Want to Write a Book? 4 Tips for Doing it Right
BY Marla Tabaka
If you want to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, there's no better way to begin than becoming an author. Here's how.
What convinces you to buy one product or service over the other? For me it's a combination of credibility, expertise, and quality. Oh yes, and price: I want to make sure that I'm getting a fair value. But I will pay more if I see proof of greater experience and expertise. The old adage, "you get what you pay for," is one I stand by.
As an entrepreneur it's important that you exude expertise and confidence, in person and in your marketing efforts. Whether you own a hot dog stand or you're a professional speaker, positioning yourself as a thought leader in your field is one sure-fire way to help future clients know, trust, and want to do business with you. And publishing a book can do just that. From the day your book arrives on shelves, you possess one of the best marketing and branding tools available.
"Most people think writing and publishing a book is a daunting task, but it's easier than you might think" says Cliff Suttle, Chief Excitement Officer (you know, CEO) at ExciteYourAudience.com. Suttle believes that too many people think (and think...and think) about writing a book, but never get to Page 1. "One of the most popular blocks to success is the fear that they don't have anything original to share," he says. "But nothing is further from the truth."
Create a Noteworthy Idea
It's time to set aside the myth that you have nothing original to share. "There are books on every subject imaginable, but you have a unique perspective to share with the world," Suttle says.
To find your book idea, make a list of everything you know about. Write, write, write and don't erase anything. You'll be amazed at how much you know. Don't limit your ideas to business, list everything: making sales calls, dealing with vendors, writing contracts, parenting, building a deck, playing piano, picking out flowers for a wedding, etc. You know a lot, don't you? This should give you a boost in confidence! Now cull out the ideas that will shape themselves into an informative book. Here are some examples.
If you own a moving company: How to Pack Without Pulling Your Hair Out, or How to Make Your New Community Feel Like Home
Financial firm: How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Investing in the Stock Market, or Demystifying Your Small Business Financial Statements
Bakery: Great Taste Without Exploding Your Waist, or How I Turned My Passion Into Dollars
The possibilities are endless!
Stop Writer's Block Before it Begins.
The second thing that hangs people up is that they think they can't write. You're probably better than you think. Remember, no one can benefit from your knowledge if you never write it down. If you struggle with writing, hire a ghost writer or an editor. eLance.com, LinkedIn, and other such sites are a great source for finding people who can help you with this.
Buyer Beware: Always check out references and work samples for anyone you find on such sites.
Choose Your Publishing Options Wisely.
With the vast majority of books being self-published today, it has become the norm. However, this can be a pitfall for many new authors because there are almost too many publishing options to choose from. Be careful: not all publishers are created equal or have your best interest at heart.
Suttle recommends you choose a company that has automated and personal-interaction options for printing and produce quality products with a quick turn-around time. Make sure they do not take ownership of your book. This is important; read the fine print.
"Some publishers feel that just because they print your book, they should own the rights to it and any sequel," he says, "And you certainly don't want that."
The Book is Done, Now Promote.
Once you have written, edited and printed your book, the real work begins. You have to get the book into the hands of your potential customers. According to a recent study from a major publisher, the average self-published book sells 57 copies. Not good. That's pretty much your friends and family. You really want to sell 1000s of copies of your book in order to make it worth producing.
Speaking is a powerful way to sell books--and to promote your company at the same time. Suttle typically sells 100 books at the back of the room after a speech. Of course there is a skill to being successful from stage. You can learn more about that from Suttle's "Speaking for Authors," program, which teaches the techniques to increase the back-of-the-room sales of your book.
Another way to market is with a book launch campaign. These can be tricky and will take research and planning to pull off, but can be well worth the time and expense. Again, there are training programs available that can fast-track your mission.
Lastly, give your book away for free. Books are the best business cards you will ever have. The average business card is kept for about an hour. The average book stays on someone's shelf for two years. How much is a new client worth to you? Books are an inexpensive and awesome way to advertise.
With a determination and desire any business person can be an author and noted expert. Write the book already, and share your experience here on The Successful Soloist!
MARLA TABAKA is a small-business adviser who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness. @MarlaTabaka