Help me write my first book

About a week ago, I was approached by an editor with a major publishing house here in the U.S. He was commenting on my Saved By the Bell post from two weeks ago. “Great post,” he said. “Ever think about writing a book?”

Those words stopped me.

Now, I consider myself a writer. No question. First and foremost, I’ve always considered myself a writer. A thinker. But, to write a book? That’s a whole different can or worms. And something I never thought I’d even remotely have the chance to do (even with self-publishing).

The bigger question: What would I write about? Rephrase: What would I write about that would inspire even ONE person in a bookstore to pick the book off the shelf and say, “I just HAVE to read this.”

I’m still struggling to come up with the answer to that question. Which is why I’m writing this post.

I need your help.

If you’re a regular or sporadic reader of this blog, or if you’re someone that knows me personally, what topics would you like to hear about from me? Moreover, what topics do you believe I’m qualified to talk about?

There’s no shortage of book selections in the PR/marketing/social media world right now (my favorites lately have been The Now Revolution and Switch, even though it’s not technically a marketing book), which is why if I did do this, I’d want it to be something that’s unique. Different. And substantial. Something that really hasn’t been talked about or written before (at least not ad naseum). After all, there is no shortage of people who are smarter than me who can write on the exact same topics I’d most likely write about.

I have a few ideas of my own, obviously, but your input and feedback would mean a lot to me. Please share your thoughts in the comments–who knows, I may end up asking you to write the damn thing with me ūüėČ Or, I may just decide I don’t have enough to say.

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37 comments on “Help me write my first book

  1. Anonymous says:

    Truthfully, I’d love to hear about the struggles, triumphs and personal stories that come with being a dedicated family man while also trying to start your own business. What is that like, how has your family had to adjust, do you worry about the long term effects, or has being independent afforded you more opportunity to spend time with family? The posts that you’ve written that have been the most personal for me have been the most interesting/powerful. I think others might agree. Please, for the love of god, don’t do another PR/SM book.

  2. Krista says:

    I agree with Jason, there’s no need for another social media or PR book chock-full of catch phrases and buzz words. But rather, maybe you can tell your story about building an online community and vicariously touch on social media that way? I like that you are active in community building, like founding HAPPO and creating a movement around that. I’d be more interested in reading what it was like for you, as a person and professional, to go through the early stages, build your credibility, and eventually get to where you are today. I think that is a good inspirational story that can also demonstrate how community building is effective. Just my two cents ūüôā

  3. Arik Hanson says:

    Thanks for the input, Jay. That’s an interesting angle that I hadn’t considered. Do you think that’s worthy of a book though? Agree on the PR/SM front–hence the need for a truly unique angle. I don’t want to do this just to say I’ve written a book. I want something I can be proud of–something I can show my kids some day.

  4. Arik,
    I’d like to bring up what Krista mentioned with HAPPO. The initiative brought together PR pros from around the country to help fellow pros out. We hear all about the “me, me, me” mentality. But what about the “we” mentality. Think about what we can do collectively to move the industry and ourselves forward by working together.
    Just some thoughts…

  5. Heather R. Huhman says:

    Pinging off of Krista’s comment, I think a book about what it takes to go from student to running your own practice. I frequently include your posts in my #PRintern | #EntryPR LinkedIn group because of their value to young readers…and while this would certainly be a niche book, I think it’s one that would be extremely beneficial. You could tell not only your own story, but also the stories of many other successful communicators who got where they are today. And perhaps it doesn’t have to be as niche as this comment suggests…books about taking your career from college student to highly successful professional in general are sorely needed. Our young pros need idols/heroes!

    P.S. I’d be happy to contribute to such a book. ūüėČ

  6. Arik Hanson says:

    Like the idea, Heather. And thank you for sharing my posts regularly. You’ve been a huge part of the HAPPO community since its inception. I like the idea of a book about personal and professional growth–I certainly have a lot of passion around that. Thanks for the input!

  7. Arik Hanson says:

    Title idea: “The We Mentality.” Great idea, Jason. Yeah, I had a few ideas around HAPPO. I certainly have a lot of energy around that concept, and it’s a topic that’s off the beaten path a bit. And, I like the “me, me, me” to “we, we, we” angle.

  8. Arik Hanson says:

    Thanks for the input, Krista. And, for the kind words. I like the idea–just need to think more about how it would translate to book format. You and Jay have me thinking on that now…

  9. Anonymous says:

    I think you can weave in PR and SM aspects, maybe how you even use them in every day life, outside of business to build relationships that you’ll have for a long time, etc? I haven’t seen anyone do a “social media for life” book just yet (though maybe I just missed it), perhaps you can weave the whole thing together that way? “Life lessons from starting a business during the SM revolution.” Boom, done. ūüôā

  10. jlbraaten says:

    I agree with a lot of the other comments here, Arik. In reading your blog and getting to know you, I find I learn a lot about influencer outreach, community building and building relationships for PR. There are some books out there on related topics, but there doesn’t seem to be any that focus like a laser on just those aspects.

