How To Write A Book To Grow Your Business
I originally wrote this article as a guest post for Brand You Creators but it got such a good response, I thought it would be useful to share here as well.
In a survey conducted for the Business Impact of Writing a Book, 96% of authors reported that publishing a book generated more clients while 87% of published authors reported that it allowed them to generate a more desirable client base and charge higher fees.
Writing and publishing a book is one of the best investments you can make in your business. It takes your personal brand to a new level giving you credibility as a trustworthy expert on your written topic. This, in turn, leads to more opportunities such as high-profile speaking engagements and media coverage, meaning you reach a wider audience and increase market share.
I should know; when I published my first book in 2017, my business, Travel Ink, received twice as many sales leads. Not only that, but those sales leads also converted more quickly.
While writing a book can be a huge undertaking, the investment of time pays off tenfold because it helps you stand out from the competition. You don’t need to write the next War and Peace (unless you want to, of course!) but rather a well-structured, easy-to-follow collection of your experiences and expertise.
If you’re looking to make this year the year you add author to your business card, follow these 8 steps:
Step 1: Brainstorm An Idea
Depending on your type of business, there are endless possibilities for your book idea. Set aside a quiet half an hour and brain dump everything you would like to include in your book. Here are some question prompts to get you started:
What information do you wish you’d had when you started your business?
As an entrepreneur, what do you do exceptionally well?
What topics do people come to you for advice?
What are your values when it comes to your business practices?
What are you most passionate about?
Imagine your 90-year-old future self - what message would you most like to convey?
How does your business make your customers feel? What problem does it solve?
Finally, go to the Amazon search bar and type in your industry + books and see what titles are already out there.
Ultimately, you’re looking to create as much value as possible for your reader so always keep this mind when finalising your idea.
Step 2: Write Your Premise
A non-fiction premise is a two-to-three sentence summary of the book based on the need or problem of your reader and then proposing your solution. Here’s an example using The 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris:
The 4-Hour Workweek is the step-by-step blueprint to free yourself from the shackles of a corporate job, create a business to fund the lifestyle of your dreams, and live life like a millionaire, without actually having to be one.
Reader need: escape corporate life
Author solution: 4-hour work week step-by-step blueprint
Although the premise is usually only a few sentences, it may take some time to nail this down. However, by understanding early on what you want the reader to take away from your book, it will save you a lot of time during the writing process. This premise will act as your guide making sure you stay on track. On a side note, don’t worry too much about the title right now - you can always leave it blank.
Step 3: Outline Your Content Topics
Brainstorm a list of content topics you would like to include in your book. These will become your chapters. Start to organise them in order as what would make the most sense to the reader. Here are some other considerations related to outlining:
Think about whether you want to include photographs or diagrams, charts or infographics. How can you represent complex concepts simply?
Use bullet points as chapter endings to recap key points.
Consider dialogue. Will you include quizzes, questionnaires or exercises for the reader to complete?
What examples will you include in your book to back up what you are saying? What studies do you need to include and / or what personal stories will you share?
Which areas of your business could apply to multiple industries to broaden your reach?
If you have already created content for your business, such as a blog or written an industry article, consider re-using this material.
Step 4: Write Your Book
Most business books are usually between 20,000 to 50,000 words - any more and you risk overwhelming the reader. Now you have a premise and an outline, it’s time to start writing. I suggest blocking an hour in your calendar each day to write (first thing in the morning works best for me) so you develop the habit. During these sessions, write quickly and get your first draft down; avoid the temptation to edit or re-write at this point.
Step 6: Edit And Proofread Your Book
After your first draft is complete - take a breather and congratulate yourself - you’ve already achieved a major milestone! Now it’s time to put on your editing hat. During your first read-through, concentrate on big-picture; does the structure work, are there any gaps in the information, have you included story-telling? On the second read-through, have a look at your writing style. Your goal is to enhance your work for readability. A final read-through will help you identify any typos. Remember, if editing is not your strength, then there is always the option of hiring a professional editor - a worthwhile investment in many scenarios.
Step 7: Get feedback
An important part of the writing process, this step can also be quite nerve-wracking! It’s important to ask the right people to read and give feedback on your work. The people you choose will read your book not as an editor but as a reader so choose people based on your reader profile, a mentor or coach, or a trusted family member or friend who can give unbiased feedback. Once they have agreed, make sure you provide a deadline and explain what they need to do. Once you’ve received all the feedback, look for similar trends or themes and edit accordingly.
Step 8: Choose your publishing path
Today, there are lots of options for publishing including traditional publishing, self-publishing, and vanity publishing. Each has advantages and disadvantages; however for new authors, self-publishing is probably the quickest and most cost-effective route and platforms such as KDP on Amazon are the most popular and there are resources on the site on how to publish. Should you wish to follow other publishing routes, then do your research thoroughly.
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