So You’ve Written A Book

I was speaking with a friend recently and acim writing her fourth book. She’s not a great writer and she addresses only one topic but she self-publishes, which guarantees that as long as she has the money to print them, her books will always be available. She sells a few copies, mostly to people who know her and share an interest in her topic. I laughed and said that I’ll never write a book. And yet…

Writing a business book can be good business for Solopreneurs and all organization leaders. If the book is reasonably well-written, it can become a powerful self- marketing tool that confers to the author an assumption of expertise and leadership ability that can pay dividends for the duration of one’s career. A business book has the potential to define and enhance your personal brand, get you invited to give interviews and best of all, generate leads that bring in more business.

You might assume that writing a book is an all-consuming process and my (scant) experience as a book editor causes me to agree. If budget allows, consider hiring a ghost writer, who will interview you and put your insights and anecdotes on paper. Otherwise, expect to work enormously hard as you copiously research, outline and write your manuscript.

Successful authors often recommend that first-timers approach their proposed book as they would a new business launch. Prepare to spend a few thousand dollars to self-publish, because unless you have a national or very strong local reputation, no traditional publishing house will sign you. Brace yourself for low sales and expect to buy dozens of copies of the book yourself and give signed copies to good friends, family members and clients. Here are a few suggestions that will help you to evaluate the decision to become an author:

Your biggest challenge may be choosing the subject. Content matters and authors are advised to have something relevant to say to potential readers. Choose a subject that is personally fulfilling, one you will not mind speaking about regularly, because to promote the book that subject will be discussed ad nauseum. When using the book to get yourself speaking engagements, that topic will be the center of your talk. Basic options for your theme include:

  • A creation story, an inspirational memoir that details how you either overcame adversity or bounced along on good fortune and quick wit and used your competitive advantages to launch and sustain a successful enterprise. The first approach is sincere and compelling, the second ought to be humorous and fun.
  • A how-to book shares your unique expertise and shows readers how they can become better marketers, sales people, financial managers, Entrepreneurs — you get the idea.

As noted, you will self-publish your book. Hire a content editor to eliminate continuity errors in the narrative; a proofreader to ensure correct spelling and grammar; a book designer to place text onto the pages, perform graphics work and design your book covers and spine; and a professional photographer and make-up artist to ensure that you look fabulous in your book photo. Most self-publishing houses offer these services at additional costs, but you may be better off hiring a team of independents whose loyalty will belong to you.

Develop a comprehensive marketing plan that will get your book noticed and validated. Consider hiring a literary PR specialist, if you have the budget. Create a website and Facebook page for your book and film a podcast that features you speaking about the book. Contact the local access cable station and inquire about you appearing on a program that features segments about local business people; ditto for local radio stations (think Sunday morning radio). Send a press release to local newspapers and magazines to announce the book and propose yourself as an interview subject.

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