Business owners, regardless of company size, are always considering new ways to boost the bottom line. And, quite frankly, there comes a time when it’s not advantageous to continue launching new products or raising your prices. Writing a business book offers opportunities to grow market share and help you toward your end goals. However, before we dig deep into the advantages of a business book, I want you to look at your company from an outsider’s perspective. Consider the various ins and outs of your business, everything you do, and everything that makes your company unique. This information is ultimately what you can develop into a book.
Before you even put pen to paper though, you’ll need to clearly define goals – both for your book and your company. And you’ll also need to decide how you will publish your book. Because now, more than ever, you’ve got a lot of options.
I Don’t Have Time to Write a Book
A lot of books out there talk about how to maximize time, how to accomplish more during your day, and so on. The truth is, time still seems to fly, no matter how carefully you manage it. If you’re already starting to think, “I don’t have time to write a book,” then think again.
You don’t have time not to write a book.
As business owners, most of us already have content, whether we realize it or not. Perhaps you’ve written white papers, blog posts, or other articles. You may even have some guides you created for staff training that can be massaged into a book.
Of course, you can always use a ghostwriter if you truly are too busy. Ghostwriting, or ghosting, is a fantastic way to get a book done quickly. And if you’re worried about the ghost knowing your “voice,” keep in mind it’s what they do. Ghosting is a fantastic resource for any business owner, and if it means the difference between getting a book out there and not, it’s a great investment.
Now it’s time to see what you’ve already got on hand for your book. I suggest going through your existing content to see what can be repurposed. Consider these items as possible ways to gather content:
- blog posts
- white papers
- audio and/or video recordings
- presentations you’ve done in the past
- class and presentation handouts
- articles written for publications or other blogs
- Twitter updates (because these might help with book content, too – or at the very least, spark ideas)
Gather all of this content together and see what fits with the book and what does not. You may be surprised by how much content you already have on hand.
How to Get Published
So now you’re excited about this possibility, right? You’ve probably already come up with half a dozen or so ideas for the book you want to write. But how will you publish it? Turns out, there are a lot of options for that, too. Let’s take a look at these.
The term self-publishing, or indie publishing, covers a scope of services either offered by companies who help you facilitate the publishing process or these are things you can do on your own if you want to become your own publisher. And you have a lot of options these days, too. Because there are companies that have cropped up all over the place ready to help you get your book in print. So, let’s look at what you need, and what you don’t need in terms of getting your book out there.
Becoming Your Own Publisher
If you decide to become your own publisher, all the responsibilities of layout, book cover design, distribution, and even the relationship with Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and more, rests on your shoulders. It might seem like a lot of work, but many authors enjoy publishing this way, since they have more control over the process. They also understand that any company helping you to facilitate the process of getting published also has limited distribution. Meaning that you won’t get national placement in bookstores or Costco (though, frankly, most books from traditional publishers don’t get this either).
Self-Publishing – E-books
For many of us, e-books are just another way to make our book available to an even larger, electronic-focused market. E-book technology has made great strides over the years, and e-books continue to rise in popularity. If you choose to publish only the e-book, you can certainly do that. But my recommendation is to have a book available in all different formats, and through different outlets, including Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble.
Companies Who Can Help You Get Published
There are a lot of companies who can help you get your book in print. They often offer cover design services, interior design, indexing, and a host of other offerings to help you out. I’ve used several of them, but both IngramSpark and Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon’s publishing arm) tend to be the leaders in this regard. Other companies will ask for a fee to publish your book and for that fee they’ll handle your book production, uploading it to Amazon, iTunes, etc.
Do some research here and ask good questions, because not all of these companies are created equal. In the end you may just decide to hire a cover design and interior person on your own. I’ve done that for most of my books – and it’s a lot easier than you might think.
If you get picked up by a publisher, you sign a contract which means that, you will essentially sign over all the rights to your book. The publisher is responsible for everything from the cover, to editing, to the interiors and sometimes (if you’re extremely lucky) the marketing. Sometimes, traditional publishers may even pick up a self-published book if it’s achieved enough momentum. In order to get a publisher, you (in almost all cases) need to hire an agent.
The benefits of publishing – as an extension of your business, are tremendous. First off, let’s consider the search engine aspect of this, meaning your visibility online. As business owners, we all know the importance of showing up in Google, but what about showing up in Amazon? Amazon is a search engine, too. Different than Google, of course, but equally as powerful. If a consumer is looking to solve a problem, for which you have the solution, guess where they might start doing some searching? Yep, on Amazon. Having a presence there with a book is just smart business. Also, a book is a 24/7 business card. Meaning that it’s a promotional tool that can keep driving interest and customers to you, in bigger and better ways than a simple business card. Largely because people don’t throw books away like they do business cards. Books can be a great addition to any customer interaction and authors are often seen as authority figures, which will help boost your exposure as well.
Finally, if you’ve been interested in expanding your speaking career, having a book might just be the leg up that you need. Whenever I’ve worked with business owners who seek to increase speaking engagements, I’ve seen time and time again that a book really helps to expand their speaker footprint.
If you have something to say, and wisdom to share, a book is a great way to expand your business, your network, and your speaking.