  11. I agree with Jason on this angle. I’d totally read that book. I’d be really interested in something that provides your perspective on tangible steps and advice for starting a business, specifically a successful one that’s based on PR/SM. What did you do on Day 1 of launching the business? How do you close the deal? How did you handle the financial uncertainty of stepping out on your own? What does a typical day look like? How did you know when it was time to quit the full time gig? What did you do part-time after work to set the stage for the business? If you combined your own stories plus interviews with others in the industry, you could have something unique and compelling, IMO.

  12. I’ll be happy with a co-author title. ūüėČ Excited for your opportunity, Arik. Full steam ahead!

  13. Arik Hanson says:

    Good input, Michelle. I really appreciate it. Giving more thought to that angle today–obviously, there’s a need there.

  14. Good for you Arik! Rock it.

  15. Arik,
    I’d like to echo Heather’s recommendation in connecting your ideas to students and young pros. You are a great example of someone who remembers where he came from. You recently highlighted up-and-coming Minnesota professionals. I’m sure there’s plenty of seasoned pros you could have applauded on their achievements, but instead you chose to create excitement for what this group has ahead of them.

    I know what it feels like to be included on such a list and I can say when you’re just starting out in the industry, it’s refreshing and reassuring to know you’re working your way along the right path. A lot of your insights relate to paying it forward, which is the basis of HAPPO, right? These are lessons people can learn from both professionally and personally. Look forward to hearing more!


  16. heatherrast says:

    How very exciting, Arik! I’m confident you’ll develop an idea that really needs exploring, and write a smashing book. Congratulations to you. Can I shake the author-to-be’s hand next week at Confab?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Arik very exciting! One of the most important stories I think you have already written (though perhaps yet put in writing… well in book form, anyway) is the story of how to use conversation to build relationships and community that yields business results. Communications Conversations… Lots of people talk, but you understand the art of conversation and how to evoke interest and passion and create tight-knit communities. The age of “broadcast” (one way) communication is over. And those who are looking to communicate must understand the art of conversation and how to inspire a community to champion your messages… Just a thought. Cannot wait to buy the book, but I do want a signed copy ūüôā

  18. Hdonato says:

    Wow…well let me first say Congratulations! Then…thanks for asking! I’ll give it some thought. I guess what I’ve liked about your advice is, to use Randy’s [Jackson’s] phrase, you always put priority on Keeping it Real. In social media, you don’t force people or impose structures on them..but find where they’re already present, where they’re already going, meet them there, and get behind them. Make it easier, more fun, or more valuable–but don’t try to force them into YOUR mold.

  19. Arik Hanson says:

    Thanks for the comment, Josh. I’m giving those some thought.

  20. Arik Hanson says:

    Thanks for the idea and the comment, Stephanie. I’m thinking about a few different HAPPO-related ideas. I try to do my part to “pay it forward.” That’s something I believe pretty strongly in. I guess that comes across…

  21. Arik Hanson says:

    Absolutely. Send me a note and we’ll definitely find time.

  22. Arik Hanson says:

    Thanks for the input, Valerie. I know I can always count on your for ideas. And, if (and that’s a big if) I write a book, you will be among the first to get a copy.

  23. Arik Hanson says:

    Thanks for the comment, Holly. Coming from a client and friend, that means a lot.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Hi Arik,
    Great to know your thinking of writing a book. Congrats While I’ve only been following your posts for a year I really feel you can share a lot around PR. While there are a lot that’s been said, the PR industry has gone through a change – not just because of Social Media but markets have changed, media, consumers etc have all changed. I haven’t seen any contemporary look at PR in a holistic manner from presentations , pitches, press releases, social media, media relations , blogger relations etc etc the list goes on. I guess Communications Conversations has covered a lot of these over the year I’ve been reading ( and more in the past ūüôā ) and your experience in present day PR could really come together in a book on New Age PR. Anyways that’s my 2 cents. Look forward to your book, in the end I’m sure it will be a great read with some good learnings.

  25. Arik Hanson says:

    Thanks, Heather!

  26. My suggestion to you is go read the manifesto, “Do the Work”. It’s a great piece about writing and attacking large projects head on, which is why I’ve been doing so much with B2B Voices.

  27. My suggestion to you is go read the manifesto, “Do the Work”. It’s a great piece about writing and attacking large projects head on, which is why I’ve been doing so much with B2B Voices.

  28. Arik Hanson says:

    Excellent. Looking on Amazon right now. Was just looking for a new book to dig in to. Nice timing.

