It’s hardly news that every entrepreneur today should consider publishing a book.
That said, it can be hard to get a contract as a non-celebrity author, and the process often moves at an interminable pace. If your book does get acquired by a publisher, you may have to wait years for it to be released.
But without a traditional publisher, how are you supposed to think of—and execute—a book that will help build your business?
ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS
The idea is probably sitting right in front of you. Just ask yourself: What do I know how to do better than anyone else in the world? Connect that answer to why people hire you or use your product or service. And then think of your book as a tool that can help readers who can’t afford to hire you while attracting those who can.
Write with your ideal reader in mind. When I wrote a book that landed me on Good Morning America, I thought about one person—an acquaintance I’d talked to about publishing his book. On every page, I asked myself if what I was writing would speak to him. As far as I know, he never read my book. He certainly never hired my company. But dozens of other people just like him did read the book, so the book that netted me a few thousand dollars in sales netted me hundreds of thousands of dollars in new business.
That’s the thing about an avatar. Where there’s one, there’s many; and the more tailored your writing is to your ideal client, the more likely it is to bring in more.
HAVE A PLAN TO PROMOTE
The main mistake I see entrepreneurs make when launching a book is assuming that on the day of launch, the media and event bookers are going to come calling. Alas, no. Over a million books are launched on Amazon every year, so the chances of that are almost nonexistent.
And that’s why you need to have a specific launch plan in place. Create a launch squad by giving a copy of the book to as many people as possible before the release, and guide them through buying and reviewing it on launch day. That will kick the Amazon algorithm into gear so that the site starts recommending it.
Also, as you’re writing, ask yourself: Who can help me promote this book when I launch it? Make a list of friends who have large newsletter lists or active social followings. Get them enlisted in this project early on and instead of asking them for an endorsement, ask them to promote your book when it’s out. Think about it like this: Have you ever bought a book because of who endorsed it? I’m guessing no. But have you ever bought a book because someone you trusted recommended it? I’m guessing yes. (Of course, if your amazingly well-connected and esteemed friend will recommend and endorse it, all the better.)
Also, ask yourself: What podcasts do I want to be on to promote the book? What publications do I want to feature me when the book comes out? And who do I know who can help me get on those shows and in those publications?
HAVE A PLAN TO USE YOUR BOOK
Perhaps the most important question to ask yourself when writing is which potential clients you can send the book to when it’s done. If none come to mind, ask yourself if you know people who know your potential clients.
Always remind yourself that this isn’t about how many books you sell, but about the right people reading it. Write for them and it will pay off over and over again.
Anna David is a NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of eight books, founder of Legacy Launch Pad Publishing, TEDx speaker, TV book critic