The problem with your half-assed quickie book

It takes hundreds of hours to build a quality business book. It only takes a few hours to pull together a quickie book and post it on Amazon. Why not save all that time and effort?

What’s wrong with a cutting a few corners? After all, you could be a “published author” in less than a month.

The only problem with this is that it advertises to the world: this so-called author is just checking a box, they’re not serious, and you shouldn’t expect quality work from them.

Telltale signs of the half-assed quickie book

Frankly, every potential reader can spot your half-assed quickie book a mile away. But so you can make sure you’re not mistaken for that kind of author, here’s a short list of telltale signs that an author isn’t serious.

  • It’s self-published by Amazon, or the publisher has no other books, or the other books are a strange mix of memoirs of unknown people, sci-fi novels, and children’s books.
  • The book has a cover that appears to be designed by a first-year design student.
  • The margins are symmetrical and too small.
  • The body text is sans-serif.
  • It’s less than 120 pages long.
  • The graphics, if any, look like they were created in PowerPoint.
  • There are no case studies.
  • It includes no original statistics or data.
  • It’s based on ideas that have already been published by other authors.
  • It has less than 20 reviews on Amazon.
  • The table of contents is missing, or poorly organized.
  • It’s full of typos.
  • There is no index.
  • There is no ebook.
  • There is no audiobook.

One or two of these flaws aren’t a problem. There are plenty of excellent self-published books, for example. But taken together these qualities are telling the reader “this author just wanted to get a book out, quality be damned.”

Why you shouldn’t publish a book like this

Hey, it’s better to have written a book than to have none, right?


Think ahead. Think about what happens a little later in your career, when you are a senior executive in a growing company, or are earning seven figures from speeches and consulting.

Do you still want that half-assed quickie book floating around telling people you used to be a corner-cutting hack?

Do you think a traditional publisher considering publishing your next serious book will be impressed, or appalled, by the crappy book you published earlier?

Do you want your critics — and all serious thinkers have critics — to be waving this book around and citing it as an example of what a hack you are?

Half-assed books generate half-assed benefits . . . until they turn into a liability.

Don’t publish that quickie book. Write a few blog posts or contributed articles instead. Those might actually build your reputation, rather than hanging around to damage it later in your career.

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  1. Great advice. I have delayed my writing to get my ducks in a row. I want to “Build a better business book” and not do anything half-assed!

  2. Good stuff, Josh. I wonder if you’d consider addressing another related trend we see often: the quickie blog/op ed/thought leadership essay? This quickly assembled content contains some of the characteristics of the quickie book you described, including typos, misspells, faulty logic and poor grammar. Would enjoy reading your take. Thank you!

  3. What if your “quickie” was a compilation of a series of connected blog posts, updated and corrected into a free ebook with new graphics? I freely admit it was an experiment to see how long it would take to create my first “book,” and it was only published on Apple Books (nearly 10 years ago!). Am I doomed?