“I’m just launching my business. Should I write a book now to build credibility or should I wait until I have a larger platform?”
I saw this question the other day on a business forum and promptly answered: Yes.
Yes, you can write a book now; it can be a great way to build your reputation and your list. And yes, you can wait until you have a larger platform and use it to reach an even wider audience.
(And yes, you can write more than one book.)
Now, before we go further, let me make it clear that not everyone needs to write a book or should write a book. Plenty of very successful businesses have been launched and sustained without a book in sight. So if the thought of writing a book feels more exhausting than exciting, that’s cool. Don’t stress it.
But if it’s the kind of thing that sounds intriguing, or if you’ve been telling yourself that you’d like to write a book “someday,” then consider that “someday” today, and read on for some tips on 'how to publish a book to become influential and boost your business credibility'.
Step 1: Choose Your Topic
First of all, decide on a topic. Don’t try to write the definitive book of Everything You Know; keep it short and focused on solving a single problem for your clients.
For example, if you’re a health coach, you might write a book aimed at helping business travelers eat healthy while on the road - rather than trying to tackle fitness, food and lifestyle all in one go. If you’re a photographer, you could write a book on prepping for a photoshoot or getting the best possible wedding photos.
You know your ideal clients better than I do. Write for the kind of person you want on your list and be sure that you’re solving a specific problem for them.
Step 2: Integrate Your Opt-In
Platforms such as Amazon give you access to an enormous platform to sell your book. The only issue is you don’t have a way to know who has bought your book or a way to contact the buyer later.
This is why you must give readers a reason to come back to you and sign up for your list. And it’s not enough to put a link to your website at the back of the book and hope for the best.
You’ll be more successful if you build in links throughout the book that support the content and offer value to the reader at no extra charge.
If you’re writing on strength training, for example, you could link to bonus videos that demonstrate good form. If you’re teaching businesses how to brand, you could link to bonus worksheets they can use to assess their own branding needs. Use your book to your advantage and incorporate your bonus offers so they work naturally with the content.
Some possible book bonuses could include:
Audio version of your book
Videos (instructional, interviews, etc.)
Free discovery sessions (be careful with this one; you don’t want to commit tons of time to tire-kickers)
Access to a private discussion group
Step 3: Package Your Book
This is where a lot of entrepreneurial authors drop the ball. They create great content but then try to save money by doing the cover themselves or asking a friend to read it over in lieu of having it edited.
You don’t need to break the bank, but you should be ready to invest what you can so that your book represents you and your business the way you want it to.
Your three primary expenses will probably be:
Cover Design: A lousy cover will sink your book faster than almost anything else. Make sure your cover looks professional, suits your genre/audience, and supports your brand.
Editing: At the very least, pay a professional to proofread your book to make sure that it’s not full of typos. If you’re not confident in your writing skills, think about investing in a copyeditor or developmental editor.
Formatting: You want to be sure readers have text that is attractively laid out for print and formatted correctly for ebook specifications (Kindle, Nook, etc.).
You’ll need a .pdf file for a hardcopy edition, a .mobi or correctly formatted Word file for Amazon, or a .epub for other retailers such as Barnes & Noble.
Step 4: Market Your Book
Now it’s time to put your book to work.
Make sure your Amazon listing is strong. Choose the right categories and tags (search terms) and craft an appealing blurb. Include an attractive headshot and an interesting author bio.
Using Amazon’s Author Central site, you can create an author page that links to your blog and social media profiles.
Your book launch gives you a great reason to contact prominent bloggers and other influencers in your niche and ask them for reviews, interviews, or guest post opportunities. Start reaching out 2–3 months before you launch.
About 1 month before launch, use social media and ads to reach out to individual readers and offer them a free copy of the book in exchange for a review. This is a great opportunity to build your list, plus reviews make it easier to get advertising (many advertisers will only take books that meet a certain threshold of reviews/ratings), give your book strong social proof, and may help boost your book with Amazon’s algorithms. They also gives you a source of quotes to pull from for marketing.
For the launch itself pull out all of your connections and creativity. Such as, advertising, Thunderclap campaigns, giveaways, virtual and real-life launch parties, and free days on Amazon are just a few ways you can share your book with the world.
What do you think?
There’s always more to talk about when it comes to writing and self-publishing, but I hope this has given you a good overview and maybe inspired you to give it a shot. For more detailed instructions on getting your book onto Amazon, check out my Self-Publishing Checklist, which breaks the process down into simple, manageable steps.