Think book business strategy before you start to write
Before you rush off to pen your bestselling brand-building business book, let’s take a reality check and think about your book business strategy.
A book is part of your overall business strategy; it is not the strategy. When working with my clients, the conversation is about the vision for their business and then considering how their book will help to bring that alive.
Remember, it is a rare author who makes a mint from books alone. The key is to see your book as a product and not a creative outlet (although of course it is a creative outlet…). You need to use your entrepreneurial mind-set to visualise it as a product which you have designed to open up other opportunities. If one of your business objectives is to become an after-dinner speaker, your book could lead the way to your first engagement. That speaking opportunity will recoup the cost of writing your book.
Even bestselling “Chicken Soup for the Soul” is much more than ‘just’ books. The creators turned their speaking careers into books and then built a personal development community. They have sold over 122 million copies and now also sell greetings cards, flowers and even pet food.
The great news is that having a book for your business is even more accessible than ever.
Bowker counted more than 391,000 self-published titles in 2012, which is a 59% increase compared to the year before. From 2007 to date, that is a staggering 422%. Out of all the ISBNs counted in 2012, 40% were self-published books.
This is because it is easier than ever, with companies like Amazon offering publishing through Kindle and CreateSpace, to publish your brand-building book.
Book sales are just one small piece of your marketing armory. If you spend your energy in marketing your higher- priced products and services, which are based around your book, you will bring in more income and build greater influence. It is worth remembering that the sales of products and services, including speaking, online courses and workshops, will impact your bottom line more than what you will make from direct sales of books (unless you are very lucky).
For example, I make more money from online courses, than I do from book sales. This was a very deliberate strategy. Each of my books has an associated online course and one of them I use for a writers retreat and other face to face courses. I always knew that the greater potential lay with other products built around the books.
Many entrepreneurial authors don’t look to book sales as a source of income, preferring instead to give away (or make them low cost) copies of their books. They use the books as marketing tools to bring in other benefits and income.
They invest in producing the best possible book, with the intention of exploiting that book to create business opportunities that will bring in real income.
Questions to ask yourself
- Do you need to be seen as an authority in your field? Yes! Having a book will help you to be able to reach a larger audience
- Do you want to reach more people with your message? Yes! Books are distributed globally and your message can be read all over the world, and from there you can consider how you can maximise that opportunity
- Do you need to develop your brand? Yes! Having a book will raise your profile and help to establish you as a credible go-to source for your subject matter
What or where are your greatest opportunities?
Is there one opportunity that currently speaks to you? Consider which book idea that might be.
- When you know which opportunity, consider how you will exploit it. What are the steps to bringing that idea to market?
Note: If you are not planning to build a business strategy around your book, but you are going to use it for personal reasons, please consider what those reasons might be. You may be writing this for your family or for a support group.
You are looking for the most relevant opportunities to exploit now. For example, you could use your book:-
- For an online course
- For a workshop series
- As the basis for a speaking career
- To establish your credibility as a thought-leader
- As a business card at networking events to encourage membership of your community
- To target it at corporates and position yourself as an expert and run courses and coaching around it
- To grow your community
- All of the above
Knowing your business strategy is one part of the puzzle. Review who the reader for this book is and how you can address their needs, concerns or challenges. If you find that you have a number of ideas, consider a series of books. Then work out how to create your book business strategy. Ask how does that fit with your overall business strategy?
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Plan your non fiction book in a weekend has been designed to help you to be able to undertake all of the vital planning tasks that make writing a book – simple and stress free
Each day to help you create your book, I am going to answer these essential planning questions:-
- What kind of planner am I and why is this important to know?
- What tools and resources do I need?
- What is the process and cost of writing and publishing a book?
- How long will it take me?
- How do I get ideas for my book?
- How do I choose the ONE big idea for my book?
- What is an outline and how do I create one?
- How can I structure my chapters?
- How do I create and use a book proposal?