November 16, 2010
Most likely, there are people better than you at what you want to do.
Let’s take that as fact. I don’t mean you’re not good enough. I’m assuming you’re good enough. You may even be great. But we all know people smarter than we are, people more accomplished than we are, and people who are better at what they do than we are. Now what. Given that you aren’t the best, what are you going to do? Are you going to give up or are you going to keep going.
There is a time to give up. If someone has written the book that says what you want to say in the way that you wanted to say it then perhaps it’s better for you to write a different book and let other people know about this other book that you like and respect.
I am frequently asked about doing a contract job for iPhone development. Often I immediately thought of someone who would be a much better choice. The specific problem domain was right up this other guy’s alley and I know he will produce great results for a much lower cost. Sometimes I’m that guy so I easily agree to do the work because it’s something I know quite a bit about. But often it’s somewhere in the middle. I look at the job and think “I could do a good job with that”. There may be people better than me and I still may be the best choice.
Sometime during the course of your book you’re going to have doubts. You’re going to read a blog post on your topic and think that the author of that post would be a much better choice to write your book than you are.
That might be true. But writing a blog post is not the same as writing a book. The other writer may not be interested in writing a book. They may be a great resource for you. They may make a great reviewer, source for a praise quote, or just someone you can bounce ideas off of.
Suppose they are writing a book on the same topic as you. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t write your book. Your book might be better. Their book might be better. Maybe the two books together make a great combined resource for people wanting to learn a particular technology.
You need to be the right person to write your book. You need to have the perspective, expertise, and experience. You need to be able to take the readers on a worthwhile journey that leaves them with greater powers. You shouldn’t worry if you’re not the only right person to write your book.