Want to be the author in authority? Want to create an instant credential? Want to be seen as the go-to person in your field?
Then consider writing and self-publishing a book. Not just any book, but a book that shows off your expertise and provides valuable, useful information to your readers and potential customers/clients.
Typically, I speak to writers about legal issues. Last weekend, I spoke to lawyers about self-publishing a book as the ultimate content marketing tool. I wanted to share my notes with my readers.
Why Publish a Book?
- A book is a 6 x 9 business card that’s not thrown away.
- A book establishes the author as:
- An expert in the field
- An entrepreneur who understands business
- A communicator translating complex concepts into actionable items
- A problem solver instead of a prophet of doom
- A colleague willing to help
- A book opens doors to speaking engagements, articles, and interviews. Is a Ted Talk in your future?
- A book lets you pursue your passion. Attorneys have gone on to write best sellers and books that changed the world.
- Harper Lee
- John Grisham
- Scott Turow
- Sheldon Siegel
Why Publish Independently (Self-Publish)?
- It’s easier than you think. As the traditional publishing industry contracts, experienced ghostwriters, editors, designers, and marketers are going freelance. Book shepherds and consultants will help you find the right experts and manage the process for you.
- It’s cheaper than you think.For professional editing and design, and for the initial print run, budget between $5,000 to $10,000. That’s probably less than you spent on your business website.
- It’s flexible. With new print-on-demand technology, you can order small print runs as and when needed. You can revise your book at any time.
- It’s fast. Once a manuscript is written, traditional publishers take another twelve to eighteen months to release a book. In contrast, some self-publishing authors claim they can put out an ebook in a few days. Realistically, expect editing, design, proofing and initial production of a print book to take 90 to 180 days.
- It’s all within your control. You control the content, design, pricing, and distribution. A traditional legal publisher will price your book somewhere between $75 and $500 per copy, and they will send you only a handful of author copies. Publish your own book, and you set the price. You may change the price anytime you want. You may give away as many copies as you want.
How to Write a Helpful Business Book
Writing a bad book is worse that writing no book at all. I am not talking about grammar and syntax here. I am talking about a book that tries to cram in too much information.
Most experts tend to look at problems this way. Connected, overlapping, full of exceptions and contradictions.
When you write a book, you have to take all that knowledge and turn it into something more like this:
How do you do that?
First, identify your audience. Prospective customers and clients, existing customers and clients, the general public? Perhaps you are writing to support a cause or to raise money. Then you should focus on convincing donors, policy makers, and legislatures to back your project.
Second, identify the challenges facing your audience and how you can help solve them. Give relevant, practical information that helps readers understand and solve their own problems.
But wait, isn’t that why people pay you? Shouldn’t you be charging a gazillon dollars for this brain dump?
Yes, you will be giving away your knowledge, and in return you will be seen as smart, generous, problem-solving, and a member of the business team. All the ways you want to be seen to attract customers and clients.
How to Publish Independently
- Content Development:
- Decide who is your audience
- Know your message
- Find your voice (approachable authority)
- Organize each chapter as problem/solution/checklist or recap.
- Consider graphics to convey information
- Editing and Design (Don’t skimp. Cheap looks cheap.)
- Developmental Editing
- Line editing
- Copy editing
- Site checking
- Indexing (Everyone LOVES an index.)
- Cover design/back cover copy and blurbs
- Interior design and layout
- POD and/or offset
- Ebook conversion into various formats
- Distribution and Marketing
- Ingram, Baker & Taylor, local bookstores
- Ebook options
Do not assume readers will read the book from front to back. Your book will be a resource. Each chapter must stand on its own. Cross reference if you need to.
Information books work best as a conversation between you and your reader. Choose the right tone.
Don’t go on too long. Better to publishing ten 50-page, focused, problem-solving books, than one 500-page monster. Write something on a short-lived issue. Be the first one out of the gate.
Spend the time. If you can’t write it yourself, use a ghostwriter.
Keep your title simple.
Enjoy the process. We come from generation where authors and books are respected. You will feel proud to be among them.
Best of all, you’ll be all warmed up to write your novel.