Guest Post: 6 Powerful Reasons You Should Write a Book–and How to Get Started Today

Jan
2012
30

posted by on professional development, tips on writing a book, writing, writing a book

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By Steve Harrison

In the 20+ years I’ve spent working with entrepreneurs and authors, I’ve found that one of the best ways to grow your business is to be seen as an expert. People value experts’ opinions and advice. They want to buy from the man or woman who wrote a book on topics they’re interested in.

How to become known as the expert in your niche
Surveys show that more than 80 percent of Americans dream of writing a book someday. But most will never do it. So if you have written a book, people will see you as having accomplished something that sets you apart from other experts.

Writing a book will elevate your status, your income and your influence. It will also position you as a knowledgeable authority they can trust. Let me give you an example of how this works.

A few years ago, I spoke to a mortgage loan officer who told me this story. He said that he used to get calls all the time from people asking about his mortgage rates. The minute he told them, they’d hang up the phone and start calling around looking for the cheapest rate. He realized he needed to find a way to stand out from other mortgage brokers. He then decided to target people who had a bankruptcy in their past and now needed a mortgage. So he wrote a book about how people who have had a bankruptcy or foreclosure can still get mortgages.

The book brought him a lot of local publicity. He did a number of radio, TV and print interviews and even got his own radio show. Now people were contacting him after reading his book or seeing him on TV. Clients would come into this office and feel privileged to learn from an expert on this subject, and some even asked him to autograph their book. This is a powerful example of how writing a book can help you expand your business tremendously.

What writing a book will do for you
A lot of exciting new opportunities will arise once you become a published author. Here are some of the biggest benefits that could come your way:

A lot of exciting new opportunities will arise once you become a published author. Here are some of the biggest benefits that could come your way:

1. Free publicity. It’s much easier to get radio, TV, magazine and online publicity if you have a book. The media need experts to interview, and often call upon authors to comment on timely topics in the news.
2. More sales leads and referrals. Once you have a book, you can promote and sell it to your existing customers. Some authors give their books away to key clients to create more word of mouth. This is a great way for people in a service business to generate referrals, since a book is much more powerful than a brochure.
3. Speaking engagements. People who book for corporate events, conferences or workshops may never have heard you speak, but they know people want to hear from someone who’s written a book. Almon Gunter is a good example. He’s a former world-class sprinter turned motivational speaker who wrote a book called Focus on the Final Seconds. Almon told me, “I had a very successful business before, but the book increased my speaking engagements by 50 percent.”
4. Higher fees. People are willing to pay an expert more money than someone without that expertise. Having your name on a book usually leads to higher name recognition–and the ability to command higher fees.
5. Dream customers will find you. The best way to take your client base to the next level is to find customers who can spend a lot more money with you. This is something that happens all the time for authors. Their completed book is like having a marketing agent that never sleeps; it continues to build exposure and bring in new clients.
6. It could lead to a whole new future. Your book can make the difference between feeling stuck in your current career and doing what you’re really called to do. Greg Kozera was a Halliburton executive with a passion for leadership. He believes that no one is a born leader–you have to learn how to lead. After Greg wrote a book called Learned Leadership, it generated so many speaking engagements that he was able to leave his job and speak full time.
So, whether you want to reinvent yourself, increase your sales and publicity or generate a whole new line of business or a consulting practice, a book can do that for you.

10 possible formats for writing a good book FAST!
Let’s say I’ve convinced you that it’s a good idea to publish a book. How do you decide what to write about? I’d like to make it easier by giving you some examples of different formats you can choose from. Starting with a proven model will make the writing process much less overwhelming. (Note: most of these ideas are designed for nonfiction authors.)
1. The Mistakes Book. People are always interested in learning about mistakes they can
avoid, so this is a popular format. A good example is this title: New Sales Speak: The
9 Biggest Sales Presentation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them by Terri Sjodin.

2. The How-to Book. I want to address a concern that many authors have. They often
ask me, “Why should I put what I know into book form? Will people still buy from me if I
give away this information?” Yes, and here’s why. Dan Kennedy is a well-known copywriter who gets paid tens of thousands of dollars to write a sales letter. But he still wrote a book called The Ultimate Sales Letter. By revealing how difficult it is to write strong sales letters and how much work goes into it, Dan’s book has brought him many new paying clients. When you give readers good solid information but don’t tell them everything you know, they will want to contact you to find out more.
3. The Question and Answer Book. Do people ask you questions when they hear about your area of expertise? Which questions are you asked most often? Maybe they could become the basis for a book. A good example is What’s a Synthesizer? Simple Answers to Common Questions by John Eiche. Imagine having a book titled “Answers to Your Most Common Questions:” (about your topic), and see what comes to mind.

4. The __ Ways to Do Something Book. You’ve probably heard of the bestselling book 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth. This is a format that many authors have successfully imitated. You can use any number–7, 10 and 101 are other numbers that are frequently used.

5. The How to Hire Someone Book. Two books that use this format effectively are How to Hire a Nanny and Before You Hire a Contractor, this a great way to showcase your expertise and gain new clients by sharing information you’ve learned in your line of business.

6. The Book of Interviews. J.M. Trippon is a CPA who followed this model when he wrote How Millionaires Stay Rich Forever. His book became a great networking tool that enabled him to connect with millionaires and interview them.
7. The Collection of Stories. One of the bestsellers our company helped launch is Chicken Soup for the Soul. This format is easy to follow–you request other people’s stories on a particular topic and choose the best ones to reprint (once you get their permission). Sales trainer Dan Seidman wrote another book I really enjoyed. In Sales Autopsy, he told and analyzed 50 funny stories about salespeople who have really screwed up a sale.
8. The Memoir or Biography. Most of us love hearing other people’s stories, if they’re compelling and well told. That’s why memoirs and autobiographies often show up on bestseller lists. Consider telling your own or a family member’s life story or sharing lessons from your life.
9. The Joke or Quotation Book. People don’t think lawyers are funny, but two attorneys disproved that when they compiled The Lawyer’s Joke Book. The media love topics that are funny and entertaining. This joke book opened many doors for the authors and led to dozens of media interviews.
10. The Collection of Your Previous Writings. Have you been doing a blog or writing articles? Do you publish a newsletter or an ezine? These could provide lots of great material for a book.
I hope I’ve inspired you to embark on your own book project. Writing a book is not as difficult as many people think. Like all journeys, it begins with a single step. I encourage you to take that step, and wish you the very best in your quest to grow your business by becoming a published author.

Note: This article originally appeared in Steve Harrison’s paid print newsletter Book Marketing Update which goes to members of my Million Dollar Author Club – get info at http://www.milliondollarauthorclub.com

 

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