do rather than the time we put in, there's a refreshingly honest and adult culture). What I like most, though, is the company's central premise: pretty much anybody can write a nonfiction book if they follow the Book In a Box Method.

The company's tagline is "Unlocking the world's wisdom." The founder believe that almost everyone has something they could and should share with the world. Accordingly, most of the authors I've worked with at Book In a Box are high-performing business people who want to write to a specific audience, although I have also worked on memoir (we don't do any fiction). I work with authors at the beginning of the writing process to build a structure for their books. This means I get to spend several hours getting inside the heads of fascinating people. It's like being in college while on speed. (Case in point: this week I'm working on an African-American woman's memoir, a strategy for software engineers to turbocharge their careers, and investing in wine.)

So what would you call what Book In a Box does? It's not ghost writing, it's not book packaging. BIAB is a new creature. We facilitate the creation of a book in the same way producers, songwriters, backup artists and sound engineers facilitate a Beyoncé hit. Yes, Beyoncé can sing, and yes, these people can write in their own voices. Beyoncé's producers make her songs happen, and Book in a Box makes books happen.

The company's founders have explained their system, which includes not only the creation of text but titling, cover design, marketing strategy and tactics, in -- surprise! -- a book. If you read this blog you probably feel you know how to write. Nevertheless, you might learn a thing or two, especially about marketing books. Check it out.