How To Make Your First Business Book Wildly Successful

Advisors, experts—professionals of all stripes—debate (sometimes for years) whether to devote the time and emotional energy to write their first book.

So let’s just cut to the chase.

If you can answer yes to BOTH these questions, you’ve got something worth investing in:

Do you have a core message worth sharing with an audience that matters to you?

Can you position your book to deliver you revenue in some form—book sales, new clients, speaking fees, programs or maybe the right media attention—that will make it worth your while?

Truth: you don’t have to sell a million—or even 10,000—copies to make your book a wildly successful business move.

The key—unless you’re in a position to indulge in an expensive hobby—is to approach it strategically.

What’s your revenue model? Are you selling fee-for-service advice, training programs or perhaps accepting a piece of the pie, such as a percentage of your clients’ sales or assets?

Map out how this book will fit in your current and future revenue streams. Tip: Don’t count on mega book sales if you don’t already have an audience primed to buy you. Look instead at what happens if you only sell 1,000 copies. Or 500. Will the book bring you 1, 10, 100 new clients or customers? What is each one worth to you?

Take Jennifer, a financial advisor. A little digging showed us her average new client is worth $30,000 a year to her bottom line. She’d have to sell 3,000 books at $10 apiece EVERY year to make what just one new client brings her. Looking strictly at book revenue, it’s hard to argue that her time is best spent writing.

But. If she writes in a way that deeply resonates with her ideal clients and then markets and distributes her book strategically, all she needs is one new client to pay for her book-writing time. Ironically, that client may not even read the book, but be seduced by the theme, title or an interview with the author.

Then there was Harry, an expert who sold a few thousand books. But he didn’t care about that revenue so much, because a few hundred readers bought his $1,500 training program. He parlayed a $10 book into a tidy half million bucks—and an audience panting for his next content.

I’m not saying you SHOULD write that first book  (more about that here), but isn’t it worth some strategic thinking—and a little math—before you decide?

TWEETABLE: You don’t have to sell a million—or even 10,000—copies to make your book a wildly successful business move.

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5 Comments

  • Rochelle your timing was uncanny! I just self-published my first book and the very first copy arrived on my door Friday afternoon. I have been working on this part time for 4 years and with my co-author for the last year. We both feel we have something important to say to help our community of veterinarians be able to offer better care to their patients while also helping their clients afford it. Our goal is to offer workshops based on the book to groups around the country. We also believe the name recognition and the designation as the “experts” will help us gain consulting clients and speaking engagements as you mentioned. The publicity campaign begins this week at the NACV – the largest veterinary conference in the US. Cross your fingers for us and thanks for confirming our instincts.

  • Rochelle

    How exciting Debbie! Congratulations on your book and wishing you wild success…

  • Such a great idea for so many.
    I had wanted for several years to publish a book based on columns I penned. A publisher of ebooks fell into my lap at a late 2013 meeting of my Gotham network (A new venture by a member of its Green group which I co-chair.). I explored an ebook and found it reasonable to produce; I found the cost akin to a journal ad I might need to place or an event ticket I might need to purchase.
    After its Thanksgiving eve release I found “The Public Ought To Know” surpassed its expectations in expanding my outreach, getting prospects and potential connectors to prospects and others to look anew at me and my services. I prominently highlight the ebook — its cover — on my website homepage and include it on the nav bar (I use and prefer a left nav bar) on all other pages. Early promotion focused on my Gotham Network and social media. I posted to twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I am using the advent of the book to explore how best to leverage those media; on LinkedIn this includes leveraging my group membership which include many people I may not necessarily know. My next business card will include the book cover on its back (currently I have QR codes to my website and email).
    The book and its title support my “Strategic Public Policy” branding, combining rare expertise in politics, policy and communications (media).
    I cannot claim to plan the book in that regard; I just know I wanted to do it; I suspect subliminally I knew where the book would open new doors and renew or further develop existing relationships.
    Interestingly at yesterday’s inaugural for a political client, some colleagues who heavily use social media said they were not aware of the book (not a surprise in that they did not like or post a comment on the ebook); they promised to get the book and post a review (my publisher claims reviews help.) and to share on their network and list serves. One of today’s projects involve direct emails to them.
    Also, it led to a meeting (even before the actual release) with a publisher of a e-magazine, LaborPress, that comes out 2x/ week and targets one of my sweet spots; a regular column and add for the book will reach 50,000.

  • Great read. I am trying to decide if creating a book is worth my time right now. Your examples are priceless, looks like I have some more research to do! I wish my clients brought in $30,000 each, that would make it a little easier!

    -Chris

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