#WednesdayWisdom: Lucy McCarraher

#FounderFriday: Caroline van Velze
7th March 2019
Female Angels | Money Raised | Ep. 4
14th March 2019

It’s Wednesday and the wisdom we’ll be bringing you today is all about the publishing industry. Author of 12 books, co-founder of publisher Rethink Press and Publish Mentor for Dent global and their Key Person of Influence programme: Lucy McCarraher will share her business secrets with you today.

Could you please introduce yourself and the Business Book Awards?

I’m Lucy McCarraher, I’m the author of 12 books: three novels, four self-help books and five on books and writing. In 2011, I co-founded Rethink Press, a hybrid publisher of business books, and I’m the Publish Mentor for Dent Global and their Key Person of Influence program. Through both of these I’ve mentored hundreds of entrepreneur authors through writing and publishing their books. In 2017 I founded the Business Book Awards to recognize and celebrate the work of authors who have shared their industry or market knowledge, experience and expertise in published book form.

The global business book market is growing faster than ever before, with millions of titles being sold in the UK every year. While a selection of the big names of big business continues to publish high profile books, it is entrepreneurs – the founders and owners of burgeoning small businesses – and other experts who are writing books in ever greater numbers. Readers of business and self-development books have a growing choice of titles, as authors who might not have been offered contracts by traditional publishers (once a barrier to entering the publishing market) are now easily able to self-publish their works or use the services of hybrid publishers to produce and distribute their books in print, e-book and audio formats.

The Business Book Awards highlight the quality and variety of business books in the market. They offer industry-wide recognition to new and established authors writing on a multiplicity of subjects for a diverse readership, with no barriers to entry; we welcome entries from publishers and all authors published in the UK.

Why are women still are underrepresented in business and business books?

For the inaugural Awards, I picked a Judging Panel of ten female and ten male authors, publishers and business experts. Head Judge Alison Jones and I (both women, obviously) formulated the entry categories and rigorous judging criteria, all of which we thought were balanced and fair. Our judges did a sterling job assessing the 150 books entered, they followed the process with insight and integrity.

Our category winners, the winner of an additional Judges’ Choice Award, and the winner of the overall Business Book of the Year Award were all experts in their field and great writers; their books were top quality. Every single one of our eleven Award winners, including three co-authored books, was a white man.

After the Awards, I tracked back: of the 150 entries, only one third were from women authors; slightly less than a third of female-authored books had made it to the category short lists and none to the list of winners. At Rethink Press, authors approach us to publish their business and self-development books; we don’t commission or seek out authors, so there is no mediation of types of book or author we publish. I’d assumed we published roughly equal amounts of men and women authors – but when I analyzed our list, it was about one third female to two-thirds male.

Why were so many fewer women than men writing books about their knowledge, experience and expertise in their market, business or sector, I wondered. I did a survey and interviews with over fifty women authors of business books and have written up the results in a book – A Book of One’s Own – a manifesto for women to share their expertise and make a difference, launching on 8th March, International Women’s Day. Their responses about writing their books corresponded to other research on why fewer women than men start their own businesses and can be summed up as The Six Cs:

  1. Confidence – women have less confidence than men in their own abilities
  2. Criticism – women are fearful of judgement and criticism
  3. Caring – women have to factor in caring responsibilities and feel selfish taking time out to write their book
  4. Cash – they are more risk averse and worry about investing time and money in book-writing and publishing
  5. Credibility – women lack credibility with external organizations like funders and publishers due to unconscious bias (the stats are shocking!)
  6. The Club – women lack the role models, mentors and networks that men automatically have access to. They don’t know where to get support and are nervous of ‘putting themselves out there’.

Why is it important for female business experts to write books?

If this is the case, then ironically, writing and publishing their own book could be of particular benefit to women entrepreneurs: it confers an external authority and consolidates an internal confidence; it creates valuable intellectual property for their business; and acts as a selling point for the company, the brand and the author themselves. Entrepreneurs who are the authors of good books increase their client base, raise their fees, get industry speaking gigs and gain more attention from the media. Women are reluctant to ‘put themselves out there’ – what is considered admirable self-confidence in a man comes across as abrasive and pushy in a woman. A business book will go out into the world and promote its author, rather than a woman having to feel uncomfortable promoting herself. Women in business can profit from all of these outcomes, perhaps even more than men.

What’s more, authorship of a book is a gender-neutral way of gaining its author respect and authority – woman or man, being the author of a published book brings huge kudos. And every additional woman who publishes their book adds to the sum of respect for women and girls more broadly.

What does the future hold for you and the Business Book Awards?

The Business Book Awards have taken off remarkably quickly and have already gained their place in the business book publishing calendar. After the inaugural event, they became known as ‘the Business Book Oscars’. We’re looking to go from strength to strength after the second Awards event on March 26th, and will be partnering with a big name sponsor and more individual awards sponsors for year three.

Alongside fronting the Business Book Awards and running Rethink Press, I’ve launched A Book of One’s Own on March 8th (International Women’s Day) and my mission is to promote ABOO Circles – safe spaces, writing and mentoring groups for women in business to plan and write their books in a supported way.

What’s your best advice for our members? 

Writing your book is one of the most important things you can do to develop yourself, your brand and your business (all my 50 ABOO authors said so) – it’s a game-changer.

Planning and writing a book will bring you clarity, confidence and credibility. It’s neither a selfish nor an arrogant thing to do – you are an expert in your field and there are people in your market who want and need your insights and experience. Not only that, but your colleagues and family will benefit from and be proud of your book and you as a published author.

The more female published authors there are in all areas (including STEM), the more respect develops for women in general. The more awards women authors win, the more we are seen as credible and competent.

As a starting point, contact me at www.abookofonesown.co.uk , or join the ‘ABOO – A Book of One’s Own’ Facebook page to join other aspiring and inspiring women at all stages of their book journey. https://www.facebook.com/groups/ABOOCircles/

If you’ve had, or will have a book published in 2019, make sure you enter it for the Business Book Awards 2020 when bookings open next October. www.businessbookawards.co.uk