Three Steps To Getting Yourself Book-Ready

At some point, pretty much every independent consultant or subject matter expert starts mulling over whether they should write a book.

They often spend the most energy on their title and theme—and it’s not unusual to spend months or even years procrastinating under the guise of seeking EXACTLY the right angle.

Meanwhile, they’re not taking the handful of steps that will smooth the way for the book that’s been simmering for years.

Don’t let that be you.

Because the first-time, non-fiction writer that creates a blockbuster without having a built-in following is a unicorn.

So begin with the most important step—what’s your strategy?

Step 1—Develop a strategy for your book. You wouldn’t add a new service line that required hundreds of hours of investment without having a strategy for it would you? Ditto your book.

How will it fit into your revenue model? How will you make your investment pay off?

Here are four different, yet equally valuable strategies to consider:

Book as a feeder system into your services. A $10 book is far cheaper than a $500 digital product, a $10,000 consulting gig or a $20,000 speech. Having the right book gives your ideal audience a way to experience you and your work without big risk. You’ll make your money not on the book itself, but on the readers who buy your other products and services.

Book as a statement-maker. This is usually the province of someone who’s built considerable intellectual property in the course of his or her work. Perhaps you’ve written articles and the like—but are looking for the “statement” of a book. The value of book as statement-maker is in gravitas—and visibility if it’s marketed correctly. Your financial return comes in the form of easier sales (clients know who you are and find you more readily) and increased fees.

Book as business card. This tends to make most sense for the newest entrants in a crowded competitive field. You want to put yourself squarely on the map and this book can serve as your entrée—and hook—to the media. Typically a first book and a self-published affair, you may frequently give it away to encourage connections and relationships that will lead to revenue.

Book as revenue generator. Your book just may morph into a serious stand-alone revenue source. This can happen when your book suddenly takes off, although relying on that as your revenue strategy is a low-odds move. You can increase those odds when you have an existing specialty audience and you’re delivering a deeply targeted book that produces immediate results. Like a book showing social workers how to develop a financially-thriving practice.

Whatever strategy you choose, your book should mesh perfectly with your work to date. You want to tell a story that shows how/why you’re the perfect person to write this book, right now.

But to be really book-ready, you need two more steps.

Step 2—Build Your Audience. Chances are you’re itching to work on your book, even while griping through the research and countless re-writes. Yes, because you’re bringing your ideas into the world, but also because it feels controllable.

Audience-building on the other hand, feels anything but.

You have to put yourself out there and there’s often no immediate payback. So it gets easier to avoid (or delay) and six months, twelve months, eighteen months later, you’ve still got a piddly audience.

The secret? Build your tribe while you work on the book. Just a little bit every day—15 minutes, maybe 30 minutes when you can spare a bit more. You’ll create a built-in market for your book when it’s finally available.

That means:

  • Picking one, maybe two social media platforms for your business/book.
  • Proactively following and engaging your tribe in ways appropriate to the medium. Twitter for example grows at a snail’s pace if you sit back and wait. But your influence can leap forward if you search and follow the people you most want in your circle.
  • Reaching out to a select group of people, building relationships for the future. This means: kindred spirits (you may wind up helping promote each others’ books), potential readers/clients/referral sources—even “competitors”.
  • Building your digital list, especially if you’ve never done it before. This becomes your early-buyer list and THE key to book sales. And if you’ve got any interest in snagging a conventional publishing deal, being able to candidly brag about the size and quality of your list in your book proposal will up the ante.
  • Creating a focused list—think 50-100 people—of your potential advance team. These are the volunteers who’ll do early reads of your book, give you Amazon reviews and help spread the word just because they like and respect you. The more engaged your team, the faster you’ll achieve your book strategy.
  • Being open to the media. If you’re in Twitter, you can’t help but trip over bloggers as well as old and new media types. Follow them, engage with them, help promote their best content—just hold your pitches until you’ve completed the next step.

Step 3—Spiff Up Your Website. Your website needs to tell your story in a way that aligns with your book—even before you’ve written it.

Your site should RADIATE your brand from all angles—your story, your content, client testimonials, even how you ask them to sign up for your digital list.

We’re talking a modern, easily navigable ode to your sweet-spot client, buyer and—now—reader.

If this means you need a site redesign, plan it so you can simply drop your book in later, updating a few sections here and there. Think of your book as an extension—a continuation—of your work, your stories and your content. It should look and feel seamless.

Important side note: Do NOT set up a book-only website. It divides not only your future readers’ attention and resources but your own.

Being book-ready is far more than having nailed your theme and writing a few chapters.

It means being clear on how this book fits into your business and your future. It means connecting with the right tribe and building a come-hither digital base for your book and your business.

So go ahead—start getting yourself book-ready today.

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