As a business owner, you should be consistently evolving, staying relevant and finding new ways to grow your business, image, and brand. There are plenty of “quick fixes” that can be accomplished, giving your profits a temporary boost, but don’t you want to do something that will have a lasting impact on you and your business?
It’s time to write a book.
Here are just some of the benefits of writing and publishing a book based on your professional expertise:
- Proclaiming to the world that you have a high level of expertise about your topic, instead of waiting in the shadows and hoping someone will notice
- Presenting yourself as a thought leader in your area of expertise, not a follower, and distinguishing yourself among your peers
- Opening doors for paid speaking and consulting opportunities
- Attracting new business and directing it towards your company, opening up opportunities for huge growth
- Getting media attention – being featured on radio, television and in print, based on the content of your book and your growing business
- Positioning yourself for your new career opportunities
- Making yourself (your mom, your spouse, your friends) proud.
Sound good? Hopefully, by now, you’ve decided to finally take the plunge and write a book. So what are the next steps? Here is some good news: you do not have to write the entire book right away! If you are writing a nonfiction book, agents and editors will not need (or want) to see the finished product upfront. What they will want to see is a book proposal, which is essentially the “business plan” for your book. There are five main sections in a book proposal:
- The Overview – this is where you say what the book is about, who will want to buy it, and why you are the person to write it.
- The Author’s Biography – this is a brief summary of your professional/relevant experience in relation to the book’s subject matter. This is where you demonstrate that you are an expert in your field.
- The Competitive Analysis – you must ask yourself if there are other books similar to yours that are already out there. If so, what makes yours better? What are you offering that is not already out there?
- The Marketing Plan – what is your platform? What have you been doing and are planning on doing to publicize the book, its subject material, and your brand?
- The Chapter Summary – this is a general outline of the book, where you briefly summarize what each chapter will cover.
Most proposals also include a sample chapter, which will give agents and editors an idea of what the tone and writing style will be like.
Not a natural writer? Have a way with business but not with words? Have money but no time? Here’s a tip: hire a ghostwriter! Rates vary from writer to writer, but depending on your situation, it may be a worthy investment. They can help you with the proposal, the manuscript, or both.
Once the proposal has been written, it will be time to start pitching it to literary agents. Make sure that you are only pitching to agents who represent your particular genre. Many agencies specialize in a particular area of the publishing world (business, children’s, Christian), and you want to make sure you have the right eyes looking your project over.
Once you have gotten a literary agent (it may take some time!), he or she will start pitching your project to editors who are interested in acquiring books like yours. Hopefully, you will get a lot of good feedback and an offer will be made. Your agent will negotiate the deal on your behalf.
A note about self-publishing. You need to figure out which route would be best for you. Yes, self-publishing may allow you more overall control in the production of your book and any profit it makes, but it also leaves the marketing of your book completely up to you. If you have the resources to do this, or if you are a prolific professional speaker who can sell the book back of room, for example, then perhaps that route would work for you.
With that being said, I see no reason not to give traditional publishing a try. With traditional publishing comes more prestige, as well as a team of experts who are already aligned and ready to help you. They want to make money, so they will do what they can to make that happen – which means only good things for you!
No matter which route you choose, the time to write your book is NOW. I have worked with many clients who can trace their business’ boom to the moment their book was sold to a publisher. Ask yourself what your clients need most strongly – what advice can you give them that they would benefit from the greatest?
Publishing a book can be the greatest step you take in growing your business and credibility within your industry. You know you have great insight to share with the world; now is the time to get out there and do it!
Guest Post By: Megan Close Zavala
Megan Close Zavala is a literary agent and book coach. She has been a bibliophile all her life, and is thrilled to have been able to find a career that lets her read for a living, while also helping authors take their writing from good to great! For book coaching and writing advice, please visit www.turnthepagebookcoaching.com or find her on Twitter @MeganCloseKMI.
Book Coaching: www.turnthepagebookcoaching.com
Literary Agency: www.kellermedia.com