If you are working as a consultant, speaker, trainer, business leader or expert in a field then you should consider spending some time writing a book and getting it published. A work published in your name can prove a great asset in building your credibility and reputation with clients.
Before I launched my business as a speaker and facilitator in creativity and innovation I wrote a book, The Leader’s Guide to Lateral Thinking Skills. I spent considerable efforts in researching and writing the book, and then in finding a publisher for it. After that I had to wait to see it in print. But the wait was worthwhile. I use the book as my calling card and leave a copy with a customer or serious prospect. I have found that it helps me to open doors, get speaking engagements, build rapport with clients and win business. Since then I have gone on to publish three further business books with the same publisher, Kogan-Page.
Here are some hints and tips to help you write your business book:
1. Choose a topic that fascinates you. You are going to spend some time researching, writing and rewriting the book so choose a subject on which you are knowledgeable and which really interests you. You will learn a lot by organising your thoughts and researching the subject.
2. Come at it from a different angle. Read other books on the topic and then choose a different approach if you can. It will help if you can position your book differently.
3. Get a publisher before you write the book. You do not have to write the book first. Most publishers want to see a synopsis, chapter list, sample chapter, short marketing piece and bio. Do this first. You may need to write to 20 to 30 publishers before you succeed but you will learn a lot along the way. Many will reject your idea but give you useful advice. As a last resort you can self-publish. It is quite straightforward but if you self-publish you lose the help, marketing and distribution that a publisher can offer.
4. Don’t write a book, write a chapter. If you find the thought of writing 50,000 words daunting then don’t try to do that. I found it easier to focus on writing a chapter. I then sometimes published part or all of the chapter on a blog to get some instant gratification and some useful feedback. Gradually all the different chapters build into your book.
5. Set yourself a deadline. Plan how many chapters you will write each month and give yourself milestones to complete the work.
6. Promote the book everywhere. Once your book is published do not assume that the publisher will do all the marketing. They will do some but it is up to you, the author, to promote it furiously. I gave away review copies, gave radio interviews, gave it to friends and clients, blogged about it and so on.
The monetary rewards are small compared to the effort of writing the book. But the satisfaction of seeing your work in print is reward in itself. The book will then help you to successfully project your status as an expert on the subject.
Paul Sloane writes and speaks on lateral thinking and innovation.