Why would an entrepreneur want to publish a book? Because this book, for your business, can work magic. It opens doors and confers instant credibility. It increases sales and even the price you can charge.
Here are four ways your own self-published book can work magic.
1. “Published Author” carries huge credibility with clients.
The term “Published Author” infers that you have been selected as the expert, just as much as if your face appears on a talk show or you are quoted in the newspaper. “Published Author” implies that you have been chosen above so many others who are not published.
But does this really make you the expert? After all, these days anybody can write a book.
Good point. And these days anything we read in the paper or see on the TV news could be true, or could be false. And people, cynical as they can be, know the news is not always true. But people want to believe what they see on TV, what they read in the newspaper and even much of what they read on the Internet.
“It must be true; I saw it on TV,” is how their minds work.
“He must be the expert; he wrote the book on the topic,” is how their minds work.
But what if I self-publish? Nobody chose or selected me.
It doesn’t matter. People’s minds still see you as a published author. They see your name on the cover of the book. They see your face. You are the presumed expert just for a) having taken the time to write it all down and b) packaging it appropriately.
Two farmers set up roadside stalls selling carrots, potatoes and radishes. One rinses all the dirt off, the other doesn’t. From which farmer will you buy? The one that your mind says is cleaner-even if your brain knows there is no difference.
But what if I hired a writer? I never actually took the time to write.
If you hire a writer, make sure it’s a ghostwriter. Shhh. Nobody needs to know who arranged your words, if the ideas are essentially yours. Besides, time is money; if you laid down the money for a good quality ghostwriter, you took the time.
2. “Published Author” carries huge credibility with the media.
This works with the media, too, by the way. “Published Author” makes you a quotable expert, because reporters can add the publishing credentials to the end of your name: Adrienne Wilson, author of “How to really, really, really love your cat.”
The media won’t care if you are THE expert; they know there are dozens or hundreds of experts. But the “Published Author” moniker makes you the most credible, the one they can best sell. Yes, your book makes you credible and sellable to media audiences. Reporters wants to project hard-hitting and true news, but they also keep one eye on what makes the story the most engaging and the most believable.
A few reporters of the investigative kind might question the value of a self-published author. If they have two resource contacts who are authors, they might go first to the one published at a publishing house, but that would be pretty rare. For the most part, even the media doesn’t care if you were self-published. As long as you are published.
And if the media starts using you as their source, there will be thousands of people recognizing you as the expert, even without having seen your book. ”She must be the best; I saw her on TV.”
3. A book is more viral than a business card.
Let’s face it, a book is a conversation piece. If you hand someone your business card, the best you can hope for is that it won’t get thrown out. If your book is your business card, it will often be the subject of discussions. This is true in some niches more than others, particularly B2C niches that people tend to talk about.
For example, when people buy a house, they talk and talk and talk about it with their family and friends. They have people over to see their new home and they talk and the talk and they show their family and friends the book their real estate agent left them.
Bang! Double recommendation. The new homeowners are doing the usual word-of-mouth promotion so critical to real estate agents, and the book is confirming the recommendation AND placing it on a pedestal higher up than the recommendations of other friends who might recently have bought homes through other agents.
This works for anybody who consults or sells services related to things people talk about-their pets, their investments, their aches and pains. It does not work very well for B2B consultants, but…
4. A book can increase your fees.
This is particularly true in the B2B world for anyone who does consulting or who wants to branch into consulting. Businesses are eager to pay more for the presumed expert-the guy who wrote the book on the topic.
Speaking fees are also increased when you have a book to your name, PLUS you can sell copies of the book (autographing them as you do) at the back of the room after the speech. Professional speakers make their living this way, but any expert can make a sizable amount of money following this pattern.
This works less well with B2C markets, where price is a touchier thing.
Yes, just like magic, you are the star. OK, perhaps not just like magic. There is still a lot of wand-waving to do. You have to develop the best ways to get the books into all the right hands.
- How to make sure reporters have a copy.
- How best to hand it to prospects and to satisfied clients.
- Whether to autograph it.
- Whether to give satisfied clients a second copy, since you might have already given them a copy before they were clients.
Yes, there are still some decisions for you to make. But it is pretty good magic by any standard.