How can your book support your business?
I looked at the page of type in front of me and sighed. My book was nearly finished but I still had no idea how I was going to get it published. I’d heard that it can take months, years, even, to land an agent, and that the journey to publication thereafter could be as long, if not longer. But, boy-oh-boy, if I could become a Genuine Published Author, I would be on the path to fortune and fame!
The reality has been nothing like what I foresaw in my dreams. I have indeed made it into the hallowed halls of traditional publication and I’m looking forward to seeing my fifth book take its place on my bookshelf later this year. It is something for which I am eternally grateful. But the advances I get from my publisher are modest, and, once the advances are paid back to the publisher, I am entitled to $2 for every copy of a book that sells.
A Canadian best-seller, in the traditional, non-Amazon sense, sells 5,000 copies. So, doing the math, 5,000 x $2 = $10,000. How quickly can we spend $10,000 disappear?! If you’re running a business, you know you can spend it pretty quickly!
The outlook for someone who is self-published is somewhat better, in that you pay all of your publishing costs up front ($3,000-$15,000, depending on a lot of factors) and then keep whatever money you make on sales (depending on how you’ve published, and with whom).
With either option, you have marketing expenses.
So, what’s all the hype about becoming a published author? Aside from book sales itself, how do you make the investment in a book pay for itself…and more? Here are some ideas:
- Credibility. Nothing says “expert” like the fact that someone has written a book. From a marketing perspective, once you’ve written a book, you are signaling to potential clients and customers the fact that you are good at what you do and you have intelligent commentary to share about your field.
- Getting speaking engagements. Organizations are more open to hiring speakers who have written a book than those who have not. Plus, the one-to-many conversation you can have as a speaker leverages your time and energy so that you have the opportunity to streamline your sales/marketing efforts.
- Back-of-the-room book sales. Once you are on the speaking circuit, if you have a book to sell you can capitalize on the goodwill you generate as a speaker and generate revenue through book sales. Traditionally-published authors have the opportunity to buy author copies of their book at a preferred rate, which enables them to sell at the retail price for a good profit. Since your speaking promotes your business as well as your books, it’s a win-win situation.
- Lead-generation for your product or service. Ideally, your business book should share some solid information about what you do and invite people to work with you. Some authors include in their book some links to helpful templates on their website; others simply invite people to work with them through a call to action either in every chapter or at the end of the book.
- Publicity for your business. Once you’ve written a book, you can generate press interest through a publicity campaign that mentions your business name and includes a link to your website. Make sure you include any links to press articles about your book on your website, as well, so visitors to your site can see the evidence of your success.
It takes a lot of diligence to turn your book into a revenue-generator, and many of the authors I work with are not primarily motivated by the money. But steady effort and ongoing commitment to the task pays off.