Thinking of writing a book for your business? Hoping to get rich quick? Read on, Macduff…
“If writing a book is good enough for J. K. Rowling, it’s good enough for me! Yeah!”
And who can blame you?
J. K. Rowling’s most recent royalty cheque was mahoosive.
Do you know how much it was for? Are you sitting down?
It was around £34 million.
Thirty. Four. Million. Pounds.
And the year before, she earned around £72.3 million.
I am delighted because it’s 2019 and authors can still make an absolute killing in a world where more people seem to take pride in saying they don’t read books.
But if you’re hoping a book can do the same for you, I have a bucket of cold water for your face.
Occasionally, business owners tell me they’re secretly dreaming of rolling around naked in piles of cash like Scrooge McDuck. Perhaps you think a book could make you filthy rich. Maybe you’re dreaming of the kind of royalty cheques people like J. K. Rowling and James Patterson receive.
And, you know, that might happen. I’m not saying you definitely won’t become the Next Big Thing in the publishing industry.
But let’s face it, chances are vanishingly rare.
Here’s the bucket of water: most books wither and die before anyone other than the author’s mum has a chance to read them.
They collapse, quietly, like an old mushroom at the bottom of the garden.
Because the author gets very excited about their Big Idea, writes like a dervish, releases their book into the wild… then sits back and waits for the world to beat a path to their door.
In a perfect world, the best books would do well without any effort.
We do not live in a perfect world, though. We live in this world, and this world likes to extract its pound of flesh and pint of blood.
Before you stop reading in disgust, though, wait just one cotton pickin’ minute—it’s entirely possible to make plenty of money from your book. Just not, perhaps, in the way you might think.
Your book—unless you’re somehow charmed or you’re Dan Kennedy or Simon Sinek or Brené Brown—isn’t going to land you a colossal royalty cheque that’ll let you buy that yacht you’ve been drooling over.
It won’t leap straight to the top of the New York Times bestseller list.
And it won’t make you a whopping famous overnight success. (Psst: overnight successes take years.)
And I want you to write your book anyway. Here are 8 reasons why.
Before we start, though, let’s be clear: this article isn’t about fiction. Nor poetry.
I’m talking about writing a book for and about your business and your customers and clients. A book that will enrich your life and your business—and your clients’ lives.
We even have a phrase for being an expert on something: he wrote the book on it.
“Oh, Sasha? Yes, she wrote the book on applying quantum dynamics to fly fishing.”
“You’re looking for someone to fix your Land Rover? You want Emma. She wrote the book on living with Land Rovers.”
“Talk to John. He wrote the book on vegetarian barbecue feasts.”
Rightly or wrongly, we still look up to authors as being somehow superhuman (we’re not, you know).
That reverence goes back to the days when most peasants like you and I were illiterate. Wisdom was hoarded by a few old men at pulpits and dished out as advice and instruction and guilt on a Sunday morning.
Reading and writing were the preserve of the wealthy, and the rest of us had to look up at them from the gutter.
Well, we’ve never had it better: we can even publish from the gutter now. And doing so will lift you out of it and crown you as the expert in your field.
Oh, and if you feel like you don’t know enough to write a book, and you feel like a big fake—don’t. Let’s put aside the fact that you almost certainly do know enough.
Another lasting benefit of writing a book is this: by the time you’ve finished writing your book, you’ll know and understand far more than you did before.
And you’ll feel more confident about it too.
When people know you’re the author of a book—the book on the subject—they’ll want a piece of you. You’ll start receiving invitations to collaborate. Introductions to people who are fascinating and who want to know more about you.
Clients will approach you—people who may not otherwise have given you a second glance.
Your book will help you get more public speaking gigs, and give you more opportunities to get into a room face-to-face with potential clients and customers. It’ll also give you something to sell or give away at the back of the room—talk about the ultimate business card. In fact, I don’t even have a business card anymore. I just carry a couple of copies of my book around and give people that.
