Publishing a Business Book? Make Sure It Looks as Smart as You
I’ve said it before and I’ve done it myself:
If you’re a professional or business person, writing a book that shows off your expertise is a wonderful way to market your service or product. It sets you apart from your competition and readers will view you as a respected authority on your topic. Include your contact information in the book, and they may become your next client or customer!
The beauty of this strategy is that it has become easy for anyone to publish and distribute a book. And today, the book that you publish yourself can look just as appealing as one produced by a big publishing house.
That’s important. Your book represents you; if the final product looks like the work of an amateur, well …
Quick story. Knowing how crucial a book’s appearance is, when I got down to the business of publishing Celebritize Yourself, I got professionals involved. But, while the cover designer was very good, I rejected his drafts over and over again because he kept coming up with Hollywood images of red carpets and movie stars.
It was clear he’d never read the first sentence of my book: “Celebritizing Yourself is about branding yourself as an expert.” A few pages later, I spell it out: “When I use the word ‘celebrity’ throughout this book, think about someone entirely different than the mega stars, tabloid seekers or the 15-minute celebrity. Our celebrity … (is) someone with expert knowledge …”
Thanks to my background, I knew what to watch for. But it would have been a lot easier and less stressful if I’d had someone like Ellen Reid of Ellen Reid’s Book Shepherding (INDIEBOOKEXPERT.COM) helping me.
As her business name suggests, Ellen shepherds writers through the publishing process. She reads their manuscripts then puts together a creative team of designers, copywriters, etc., for that book. Together they determine the appropriate marketplaces for the book, how it should be positioned, the cover design, and everything from the paper the pages are printed on to the words in the subtitle to the back cover copy.
Ellen knows exactly what it takes to make a book look, feel and read like a bestseller, and she does it without fail.
If you’re considering writing a book as a marketing tool for your business, take some advice from Ellen. These tips will help ensure your finished book is the best it can be, and maybe save you money along the way.
- Create your own publishing company. “This is much easier than it sounds!” Ellen says. Create a “doing business as” name like Blue Sky Publishing or Apple Pie Press. Don’t use your own name, which just doesn’t carry the same panache. (Check to see if your state requires you to register your dba as a fictitious name.) Open a checking account in your dba name to keep track of expenses and profits for tax purposes, and you’re ready to go. Having your own publishing company gives you complete control over your book.
- Get your own ISBN. “Your ISBN is your book’s Social Security number,” Ellen says. You can obtain your own ISBN from the U.S. ISBN Agency (isbn.org).
- Hire professionals for editing, design, etc. “If you are not a skilled, professional editor, designer, etc., don’t try to do these jobs yourself. It will definitely show in your final product,” Ellen says. “If you plan to oversee the process yourself, it’s critical to have an eye for what looks good and what doesn’t.”
- DON’T use “by” before your name on the cover. It’s a dead giveaway, Ellen says. “The big publishers never use ‘by,’ just your name – big enough for everyone to see.”
Having a book as a marketing tool is invaluable, but only if the finished product has a polished, appealing look. As Ellen points out, most writers know little about book production – it’s a technical process.
But, as Ellen also points out, this is a wonderful time to publish. You can have full creative control, keep your royalties, still get into bookstore distribution and have a product as beautiful as the ones produced by traditional publishing houses.
So go forth and write!
Marsha Friedman launched EMS Incorporated in 1990. Her firm represents corporations and experts in a wide array of fields such as business, health, food, lifestyle, politics, finance, law, sports and entertainment. She consults individuals and businesses on a daily basis and is frequently asked to speak at conferences about how to harness the power of publicity.