The Directors’ Centre meets two successful entrepreneurs and authors – Sue Richardson of Sue Richardson Associates and Chantal Cooke of Panpathic Communications.
Sue is an independent publisher and here she suggests the four steps you must consider before publishing your business book. Chantal specialises in promoting authors and their businesses and offers some advice on how to promote and leverage your book.
Name: Sue Richardson Expertise: Independent book publishing consultancy, publishing services provider and publisher Known for: Award winning publisher, founder of SRA Books and The Authority Guides – specialising in working with authors to create the right book to help them develop their business. Best-known titles: The Authority Guide to Publishing your Business Book (coming soon, October 2016).
Sue has over 20 years experience in publishing, coming originally from a background as an editor and publishing project manager. She began her first publishing imprint in 1999 and has worked with dozens of authors since then to help them write the right book, publish it in the right way and reach the right readers. Her latest venture is The Authority Guides, small practical books for business owners and professionals, for which she has turned the tables and become an author herself with The Authority Guide to Publishing your Business Book. She shares some of her tips with us here:
Make sure before you start that you know why you are publishing your book. What is it you want to achieve from becoming a published author? Over the years I’ve worked with authors I have heard many reasons, almost all of them valid. But without a reason, it is easy to create a vanity project that will never do anything to help you reach your objectives. Do you want to raise your profile? Do you want to use your book to attract PR? Do you want to leave a legacy? Or perhaps you have many reasons? Set your goals and your sights on what it is your book will do for you and you will be more likely to achieve it.
Be clear about who your book is for. Create a picture in your mind of your ideal reader, from where they live in the world, to what it is that they do and whether they are likely to be younger or more mature, male or female, professional or a consumer. Make sure the style and tone of your voice suits your preferred audience. It would not be effective to write a book with an academic style when your target audience is the busy small business owner. Consider what the problems and issues of your audience are and write to address them.
Only after being clear about what you want to achieve from publishing a book and who you are writing for can you make a decision on what it is that you should write. Would a workbook suit your purpose for your audience? Have you considered whether your book should be short or long? Do you need lots of graphics and visuals or will your readers prefer a straight text book? There are many types of book format – these days you don’t even have to have a printed book if that is not necessary. If you are writing for a traditional publisher make sure you understand exactly who they have in mind as an audience – you will have been commissioned to write specifically for a market segment and you will need to deliver accordingly.
Finally, take some time to think carefully about how you should publish your book. These days there are several routes open to you: you might choose self-publishing, funding your own publishing with an independent publisher, partnership publishing or seeking a deal with a traditional publisher. The right route for you will depend very much on the first three questions I have suggested you ask yourself. If you need true independence to create something innovative and new you will probably find it difficult to find a traditional publisher for it. On the other hand if you are seeking a presence on an airport bookshop shelf you will probably not succeed if you self-publish.
If you spend some time looking at these four questions, you should end up with a successful book publishing strategy. Of course, all you then have to do is write it! Oh and naturally, once it’s written and done, you have to get it to market and promote it – but for that I refer you to Chantal.
Chantal is an award winning journalist and broadcaster who now puts her 25+ years media experience to use helping authors promote and market their books. Her latest book ‘The Authority Guide to Marketing Your Business Book’ offers 52 book marketing tips. Here she shares (in brief) a few of her tips:
Start early. As soon as you decide to write the book start telling people. If you use social media then talk about it there, tell people what you’ll be writing about, give them a progress report periodically, share some tips or a short extract, let them know what the book will include and how it can help them, and of course tell them when and where it’s available.
Get offline as well. Online is great – but talking to people face-to-face is even better. So tell people that you meet about your book, and get out to networking events to promote it. As with social media, don’t make everything you tell them a subtle (or not so subtle) sales pitch. Instead, paint a picture of what the book could do for them. Take a copy (or three) with you to show them and have change in your pocket ready for the person who wants to buy a copy there and then.
Use images. Imagery really helps your message stick in people’s minds, whether it’s on social media, your blog or when you are giving a talk. Take photographs of your book in different interesting/relevant places, take pictures of you and other people (with their permission) with your book, create imagery to illustrate certain points within your book, and any other creative visual idea you can think of that will catch people’s attention!
Create a ‘white paper’: Take an extract from your book, top and tail it with a snappy intro and summary conclusion, and create a ‘white paper’. This can be a set of useful ‘top tips’ or perhaps your views on how your industry is changing – whatever you choose be sure that it is useful to your target readership. And keep it short. Then give it a cover, add your branding and your contact details and offer this as a pdf download on your website. Use it to collect the email addresses of potential customers. If they are willing to give you their email address in return for the ‘white paper’ then they are a partially qualified lead. So put them to good use.
Enrol your Kindle book in Amazon’s KDP Select and make the most of the ability to offer the book for free for five days in every three months. Reviews are the life-blood of sales on Amazon, and giving a few books away for free can really help to boost the number of reviews. Also, the more people you can encourage to read your book, even for free, the more you build your authority and visibility among your target audience. If giving the book away for free leads to one new paying client – the book has probably already made you a profit.
A book can work for you while you sleep, play with your children or just sit in the back garden with a glass of wine. But only if you leverage it. So make sure you develop a strong, clear book marketing plan. And stick to it. That way you’ll not only drive book sales but you’ll also start to generate new client enquiries.