Why writing a business book is very good for business

If you listen to cynics you’ll probably have heard that having written a published business book is just an “expensive business card,” which is, well, the cynical view. But say what you like: being a published author on your particular business, therapy or other passion raises you up in your readers’ – and customers’ – estimation. And not many business cards can achieve that.
writing a business book is good for business

Your business book puts you into an elite club

Once you have your business or self-help book – whether it’s self-published or done by a trade publisher – you have every right to be proud of your achievement (it’s quite a lot of work!) and your customers, colleagues and peers will admire you for having gone to the trouble of sharing your expertise.

This places you head and shoulders above competitors who haven’t yet got around to writing a book, or who actually can’t do it.

Promotional opportunities arising from your book

Your book can easily become the flagship of your personal, business or even corporate marketing, provided that its contents, cover, etc. are all “on brand” and are consistent,

You can serialise the book on your website in a selection of excerpts as blog posts. You can offer articles based on elements of the book as guest posts on other websites.

You will find you get invitations to speak at events connected with your topic, be interviewed about the book on local radio and some local and/or internet TV, and be asked to write articles for relevant magazines and periodicals.

Then, you have the option to serialise video (spoken) chapters of your book to upload to your YouTube channel, to record and publish as podcasts, and to record as an audiobook.

The list is endless.

The old-fashioned trade publishing route to market

The bottom line is that you only should propose your business book to trade publishers if you have plenty of time, patience and a hide tougher than an elephant’s.

Particularly now with more and more people self-publishing and selling through online retailers, conventional trade publishers are being squeezed very tightly and will only take on authors who are either famous, a genius, or preferably both. You wait for weeks or more likely months before you (may) get a deal and then it could be up to two years before they publish your book.

Once again unless you’re very famous with a huge fan base they won’t pay you an advance on royalties and with eventual royalties on sales you’ll be lucky to start with 7.5 percent of cover price. Plus, you have little control over editorial changes, design, cover design etc.

Advantages are fewer by the day, but there is still extra kudos in saying your book has been accepted for publication by one of the Big Ones. Also, trade publishers are very close friends with and distribute to the big chains of book stores who ostensibly do not stock self-published books (although they will list them so people can order them,) but even this is changing: watch this space.

The alternative ways to publish a business book

Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: self-publishing and vanity publishing are not the same thing.

Vanity publishing was pre-internet, when the only way to get published was through trade publishers – or this tacky and expensive scam which shoved you completely unedited, unproofed, undesigned and un-everything-else into a typesetting system, banged it out in print, bound that mess into books and delivered however many copies you ordered in boxes which then sat in your garage getting mouldy. For that privilege you were charged many thousands of £££s or $$$s.

There are a number of variants of what are now known as “publishing services” companies which, yes, you pay to produce your book. If you pay all the costs that’s assisted self-publishing, whereby you get 100 percent of the royalties direct from Amazon or whoever retails your book. There are also hybrid options where the costs are split between the author and the company, in which case the royalties are split accordingly.

The costs you pay should include everything needed to bring your book up to a full professional standard – in other words, so it looks like it has been produced by one of the top trade publishing houses. If you shop around, you’ll find a company that offers you the professionalism you need without paying through the nose. I’ll go into more detail on this in another article.

Why your business book needs to look professional

This may seem like a no-brainer, but if your book doesn’t look professional, neither does your business. If you self or hybrid publish, a good services company will make sure every step of editing, proofreading, design, checking and rechecking is done thoroughly.

That way you end up with a book you can be proud of and which your readers, customers, clients and everyone else will see as reflecting your own professionalism. A shoddily produced book can do a lot of damage to your brand, and now that properly self-published books have become acceptable – especially in business circles – people can tell the difference.

To sell, give away, or how else to monetise?

Because your book is certain to be available on Amazon there is no reason why you shouldn’t sell it as a commercial exercise, in print and also on Kindle. If you want to get that moving you will have to do quite a lot of marketing communication to promote it, although the actual cost shouldn’t be more than peanuts unless you hire a book publicist to do it. Once again, I will cover this aspect of publishing a book in a later article.

But depending on how you work, you may find you sell a significant number of print copies when you give a talk, workshop, lecture, etc. If you run seminars and workshops you can incorporate the cost of a book in each delegate fee and supply a signed book as a bonus. You can also sell the books directly from your own website or social media page.

So think about writing that business book – it’s a relatively cheap investment in your business

Have you written and published a business or self-help book? What results have you had from it? Please share!

NB: The eBook in the image above was something I put together as a Holiday season gift for clients a few years ago. It’s just over 100 pages of very funny jokes about business. If you’d like me to send it to you (as a PDF) drop me a mail on suze@suzanstmaur.com. I don’t charge anything for it at the moment, although I might issue a new edition soon!