Business cards are small squares of paper, and they get thrown away. Yes, they do—what do you do with the business cards people give you? You lose them in your pockets or bags, then find them months later, squint at them in confusion because you can’t remember who gave it to you, or why—then you throw them away.
Books, on the other hand, are never thrown away. If you give someone a book, they’ll take care of it. They’ll put it on a shelf, or even on their desk where they can see it. Sooner or later, they’ll read it.
The recipient of your book will not forget you. And when they have an opportunity that will suit someone like you, your book will remind them and they’ll be in touch.
We looooooove celebrities.
Oh, we do. Even those of us who proclaim loftily that we are above all that nonsense. We all love a good gossip because we are humans. And we all look up to those who are famous.
Of course, sometimes looking up to famous people isn’t wise (ahem—I’m looking at you The Only Way Is Essex—ahem)… but we do it anyway.
If someone’s on some kind of a pedestal, we’re attracted to them. We want to be near them, to know more about them, to learn from them, and—crucially—to buy from them. We look to celebrities for how to behave, for help in living our lives and in running our businesses.
Writing a book will help you become a celebrity in your industry. Every industry has its stars, and they have all written a book.
Noel Fitzpatrick is the Super Vet, and he’s written a book (Listen to the Animals).
Brené Brown is the world’s foremost researcher on shame, vulnerability, and generally living a better life, and she’s written many books. I urge you to read them all because she is terrific.
Dr Oz is one of the most famous doctors in the world, appearing regularly on Oprah Winfrey’s show (he’s also a shameless peddler of pseudoscience and harmful nonsense, but that’s not the point here). He’s written many books.
Amal Clooney is probably one of the most famous lawyers in the world—but she was well-known in her field before she married Gorgeous George. She has written a book (The Right to a Fair Trial in International Law).
And pretty much every US presidential candidate has written a book.
And, of course, The Bible has made Jesus a pretty big name, right? (Yes, I know he didn’t write it, but you get the idea.)
Being a celebrity in your industry is a good thing. Someone has to claim the top spot—why not you? Writing a great book will help you claim that top spot.
When you write a book, you get to lay down your law. Your rules of engagement. The way you do business.
You get to share your opinions—even the unpopular or controversial ones.
And, of course, you get to put your personality and your story into it.
The people who read it will either love you for all this or hate you for it.
Those who hate you for it will simply walk away from you, and you’ll never have to work with anyone who wouldn’t have been a good fit anyway. You’ve avoided wasting time and energy trying to woo clients who are unsuitable and may cause you to want to poke out your own eyeballs with a spoon.
Those who love you for it, though, will want more from you, and will seek out your other products and services… they’ll want to be in your world. Even if they don’t become a client right away, you’re bringing the right type of people into your universe.
We hear a lot about relationship-building. Specifically from people talking about building relationships with brands. Well, that’s phooey—you can’t build a relationship with a brand any more than you can build a relationship with a table.
You can forge a relationship with people, though. You are your brand, and you need to develop a relationship with potential clients if you want them to consider working with you. You know all this; it’s why you spend time on social media, blogging, doing interviews, doing webinars, writing emails… it’s all about helping potential clients get to know the real you.
Well, your book will fast-track this process.
It’s a big chunky repository of you: your book contains your skills, your experience, your stories, and your personality all in one easy-to-access place. Your reader will get a huge dose of you in a variety of intimate settings.
Think about where you read books. In bed. On the bus or train. Curled up on the sofa under a blanket in your pyjamas. While you’re driving (if it’s an audiobook). Lying on a beach. In the bath. On the toilet. (You don’t get much more intimate than that, right?)
Your reader chooses to make you a part of their life, and I’m telling you, that kind of intimacy fast-tracks relationships—and shortens the customer journey considerably.
The thing about writing a book—at least writing a book my way—is that it forces you to pick one Big Idea. One of the biggest challenges business owners face when marketing their goods and services is being specific.
Most business owners try to sell everything all at once. They start with one message—then dilute it with everything else they can think of until nobody cares what they’re saying at all.
