Thanks go to Ally Machate for today’s guest blog post:
Intense competition and a global marketplace thanks to the Internet means it’s harder than ever to make your business stand out. Self-publishing a book can help. Below are five things you need to know to take advantage of this game-changer for you and your business.
1. A published book = top of the food chain.
Studies by the Reputation Institute and other marketing consultancies reveal that published books are the top “credible” marketing method for today’s service providers. In a survey conducted for the Business Impact of Writing a Book, 96% of authors reported that publishing a book significantly impacted their businesses, and they would recommend the practice. This blog post by Laura Cross of Expert Entrepreneur reveals more statistics from this fascinating study.
2. A book’s real value to professionals is its role in your platform.
As an established expert you can:
- · acquire more ideal clients with less effort
- · increase your exposure through the media
- · command higher fees than your competition
- · make stronger and more productive connections
- · open doors to previously remote opportunities
Your ideal client is weighing her options. She’s narrowed it down to you and a competitor. But you’re the published author of a well-designed and well-written book showcasing your expertise. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes: With whom would you rather work?
A media outlet needs to interview a local expert. Your name is on their list among several other businesspeople. You’re the only one with a book. Who do you think they’ll call first? (Pay attention next time you see or hear an expert interviewed and note how many have “author of…” following their name.)
You’ve bid to speak at an industry convention. The organizers are sifting through applications and see you’re the only one who’s authored a book. Who makes the most attractive candidate for the keynote presentation? (Browse the websites of events you frequent or dream of attending and count how many keynoters are authors.)
3. The price threshold for publishing a book is lower than ever.
Though I don’t recommend it (see #5), you could publish a book without spending a dime. Both digital and POD (print on demand) publishing involve little or no startup costs. With digital, you can make your ebook almost instantly available. Some POD publishers charge a setup fee, but others have none, making money instead off book orders and paying the author a “royalty.” In both cases, there are no storage fees and distribution is often covered by a percentage on sales. Offset, however, does require setup fees and, unless you store the books yourself, warehousing and distribution fees as well.
But don’t let cost alone guide your decision. The format and printing option you choose should be based on considerations such as audience preference, where you intend to sell your book, and what kind of content you have. If you intend to sell books during presentations, you need a printed book. If your book includes detailed illustrations, especially in color, offset printing may give you a higher quality product than POD.
4. You need a custom publishing plan.
Too many self-publishers try to mimic what larger, established publishers do or what they see DIY phenoms doing. This won’t work: For success, you must tailor your plans to your unique product, skill set, and situation. Big corporations have access to options closed to you as a self-publisher. You’re unlikely to get on Good Morning, America, for example, or get reviewed in the New York Times. Likewise, a best-selling novelist with a five-book series will see a different sales pattern and be targeting a different audience than you. Conversely, a self-publisher can be more creative and nimble, taking advantage of opportunities the big guys wouldn’t bother with or know about. Educate yourself as to which approaches and options are right for you without wasting your time or money.
5. Hiring professionals makes a huge difference.
A study conducted by Taleist found self-publishers who got help on such aspects as editing, design, and promotion enjoyed a 13% to 34% increase in sales over self-publishers who didn’t get help. If your writing skills aren’t already top-notch, failure to invest in a ghostwriter can lead to disappointment at best and public embarrassment at worst. How much does good writing matter? A Wayne State University professor analyzed the effects of poorly written/edited articles on readers’ perceptions of the presented information and its authors and found increased errors resulted in decreased confidence.
As with any new product or service, you want to approach publishing a book with professionalism, patience, and know-how. Treat your book with the same level of respect as any other aspect of your business and you’ll have a powerful new tool that can take your efforts up a notch.
Ally E. Machate is an editor, writer, and publishing consultant who loves using her insider knowledge of the publishing industry and more than fourteen years of experience to help others reach their publishing goals, whether it’s showing a writer how to improve his manuscript, get an agent, or self-publish, or ghostwriting a book to help an entrepreneur skyrocket her business platform to new levels. Grab Ally’s free white papers and learn more about her services at www.ambitiousenterprises.com and www.allymachate.com. She also co-sponsors the Self-Publishing Success Intensive, which takes place this year on March 9. Visit www.selfpublishingsuccessintensive.com for details.