4 Ways Writing a Book Can Boost Your Business
Many business leaders are now turning their experience and expertise into books. Some of those books even end up on The New York Times bestseller lists, according to the CEO of Greenleaf Book Group, Tanya Hall. Greenleaf, which works with business thought leaders and others to bring their books to press, operates a model that is a hybrid between self-publishing and the traditional publishing and distribution model. Authors retain the rights to their work and pay for editing and printing, but the publisher handles distribution to bookstores, airport stores, libraries, and wholesalers.
Writing a book isn’t the right choice for every entrepreneur. “Writing it is the easy part,” says Hall, noting that promoting your book can take even more energy. Still, Hall feels that becoming a published author can be a valuable way for business owners to stand out from the crowd. Here are some of the ways writing a book can help you identify and promote your personal brand and raise the profile of your business.
1. Promote Your Value Proposition
When entrepreneurs write a book, it is important to “dial in on the specific benefits they bring to their clients,” says Hall. This can differentiate you from your competitors. But you might want to bring in some outside help. “Defining your specialty might require some unbiased ears to bounce things off of,” she says. She recommends finding someone with branding experience, who can help you quickly hone in on your audience.
2. Spread Your Message
Putting your business philosophy on paper can be a good way to clarify your message — even if you don’t know you have one. “I can’t tell you how many times people come to me and say they don’t know if they have enough material for a book,” Hall says. After talking with her for a few days, they sometimes discover they have so much to say that they have to pare it down. The process of talking out your philosophy with another person can help you identify the things you do every day that make you and your business uniquely valuable. If, after working through the structure of your book, you still feel you need more material, you may want to interview experts or include case studies about topics you’re covering.
3. Attract New Clients
Publishing a book is a terrific way to attract clients to your business, Hall notes. “They’re prequalified — they’ve already bought into the message,” she says. “It saves … that upfront time that you would have to spend trying to woo that buyer.”
If you’re worried that people will feel they don’t need to hire you because they can read your book instead, you don’t need to worry, according to Hall. “That’s exactly the people who weren’t going to hire you anyway,” she says. The good clients you want in your business are the ones who understand that “ultimately, no one else can deliver [your services] the way you can,” she says.
4. Sell Your Book — and Yourself
Publishing a book is an event you can use to promote and generate publicity for your business. Being a published author lends you credibility — you are literally the person who “wrote the book” in your field or niche. “As you get media hits and as people start giving you coverage,” Hall advises, promote your media appearances to add to your reputation.
The Bottom Line
The costs to self-publish can range from under $1,000 on a service like Amazon’s CreateSpace to tens or even hundreds of thousands if you hire a high-profile ghostwriter. Hall suggests planning for a budget of at least $3,000 to $5,000 to cover editing and production costs. Some of that will come back to you through book sales but, according to Hall, your book’s boost to your bottom line is more likely to come from additional clients.