You can’t do that with a book, because if you do, your book will be an unreadable mishmash of incoherent thoughts. Writing a book forces you to pick your main message—the number one thing you do to delight your customers and clients and solve their problems—and shows readers exactly what your area of expertise is. It gives you and your business clarity.
Then it stands in for much of that messy marketing because once you have your flagship book with your Big Idea, which talks about how you can improve your readers’ lives, you can market your book instead of your business.
You market your book; your book markets your business.
You have one thing to focus on selling to brand new customers and clients, and your book introduces them to the rest of your products and services.
Do you ever feel like a fraud? An imposter?
Perhaps you feel like you couldn’t possibly write a book because you do not have enough skills or experience?
If so, you’re not alone. I think it’s one of the most common afflictions among business owners. Deep down, we’re all wondering when we’re going to be “found out”. When someone’s going to come along and tell us to stop because we have no right. That we can’t possibly write a book.
Our ridiculous, magnificent brains continually find ways to undermine our work and our skills and our expertise—and it’s troublesome to stop our minds sabotaging us like that.
If you can write a book about what you do, though… you’ll astonish yourself. In writing your book, in telling your stories, and in sharing your experience and expertise with the world, you’ll realise just how fabulous you are.
You’ll understand how highly skilled you are.
And you’ll accept that you are good enough.
I’m telling you right now—I’m promising you, in fact—that you can write a book. You are more than capable of doing so.
I cannot even tell you what a confidence booster writing your own book is—especially when you start to receive messages from readers telling you how much of an impact your book has had on their lives.
When you see the looks on people’s faces when they find out you’ve written a book, it lifts your heart and your morale.
And once you’ve written your book, started selling it, and have it in your hands it’ll spur you onto greater things.
Have you read To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee? Or Fear of Flying by Erica Jong?
Those two books have changed worlds.
How about Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill—credited with creating more millionaires than any other book ever?
How about The Bible? The Quran? The Talmud? The Vedas? The Sutras? All books that have changed the world—and inspired huge actions, good and bad.
Then some books change worlds in smaller ways. Books like Daring Greatly by Brené Brown and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, both of which changed my life for the better.
Your book is no different; not really.
Your book has the power to change the world. Maybe not in a vast, sweeping global manner… but certainly on a human level for those people who read it.
And, you know, I’m all about growing my business and living a comfortable life, and money is always nice—but it’d be empty without feeling like I make a difference. So when I get emails like this from my clients, I know I’ve helped change someone’s world for the better, and it makes me so damn happy.
“Thanks to your book, regular emails, podcast and now superheroes I am enjoying the richest Xmas I have had in 4 years! You have literally taken me and my boy from the poverty line to now enjoying a bit of cash to pay for proper pressies and posh food again. Thank you.”
That message was from one of my clients, and it made my year.
If you have something to say, and the will to help make the world a better place in your own field, your book can help you do that.
I’m going to ask you a question now. Will you write a book?
Do you believe you can write a book?
Because I’m telling you, you can. Absolutely you can, and it’ll be easier than you think—and more enjoyable.
You might be thinking, “But Vicky, you’re a writer! It’s easy for you to say ‘write a book’, it comes naturally to you!”
Well, yeah. I am a writer. But guess what? I wasn’t a writer until I wrote a book.
Writing didn’t come naturally to me until I practised.
So write your book. Tell your story. Share your truth and help make the world a better place.
Then tell the world about it, because just writing your book isn’t enough. You have to get it out there and get it working for you.
If you want to learn more about how to write, self-publish, and market a book for your business, snaffle yourself a copy of How The Hell Do You Write A Book? Then check out the blog and podcast for more articles and guides. If you want a little (or a lot) more help, find out how you can work with me.
Vicky Fraser is the founder of Moxie Books and author of How The Hell Do You Write A Book and Business For Superheroes. She helps business owners write books, connect with readers and new customers, and grow their businesses. When she's not doing that, she's hanging from a trapeze by her feet.
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