How I Wrote a Book

This month I released my book on branding “Build Great Brands”. It’s available on Amazon.

Here’s the synopsis below

Great companies have great brands. In fact, the two go hand in hand. Build Great Brands is a book dedicated to helping the multitude of organisations and businesses in search of greatness and explosive growth by helping you unlock the power of brand. Brands don’t just happen. They must be intentionally, authentically and practically built from the inside out. Build Great Brands is the perfect DIY manual to get you and your business started.

I thought I’d take the opportunity to answer the 2 questions I get asked the most

1. How long did it take?

The book took 12 months from start to finish.

2. What was the process?

Here are some thoughts from my process that may help you if you’re considering writing at any point:

I defined the audience: Small to medium business owners, marketing managers and business development managers. These people drive growth within a business and I believe brand is a key to unlocking explosive growth.

I defined the goal for the book: To help the reader form a strong foundation on what brand is, why it’s important and how it can be applied it to their organisation in a way that enables them to unlock growth.

I interviewed this audience: Using email surveys, focus groups and individual catch ups, I set out to understand what the audience would want to read in a book like this. My conclusions from those discussions were:

  • It had to be practical
  • I needed to educate on what brand is before I talked about how to get the most out of it
  • Worksheets and exercises would be valued
  • It had to be short (under 20,000 words) so no waffling (audience is time poor)
  • They wanted to know my secrets, not just the basics

I mind mapped: Using this as a brainstorm tool, I spent time trolling through old notes, reports, writings and musings to mind map everything I wanted to say on the topic. I grouped the concepts that connected and slowly began to form what would be my chapter headings. I then sent this back to the people I’d interviewed and asked for feedback on what they’d love to read about – This was really helpful and surprised me.


found an editor: Using an editor was the best decision I ever made. He kept me accountable to my audience, my goal and my conclusions for the book.  He forced me to be more succinct, to say more with less and to keep a natural flow throughout the book.

I created a structured writing program: At this point, I had a pretty clear outline of what I wanted to write about (the contents page).  I created a writing program to tackle each chapter and sub chapter, one at a time.  Starting with dot points to help me form an overall picture, I then filled in the blanks and expanded these dot points into sentences.

Inserting diagrams and stories: Reading through the book start to finish helped me see where my diagrams, anecdotes and case study examples needed to be inserted.

went shopping: With a designer, we printed the top 50 book covers in the business category and analysed each including what we liked, what we didn’t, what they communicated well etc…This helped us form a brief for what our book would look like

The book is now available on Amazon.Enjoy.


  • Alexander Rengel  

    Thanks for sharing, I had no idea the process involved in going from concept to paper. Looking forward to getting my hands on a copy.

    • john  

      Hi Alex,
      I’m a big believer that great process leads to great outcomes – but I guess we’ll have to wait and see in regards to the book 🙂

  • Karli  

    Hey John
    This is great! Cant wait to get my hands on this and read it.
    Have you thought of sending a few copies of your books to University Advertising Co-ordinators?
    I know my Co-ordinator is always looking for easy to read practical books that really help students understand brands and how to manage and develop great ones.

    • john  

      Hi Karli, thanks for the tip – we’ll do that for sure 🙂

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