Business writing

When you should write a business book

- August 1, 2012 2 MIN READ

Writing a business book sounds like the fast track to fame in your industry; and it can be, but not without the right foundations. Set yourself – and your book – up for success with these handy tips.

It seems everyone is writing a business book these days – or at least thinking about it. But many are doing it for the wrong reasons and at the wrong point in their business journey.

Marketing tool

If you think a writing a business book will bring instant fame and fortune, believe me: it won’t. A business book is a marketing tool; it’s not a quick fix for raising your profile. People make the mistake of thinking a book will build an immediate platform for becoming better known and in-demand for public speaking and services. That can be true in some cases, but unless you have other ingredients that demonstrate you’re a respected expert, your book may only whistle in the wind.

Some people write the book first and expect the rest to follow. But to fully leverage the significant investment in a self-published book, or before offering a manuscript to a respected publisher, I recommend ticking other boxes that raise your profile first.

Simply being good at what you do is not a strong enough platform to launch a book into the public. First, you need to build the audience for your expertise and build your business’s credibility. Your level of perceived expertise in your field depends on your involvement in activities such as events, public speaking and playing a leadership role in your industry. (For more on this, read my previous article ‘So you think you’re a subject matter expert’.)

Having an existing audience is particularly attractive to publishers because it shows them you already have a public platform they can leverage to promote your book.

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The e-book question

“What about an e-book, which can be downloaded for free from my site?” I hear you ask.

Offering a free e-book plays a role in marketing and certainly generates leads and opportunities. But it has less credibility as an authority-positioning tool within your industry and the media. Think about it: if you were offered a free e-book to download as a PDF or a hard-copy book, which would impress you as the most credible resource?

Media advantage

Writing a business book can be your entry point into the media. Gaining media coverage is a very powerful way to position yourself and your business and is a key aspect of leveraging the value of a book. A book is not just the best business card you ever had; it gives you an opportunity to build credibility using business media.

They are looking for new ideas and commentary from business experts and if you have a new book it gives them a reason to talk to you or print an article you’ve written.

But remember, you’re competing with all the other new books on an editor’s desk. What can you say about your reputation and credibility to persuade an editor you’re a respected authority?

A business book is a great tool to take you to the next level when it’s part of a mix that includes other marketing activities such as public speaking, writing a popular blog or playing a leadership role in your industry. Make your pylons strong first, so the book can build a stronger bridge to the next level.

So before you hit the publishing road, please ask yourself: are you truly ready to optimise this great moment in the life of your business? If not, then look at what you need to do to give this book the best possible lift-off.

Are thinking about writing a business book? Do you think you’re truly ready?