While anyone can benefit from publishing a book, it is of special value to entrepreneurs, professionals, consultants, coaches and other independent business owners. You may think that writing a book entails a lot of work for an uncertain payoff. In fact, it’s easier than you think. And once you have your finished book in hand, you will be looking at the key to a marketing bonanza!
Writing your book can be simple. You may have the material for a book without even realizing it. Have you written articles, proposals or reports on your topic? Have you ever given a talk or made a presentation? Could you sit down with a tape recorder and talk about your subject? Or ask a friend to interview you? All of this information can be adapted to create your book.
You’re already knowledgeable about your field, but writing a book makes you the expert in the eyes of others–your potential clients. Just the fact that you wrote a book will give you credibility, because most people don’t write books, and they don’t even know anyone who has.
What if you don’t believe that you know enough to write a book? After all, there may be others who know more than you. When a client told me that she couldn’t present herself as an expert in her area of knowledge, I told her to change her definition of expert. You may believe that to be an expert you must know more about your subject than anyone else in the world. In fact, an expert is the person who knows more about a subject than anyone else in the room. In other words, if you know more about a subject than the average person, you are an expert and you possess information that can make a difference in the lives of others. Sharing that information by writing a book makes their lives better, as well as yours.
One way a book makes your life better is by creating an additional income stream. If you have a service business, the number of hours you can work limits how much you can earn. Instead of an hour’s pay for an hour’s work, books put you in “make one, sell many” mode. You write the book once, and sell thousands or even millions of copies. Selling your book through mail order, catalogs, Web sites and retail outlets can provide income even when you’re not working.
Perhaps the best thing a book does for you, though, is help you get more business by expanding your marketing possibilities. Savvy marketers know that they need to get their message out as many times as possible, in many different ways. They don’t rely on only one method, but reinforce their message by delivering it to their target market over and over again. Studies show that it may take six, eight, ten or even more contacts before a customer makes a buying decision. That means that the more times you, your business and your product or service are in front of them, the more likely they are to think of you when they decide to make a purchase. Having a book adds several powerful weapons to your marketing arsenal.
And how many of your marketing methods allow you to make money with them? Effective marketing will result in additional business, but when they buy your book, people are actually paying to get information from and about you. Besides making money from the new business you get, you make money while marketing.
My first book was created as a manual and workbook for a seminar I was preparing to teach. I wanted something participants could take with them to enhance their seminar experience. I also wanted it to be something I could sell to increase my profits. That first book, Solo-preneuring™: The Art of Earning a Living Without a Job, helped me to build my business in many ways. Not only did it meet my original goal of increasing profits at my seminars, but people who bought the book showed it to others, who then became clients. The book was ordered by a college for use as the required text in one of their courses. I’ve been written about in newspapers, interviewed on the radio, and appeared on television because I wrote a book. Each of these exposures resulted in additional business through consulting, seminars, and book sales.
Here are just a few of the ways you can use your book to grow your business:
Include information about you, your business, and your other products and services in your book. Definitely include a biographical sketch and tell people how they can contact you. Describe what you do for clients–the problems you solve for them and how they benefit. Give them ideas about why and how to hire you. If you sell products, include a catalog and order form. I was hired to do a series of seminars because the decision maker saw my book titles and seminar topics in the back of one of my books.
Have your book go places you can’t. Think of your book as a sales force. You can only be in one place at a time, but your book can be in hundreds or thousands of places. Bookstores are one place to sell your books, but don’t overlook alternatives that may be more successful in both selling books and reaching the target market for your other products.
Market 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to reach customers when they need you. My books show off my expertise so that customers can learn about me, what I know and what I can do, even when I’m not around. By showing your expertise in your book, you are reaching prospects at a time when they are most open to doing business with you. They have a need, read your book for a solution, and they have seen what you can do. When they need additional help, they are going to call you.
Open doors to decision makers and opinion molders. When you have written a book, you have both a credential and a tool for reaching the important people in your industry. Send a copy of a chapter to them to review and comment on before publication. This is a common practice, and most will consider it flattering. Send the manuscript and ask them for a blurb for the cover. Or, just send a copy of the final book as a gift. Make yourself known to the movers and shakers who can help your success.
Educate potential customers. This is especially important if customers have to be told why they need your product or service. The book is a tool to explain the benefits of what you do.
