Tips, Tricks and How a Book Can Help You
Writing a how-to business book or CEO memoir has become a recognized tool for marketing yourself and your business. It’s a great way to stand out from the competition, establish your expertise and share helpful information with the public. Plus, it can introduce you to a vast new audience of potential customers.
I discovered this almost by accident a few years after launching EMSI Public Relations in 1990. I noticed it was much easier to get clients on as talk show guests if they’d written a book — even when their credentials were otherwise very similar to other clients.
After exploring the reasons, I realized just about anyone with the right message can write a book and use it to boost their visibility, not just business owners. Professionals such as doctors and lawyers can do it; people interested in securing public speaking engagements or hosting seminars; those supporting charitable causes; homemakers who turn their books themselves into a business.
That’s when I wrote my own book, Celebritize Yourself, which explains my three-step process for developing and using a book to get publicity.
Today, more than 11,000 business books alone are published each year – and that doesn’t include self-published e-books, according to the authors of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time.
“Whether you’re using your book to generate media, speaking opportunities, new customers, or simply positioning you as the expert in your industry, your book is the most powerful marketing tool in your arsenal,” says Adam Witty, CEO of Advantage Media Group, an international publisher dedicated to entrepreneurs, business leaders and professional speakers.
“When you consider that the average book sells less than 2,000 copies, getting rich off of book sales becomes a far away fantasy. But if you use your book to get a feature in your industry trade journal, what is that worth? If your typical customer is worth $5,000, and you use your book to attract and generate new leads into your business, how much more valuable does your book become?”
You don’t have to be a great writer to produce a great book. But, as New York Times best-selling author Michael Levin, CEO of Business Ghost, Inc., explains, you do need to make sure the end product is clean and professional.
“You wouldn’t walk into a sales call with a stain on your shirt, and it’s the same with a book,” he says. “People may not be able to judge whether the writing is as good as William Shakespeare, but they sure can spot typos. The last thing you want to do is publish a book that gives people the impression you’re sloppy and not detail-oriented.”
If you don’t have the time or skill to tackle a book on your own, you can hire someone to put your ideas into words. Every level of collaboration is possible, from co-writing, to working with an editor for that professional polish, to hiring someone to do almost all of the work for you.
Levin offers these tips for selecting a ghostwriter:
- Make sure ghostwriting is their primary business. Many writers list ghostwriting as one of the services they provide, but if you dig deep, you may find that they have never written a book or have only written a few. Don’t let them learn how to write a book on your dime!
- Read the blurbs on the ghostwriter’s website. Are they from famous people, top business leaders, celebrities, and the like? Or is there a run-of-the-mill feeling to the testimonials? Or worse, are there no testimonials at all?
- Contact at least three prior book clients of the ghostwriter. If the ghostwriter isn’t willing or able to give you three names of satisfied customers, game over.
Now that you’ve got your book, the next step is publishing it. While e-books are an inexpensive self-publishing option, if you’re using your book as a marketing tool, it’s best to get printed copies.
“There is no right or wrong way to publish a book. As an author, you simply need to determine which publishing model best helps you reach your goals,” says Witty of Advantage Media.
He offers these ideas to consider when making a decision:
- Ownership of rights and intellectual property: If you plan to re-purpose the content of your book into articles, blog posts or other products like home study kits, ensure your contract gives you that freedom. Typically, traditional publishing contracts don’t; self publishing or working with co-publishers (where the publisher and author or investor share expenses) oftentimes do.
- Speed to market: How quickly do you want your book to be published? With self publishing, it is really a matter of how fast you work! The traditional publishing process can take the better part of two years. Co-publishing options often turn a book around in three to six months.
Will you make 2013 the year you write and publish your book? Yes, the idea can be daunting, but as I’ve pointed out, a book is marketing gold. And there are even greater rewards.
Having written and published my own, I can tell you it was one of my proudest accomplishments and worth every bit of my time and effort. The greatest feeling – one I never anticipated – was hearing from readers who said that my book had made a difference in their lives.