  29. Can I also make a suggestion? I liked it when you talk about social media and its business and PR perspective. 

    Anyway, I am excited for that book to come into reality. I know that will be very soon. 

    Hats off to you,


  30. krilosky1 says:

    i would love to write a book on my life, very interesting reading. some of the things that happened to us as children are unbeleivable, my two sisters are very eager to help and gve their help.


  31. thebibleconsultant says:

    Looking to write a book on tithing. I’ve already given lesson on this topic publicly. Tithing is not what people believe it to be and 10% of money have nothing to do with tithing. I’m ready to write, publish and distribute the book. Can you help with this process?


    I am very interested in writting a book, and need help fast because u see I have breast cancer and I am running out of time! Could u please e-mail me at rhondakietzman@HOTMAIL .COM


    Some of my writings have been published in the Flint Journal, also won writer of the month!  Would appreciate help, For the processed would go to the breast cancer research!  Also help others, who suffer from mental disorders!

  34. dommocind says:

    A story, such as life, . ¬†There are those who say they have a normal life, great life, horrible life. ¬†This is story of my life. ¬†Sometimes i sit here and wonder how did i become 30 years old with a huge loving family and yet feel so alone. You ever wonder what went on in the past to set you on the path you travel now? ¬†I¬†didn’t¬†grow up in a stable house where I was in the same house same friends, the same one to fall in love with and be with for the rest of my life.¬†
    It all started at a very young age. ¬†Parents¬†separated¬†when i was about 6 years of age. ¬†I¬†didn’t¬†really know what was going on but all i knew was that i was moving to my grandparents and on my way to start another journey. ¬†Once at my loving grandparents things were great. ¬†we were¬†given¬†tons of love my grandfather taught me how to be a man about things and also taught me¬†discipline.¬†
    The Trouble had started when there was a custody battle between my Mother and Father.  Myself being the fourth child of 5 at the time felt that i had to be the strong one for my sister and brother.  
    As time went on we had to spend summer, some holidays at my fathers and t first it was fun and sad at the same time. ¬†Each time leaving my mother was heart breaking but we always new we would be back soon. Going to my fathers was fun because we knew he had loved us and we had fun¬†together¬†for about a whole two years. Once my father had met his now wife and her two children we kind have become strangers. ¬†When we visited it used to be full of fun but then it had turned into ‘ your mother this your mother that’… ¬†Very heart breaking… ¬†by the time i was 11 i brought into my fathers garage and was told that i need to be man and realize that my mother was taking his money ( that was to support us, ¬†my sister, brother and myself) and that she was in the worn. ¬†Could you imagine 11 year old boy being told that his mother was a horrible person… ¬†A mother that always told us our dad loved us and we should listen to him. ¬†When my¬†stepbother¬†and stepsister would get into trouble, myself, my brother and my sister would get punished as well. ( ¬†taken to the garage and¬†smaked¬†with a paddle, ¬†told to sit outside in 100 degree weather for hours with nothing but a hose to cool us down.¬†obvisoulsy¬†my father was on a different page.
    For the next few years each time i had to go visit my father i felt nothing but¬†hatered¬†and felt unwanted.. Ever since that first talk my father had with me in the garage at 11 was the year i would stealciggerettes, beers from the fried and smoked weed for the first time. ¬†Although i¬†didnt¬†do it daily but i now know that it was the wrong thing to do period. By 13 years of age i was stealing,¬†vandilizing,sneeking¬†out … you name i was doing it… ¬†not because i felt it was the thing to do but because i thought it was fun to do..
    Throughout all of this time mind you we were moving just about every school year mind you. ¬†Different school different friends different trouble. ¬†I was you average addict.. i played 17 years of baseball graduated¬†highschool¬†moved¬†hawaii¬†on my own and joined the navy for 4 years.. ¬†But the main drug of choice was booze…. ¬†
    This is just a¬†summarry¬†of a book i would like to write but i just¬†dont¬†know the words,¬†grammer¬†ad how to put each section of my¬†lif¬†into chapters….. ¬†Some people¬†sa¬†i should write a script or become come a comic because that is what they hear from me on the out side. ¬†Yes, i am the comic of the group and love to make people laugh when they are down and i think i have done that so much that they do not realize when I’m down… ¬†
    One question… ¬†how do you find someone to take your thoughts and turn them into a story or book??¬†
    Any insight, thanks 

  35. Jane Bennett says:

    I have a great idea for a book and it would also be great for a movie. The book idea is a very good one and I look forward to talking with you Arik. I really need to write this book and need your help.

  36. surrogatex4 says:

    Hello. I am a surrogate mother wanting to write a book on all my experiences. Ive had children for Actors that you see on a regular basis. Its not all good though. Surrogacy has a downside that no one wants to talk about. Well I do.