Last week I wrote about the foundation of my “Celebritize Yourself” method for gaining visibility and credibility for your product or company. It involves establishing yourself as an expert in your field, which gives the media a reason to interview you.
And it all starts with a book – your book.
Writing a book is not as overwhelming a task as you might fear. In fact, book promotion is usually the bigger challenge. There are basically three types of books for this purpose: a story about your life and the lessons you’ve learned; a how-to that walks readers through solving a problem; and a novel that encompasses your message. All offer expertise of value to readers, whether you’re a financial adviser, an entrepreneur with a line of hot sauces or a day-care operator.
My friend Michael Levin, a New York Times best-selling author, renowned ghostwriter and founder of Businessghost.com, has written many of these books for clients. The easiest approach is the how-to, he says, because it’s straightforward, focused and doesn’t require the plot twists and suspense that keep readers tuned in to a narrative.
Whether you’ve already started your book – and given up on finishing it – or you’ve been procrastinating because you don’t know where to begin, here’s some expert advice for making this a no-sweat (okay, less sweat!) effort.
How To Start – Or Finish – Your ‘Celebritize’ Book
By Michael Levin
You started writing a book to use as a marketing tool, but either you haven’t had time to finish it or you finished the draft and you just aren’t happy with it.
Here’s a three-step plan to get the book off your hard drive and into the marketplace – or to get started in the first place.
Step 1: Recognize that authoring a book isn’t a game of perfect. People often freeze up when they realize that they’re going to have their name on a book. They’re afraid of being judged. They’re afraid of being criticized. They’re forgetting the main thing: Far more people will be incredibly impressed that you wrote a book than will criticize you because they disagreed with a point you made.
The bulk of the benefit your book confers on you is the status of authorship. At my company, we like to say that “When you’re the author, you’re the authority.” The mere fact that people saw your book on your website or saw you give an interview on TV is enough for them to contact you about doing business. If you write it, they will come. Even if they don’t read a word of it!
Step 2: Reread the manuscript with one question in mind: Does what I’m reading right now position me as the expert in my field? It’s not about bragging and telling the world how great you are. It’s about showing that you are an expert in your field. You do that by showing that you recognize the problems they face, because you’ve helped many other people with that same kind of problem.
Demonstrate that you have a proven process for serving your clients. Explain what you offer in clear, readily understandable terms. Have your book position you as the only real choice, without knocking or even mentioning the competition – because you know how to solve the reader’s key problems.
Step 3: Make sure the book is well-organized. When we ghostwrite books for our financial services and consulting clients, we have a structure that has proven extremely successful. You’re welcome to use it for your book. It works this way:
Chapter 1 – I Feel Your Pain. This is where you show the reader that you empathize, because you understand their problems more deeply than anyone else.
Chapter 2 – I Am The Solution. By now the reader is wondering, “Who is this person who understands me so well?” Here’s where you talk about yourself. What’s your story? How did you come to your field? What attracted you to solve these kinds of problems for people? What’s your training and track record? Offer them the promise of the book: that you will show the reader how to solve the problems discussed in Chapter 1 with your unique approach.
Chapter 3 – My Process. Lay out your step-by-step process in this chapter. The reader wants to know that you have a plan. Ideally, the reader could implement your plan without you, but many will say, “I could try this myself … but why not let the expert handle it?”
The next 8 to 10 chapters – Each of these chapters is one more step in your process, explained in detail, with lots of case histories showing, subtly, how terrific you are. Don’t be sales-y or self-serving. Just make the point through the stories you tell that you really know how to do this.
Final chapter – Call To Action. Write a three- or four-page final chapter in which you have readers prequalify themselves. Explain what kind of client you like to work with – what kinds of assets they have, what age or stage of life, whatever is your target market. This way you avoid getting a lot of calls from people who aren’t really good clients for you. And then explain to people exactly how to reach you, via phone, email, website…whatever. Make it easy for them to connect with you!
Follow this simple three-step plan and your book will be making money for you in no time!
I hope Michael’s guidance gives you what you need to get your book started – or finished. Remember, you can always hire a professional editor, copywriter or ghostwriter to fill in the gaps or give your final manuscript a nice final polish. (I heartily recommend the latter to any author.)
Once it’s ready, if you need help letting the media know you’re the new expert on the block, give us a call!
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