A lot of business people we know have specific expertise to share with the world but just haven’t had a chance to turn it into a book. So on April 16, 2017 Launch Workplaces in Gaithersburg held a sold-out free seminar about “How to Write a Book and Get it Published.” It featured a panel of writers and marketing experts including Meredith Maslich from Eaton Press, author John Kolm, storyteller Jessica Robinson and marketing expert Jennifer Crawford. Here is what we learned!
Why Write a Book
The hard truth is, most books do not sell more than a few dozen copies. But a business book can be your deluxe business card. It can open new doors such as speaking engagements, guest blogging, and media appearances because it makes you appear more credible and as an expert in your field. A book is actually just another media channel for your message combined with your other social media channels. These media opportunities can turn into real revenue for you as prospective clients with specific problems seek you out.
It feels daunting to sit down and write an entire business book at once and stay focused. To get started, think about what you are passionate about, what is underserved in the market, and what your goals are for a book.
Author John Kolm had notebooks full of leadership advice he had given people over the years, so he started with those. He culled it down to things he thought weren’t commonly known, then from there cut that down to a manageable number of points, in his case, 16. Finally, he created a character and a parable type of story that would illustrate and drive home each point in his book Crocodile Charlie.
Creating a story around the information is a good strategy because people remember stories over facts and figures and most importantly, the emotions contained within the story. So it’s important to include stories or case studies in all of your writing endeavors. It’s also helpful to have a specific person in mind as your audience when you are writing, as a trick to maintain focus. One business coach had her teenage daughter in mind as she wrote, for example, because she was hopeful that young women would benefit from her book. Who is your target audience? Whom do you know that is in that target audience? Write with authenticity and generosity directly to that person and the book will start to take shape.
Another option in getting starting is developing your content in other places, such as essays, press releases, blogs, podcasts or You Tube videos. This can help you test your ideas and break a large project into smaller pieces. You can also team up with other writers, with each of you writing one chapter, or you can even hire ghost writers to get the job done.
But whatever path you choose, they all require discipline and the panel suggests you approach it as if you have a gym membership: do it daily and be dedicated. Join a writer’s group. Set small goals for yourself such as write 30 blogs in 30 days or enter a writing contest. For inspiration the panel suggests reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.
Publishing Your Book
The hard part is over – you have your book finished! Now how do you get it published? With today’s ebooks and self-publishing it’s easier than ever to share your message with the world. And no one ever asks you if Random House or Penguin was your publisher so don’t get hung up on the big names. The most important things are to hire a professional editor to edit the book and a professional graphic designer to lay it out and design the cover. Do not skimp on these expenses because you want to put your best foot forward. “You can expect to pay in the range of $1000 and up for these services from self-publishing companies or freelancers,” says Meredith Maslich.
To get ideas on publishing companies look at other authors in your space and see who they used.
Promoting Your Book
If you thought you were done writing when you finished your book you are mistaken. Next you need to get the word out that you have a book and that you are available to speak on the topic. In fact, you should have started building your audience and promotional network while you were still writing the book. Once the book is published and available, it’s important to have a large social media following because media outlets want to tap into your relationships as digital currency. Share pieces of your writing on all social media channels. Look for any opportunities in your space to promote yourself as an expert. Give the books away to industry influencers. Talk about your book in a podcast. Use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as necessary to share your message.
Writing a book can seem overwhelming but by following these steps you are certain to experience success.
Because we believe in the power of books and storytelling, Launch Workplaces is considering hosting a writer’s club in our Gaithersburg location. If you are interested in joining us contact us today for more information as this group unfolds!
written by Karen Kalantzis
Community Manager at Launch Workplaces