Stage events around the book. After all, every time you promote the book, you are also promoting yourself. Hold book signings at your office, the public library, bookstores, and other venues. Have a book release party, and invite your friends, clients, potential clients, and the media.
Parlay your credibility as an author and expert into speaking engagements. On any given day, there are probably dozens of civic and professional organizations meeting in your area. Contact the organizations to which your customers would belong, and offer your services as a speaker. Most of these groups don’t pay speakers, but will allow you to give out information about your business. They will also allow you to sell books after your talk. And when you are at the front of the room, you are automatically the expert your audience will look to for answers.
Recycle portions of your book as articles in newspapers, professional journals, magazines and newsletters. Take a chapter out of your book and offer it to editors for publication. Some will pay you for the article, but it is most important that the publication includes information about what you do and how readers can contact you.
Excerpt parts of your book to create your own newsletter. Keep in touch with clients and prospects by distributing a monthly or quarterly newsletter. Sections can be pulled from your book and used as articles in your newsletter.
Put excerpts at your web site. People expect free information on the web. You can also sell your book at your web site, but posting the first chapter or some other piece of the book for free is good promotion for both you and the book.
Give the book as a reward for referrals. When someone sends business your way, you can say thank you with a note. Or, you can send a copy of your book, inscribed and signed to them with your thanks. People love signed books, and they will remember and hold on to the book you sent long after a note would be discarded and forgotten.
Let your customers know they can buy copies of your book as gifts. The people who are already your customers will want to share you with others. When they buy your book to give to others, they introduce more people to you.
Donate your book as a fundraiser. Professional and charitable organizations sponsor silent auctions and other fundraisers. Donate copies of your book if the people in the organization are part of your target market.
Books make great “samples.” A study reported in the New York Times said that as many as 50% of the people who receive a sample will eventually make a purchase. Give books to people in your target market so they can sample your expertise and the benefits you provide to clients.
Create seminars, tapes, and other information products on the same subject matter. Your book can be part of an entire product line. When you add tapes, seminars, courses, consulting, and other information products and services, you create multiple buying opportunities. When a customer buys one item, they can be cross-sold to others: first they buy a book, then they take a seminar, then you consult with them, etc. This increases your presence in the market and enhances your credibility, as well as producing additional income.
Reward new customers. When you get a new client, present them with a copy of your book. It will reinforce your status as an expert, and affirm that they have made a good choice in deciding to do business with you. Inscribe and sign the book before presenting it to them, of course.
Use your book to get media attention. As the author of a book, you can arrange interviews with television and radio shows, newspapers, magazines and other media. Announce the events, such as signings, related to your book. Send out press releases when the subject of your book is in the news, or when there is a holiday tie-in. During Christmas shopping season, I did several radio interviews to promote my book, The Mystery Shopper’s Manual. The hook that got me the interviews was that I could tell their listeners how they could actually get paid to go shopping. Lots of stations were interested in that, because they knew their listeners would be interested in 51 creative gifts for engineers. Whenever you do interviews, make sure they will include information about how to get your book, or how to contact you.
Get listed in directories and resource lists. Your book may be listed in references such as Books in Print, and other authors may mention your book as a resource. A newsletter editor included a mention of one of my books (and how to order it) in a resource list for home-based businesses after seeing the title on the Internet.
Make your book a value-added extra. Let customers know that when they make a purchase (e.g., a consulting session) they get your book free. That kind of incentive can move people to buy.
Cross-market with other authors. If you are a doctor who wrote a book about living a heart-healthy lifestyle, form an alliance with someone who has written a heart-healthy cookbook. Sell both together for a package price. Include information about the other book in your mailings. Do promotional events together. Not only will you both sell more books, you’ll get your name and expertise in front of more people.
Make bulk sales to get your name out. Do you have a book which might be used as a textbook? Would it be of interest to the members of an organization, or clients of a non-competing business? See if a school, professional association, retail store, bank, or other organization would be interested in buying your book in bulk to give away or sell.
Still not sure if you should write a book? Do you want the additional business, the money and the prestige that come with being a successful author? If not, well, just keep doing the same things you have been doing. But if you’re ready to unleash the marketing power of a book of your own, get started now and you can be reaping the benefits of being an author in no time!
Learn more about writing, publishing and marketing your book at SellingBooks.com.
Discover new ways to profit from your writing at Cash Content Formula.