Could Writing A Book Boost Your Personal Brand?
Now that self publishing is all the rage, everyone and their cat has a book (no really: check out
If you’re interested in public speaking or television interviews, authoring a book can help with that, too. People like high-profile, industry-knowledgeable individuals to interview or speak at their events, and believe me: the bar is set lower than you’d think. You don’t have to be Tony Robbins to get the gig if you know your industry and have a book in hand.
“But I Can’t Write!”
Ah, here’s the best-kept secret about expert authors: many of them don’t actually write their books. They hire ghostwriters (like me) to do the writing. They contribute their knowledge, naturally, since that’s unique to them, but someone else does the writing. So if you got an F in high school English, no one has to know. I guarantee at least a few of the books you’ve read by top experts were written by someone else.
The beauty of hiring a ghostwriter is that you still get the credit for writing the book, as well as the profit from selling it. You’re the one who will get that big project as a result, or be interviewed on FOX News. You’re the one that will continue to reap the benefits of having a book published in your name for years to come. That’s worth the expense of hiring a ghostwriter, now isn’t it?
“But There are So Many Books on My Industry Already!”
Sure, there are. But there’s always room for more. And as industries change, books need to keep up with updates. The social media book I wrote 4 years ago is bound to be outdated in parts. So you have the opportunity to write about your field right now and cover the most cutting edge things happening in it. You also have your own unique perspective that readers won’t get in any other book. So remember: you’re not trying to write the same book that’s already on Amazon; you’re trying to write your own book. People will respond to it.
“There’s Just Too Much to Cover in My Industry.”
Great. Write 10 books. Bill Jelen, MrExcel, is writing his 40th book this year. You can write one monster of a book that covers everything you want to talk about, or break it down into smaller, more digestible books. And you don’t have to cover it all; find what you know best in your niche and own it.
“I Want to Write, But Just Don’t Have the Time.”
If you don’t want to work with a ghostwriter, I suggest you ask yourself how committed you are to writing a book in 2015. If it’s high on your list of New Year’s resolutions, carve out time. Put it on your calendar in 1-hour chunks. Work on your book on the weekend. I’m willing to bet if you look for it, you can find extra time you’d otherwise be vegging in front of the tv or watching Grumpy Cat videos that you could put toward becoming an author.
“Should I Self Publish or Go Traditional?”
That’s the big question these days, and the answer is leaning more and more toward self publish. You can send your manuscript around to different publishers — and this could be a better option if you can find some that specialize in your niche — but it’s really simple these days to create your own book and upload it to Amazon or Gumroad and start selling it. You’ll have to market your book whether you go through a traditional publisher or DIY, but you’ll get more of the profit if you self publish.
And don’t worry if you don’t have a clue where to begin. There are marketers (as well as those ghostwriters I mentioned) who know how to format your book so it renders correctly on digital book readers, and who can help you get it listed on the right sites.
“How Do I Get Started?”
My recommendation is to start reading. Read all the books on what you want to write yours on that you can find. Take notes. What’s missing in those books that you can cover in yours? What do you like? What turns you off? The more books you read, the more ideas you’ll get for your own book.
Next, write an outline of chapters. These will be the big topics you cover. If your book is short, you might have just 5 chapters. If it is longer, it might have 15 or even 30. Once you build out your chapters, fill in your outline with subheadings and topics to include in each chapter.
If you want to work with a ghostwriter, you’ll collaborate on this part. Realize you will need to dedicate time to imparting your particular industry knowledge so the book reflects what you know, and not the ghostwriter. Scheduling weekly calls or meetings can be helpful, so you can make sure she’s writing in the tone and direction you want, and you can regularly review her work to help her improve it.
Writing a book on your area of expertise is an excellent way to create name recognition, attract more clients, and open the doors for other opportunities, like interviews and speaking engagements. You’ve got the industry knowledge you need to write a book; now all you have to do is commit to writing it this year, possibly with the help of a ghostwriter.
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Susan Guillory is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, including How to Get More Customers With Press Releases, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on TwitterRead Full Bio