There are no shortcuts on the road to success. That is undeniable.
But there are ways to beat your competition to the finish line.
One way is through the intentional establishment of authority. The perception of authority means that more people will listen to your message. And trust you. And hire you.
And one fast-track to authority is authorship – sharing your knowledge, your experiences, your insight. Most people look at authors of books as authorities. Right or wrong, there is a perception that if you have enough knowledge to write a book, you must know more than most people.
That perception of authority leads to the reality of increased business. In a Bloomberg study, 96% of the business book authors surveyed said they realized a significant positive impact on their businesses from writing a book and would recommend the practice.
Simply put, people who write the book, get the business.
It’s been estimated that 81% of Americans – approximately 200 million people – feel they have a book inside them. But less than a fraction of 1 percent ever writes one. Here’s some general advice as to how to become part of that 1 percent.
WHAT DO I WRITE ABOUT?
Bait the hook to suit the fish, not the fisherman. Many authors make this mistake. They write the book that they want to write and then hope there’s an audience that cares enough to read it. Instead, authors should ask, “What is the yearning, burning problem that my target customer is grappling with?” Then write a book that addresses that.
What you write about has to be of importance to people who have the capacity and the desire to give your business money. What we mean by that is, a lot of people write a book for the masses. The truth is, if you’re writing for everybody, you’re really writing for nobody.
HOW DO I GET MY BOOK WRITTEN?
Many good writers never complete a book. Not because they’re not passionate about it. Writing a book takes a lot of time and commitment and that can be paralyzing.
It takes, on average, more than three years for a business person to write his or her own book.
Plus many successful business people are better at verbalizing ideas than they are at writing them down.
So maybe you shouldn’t write the book yourself.
Consider working with someone who has writing experience and can help you through the process. Working with a third party to create your book enables you to finish the process in as little as six months.
HOW DO I PUBLISH MY BOOK?
The good news is that it has never been easier to get a book published. The not-so-good news is, because it’s never been easier, it’s never been more important that the book be done correctly.
There are three avenues you can take: self-publishing, traditional publishing, or hybrid publishing.
Self-publishing is pretty simple; you do it all yourself. You reap all the benefits and maintain full control. You also have to figure everything out on your own.
The big problem is that 90 percent of books that are self-published look like they’re self-published. If the image your book creates in the minds of your audience is not congruent with the quality you provide, it will do you more harm than good.
The other side of the coin is traditional publishing. Yes, there’s prestige, distribution networks and validation, but this may not be a realistic option for most people. There are fewer traditional publishers and most are raising the bar on what they will accept. Most authors who get those contracts already have an established track record in their platforms.
Other challenges: it takes an average of twelve to eighteen months to get published, the publisher owns the rights to the book, you lose creative control, and there’s a lack of significant marketing help.
Then there’s hybrid publishing. Publisher’s Weekly calls it the ‘third option’ – the gray area between self-publishing and traditional publishing. Hybrid-publishing houses charge a fee to have books written, designed and sold, connecting authors with in-house professional writers, editors and designers.
If you go this route, however, you have to understand that the aim of hybrid publishing is not to sell books. The benefits don’t come from royalties. The goal is to use your book as a marketing tool – as the ultimate professional calling card. The book serves as the foundation for generating leads, attracting media and booking speaking engagements.
If done right, creating a book is an investment with exponential returns as long as you go in with your eyes wide open.