Everyone wants street cred these days – wannabe gangsters, frat boys, even your grandma. Establishing a reputation before you sit at the bargaining table prevents you from being swindled, rejected, or worse, not being taken seriously.

Luckily for businesspeople, getting published is becoming the new “street cred” in the business world. Being introduced as the author of a book in your specific niche carries an aura of credibility. While not everyone makes it on the bestseller list, a book creates plenty of opportunities.

How You Can Make It Work

Authorship is perceived as expertise, and publishing a book is a reliable, non-abrasive marketing method. Instead of rubbing your ad in a prospect’s face, you’re sharing your knowledge, which naturally boosts credibility. And there are some incredibly cost-efficient ways to get your point across.

Rather than wasting time and money printing a physical book that may or may not make a profit, take advantage of ever-evolving technology and the blessed eBook. Not only are they more readily available and less costly than physical books, eBooks are also easily edited and updated. While a mobile app expert may answer the top 10 FAQs on designing for iOS, new details constantly pop up that should be included (if Apple’s doing things right!). With an eBook, you can easily update the content once the book is published. As a bonus, updating the book is a good excuse to contact your readers and offer them new material for free!

However, none of this matters if the book itself doesn’t add value. You have to target the people who will benefit from your work and provide them with information they don’t currently have – but not so much information that you’ll drive yourself right out of business. The following are 8 tips on how to successfully use your authorship as an avenue to build up your expertise in your field.

1. Try to solve a common problem in your niche. You are probably aware of the most common questions and issues in your niche. Start there. You want your book to appeal to as many people as possible, so start by casting a wide net. If you’re a computer tech, answer the 10 most frequently asked questions about the new Windows 8 operating system in eBook form.

2. Make it easy for people to share. Embed social media links in the eBook itself, making it clear that readers can share it for free, and invite them to do so with an “email to friends” function. Make the title SEO-friendly so it will show up in search results and appear on related websites (i.e., Windows 8 Guide). Of course, you should advertise your book on your own site, but you may also want to create a separate, search engine-optimized website just for your book. You can register a domain (such as www.Windows8Help.com) and tailor this URL to rank well for relevant queries.

3. Remember: quality over quantity. You don’t need to write a 100-page book. It’s often better to write a shorter book that gets to the root of the problem. Remember, the book is a direct reflection of you, and if it appears sloppy (low-quality cover, poor grammar, shoddy formatting, etc.), people will believe you’re sloppy as well. This is your first impression, so make it a good one.

4. Don’t advertise. Excessive ads within the book will turn clients off, and they’ll be less likely to share it. (Besides, you want to create something you’re proud of and can distribute to your friends and family, who will then pass it on to their friends and family.) Provide your contact information in the footer of the book as a reference for readers. You could even insert a special offer — include a final page at the end that warmly invites the reader to use your services or product at a discount. For example, you could say, “We’re here to fix all of your computer issues. For our kind readers, we’ll take an extra 10 percent off your next service. Contact us now and mention the coupon code ‘eBook123.’”

5. Don’t give away the whole pie. The goal of the book is to provide broad, quality information, while still keeping some secrets. You want to help readers with the most common problems, but providing the full “bible” on the topic won’t give prospective clients any reason to contact you for assistance.

6. Keep it simple. The purpose of the book is to draw in business, and you can’t do that by frustrating the reader with jargon or tech talk he doesn’t understand. You’re not talking to other pros; they probably don’t need your services. Make sure you’re connecting with the reader by speaking with him, not at him.

7. Use it as a marketing tool. When publishing an eBook, remember that different devices (iPads, Kindles, Nooks, etc.) take different formats. Be sure to offer your book in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI at a minimum. Look for sites that specialize in eBooks, since readers often turn to these first – but also look for informative websites in your niche. In the example of the computer tech field, approach related websites and ask editors if they’d like to share your book with their audience. Many love the possibility of providing an additional free benefit to their visitors.

8. Expand the book into other avenues. Create short tutorial videos, post them on YouTube, and mention your book! Offer guest appearances on blogs, podcasts, and radio shows. Separate your book into articles. For example, if you wrote about the top 10 Windows 8 questions, you could turn that into 10 articles.

If you are trying to build credibility for yourself or your business, forget gimmicks like expensive business cards; anyone can pay someone to make those. They won’t give you any street cred trust me. Authorship is a credible way for businesspeople to showcase their expertise. You don’t need to tell people you’re a marketing expert, instead show them with your book.

With authorship, the possibilities are endless for beefing up your “street cred.” Publishing a book strengthens the power of word-of-mouth marketing and makes your name and expertise more recognizable and reputable. Your grandma’s street cred may just give her an edge in her weekly bingo game, but yours can boost your business and your bottom line.