Want to become an author? Learn why you should write a book and how to leverage your book as a business card to build your personal brand.
Think about the most famous people in the world. I’ll bet you that many of them have written a book or two, or got it written for them.
In a world of movies and animation, writing and publishing a book might seem a rather unglamorous way to get publicity, but it is such an effective content marketing strategy for personal branding that many famous people have published their own books.
The words, author and authority, both come from the same French word auctor – meaning creator or author – and writing a book can help you become an authority.
So you want to have a book published? You’re not alone. Imagine your pride when you can send your clients and customers, family and friends to your bookstore link where they can download your new eBook or order the paperback.
There are few things more thrilling than holding in your hands a copy of your brand new print book, with your name as the author. As a published author, you will command respect from your family, colleagues, and customers.
Becoming an author can have significant benefits on your personal brand. However, it may not be in the same way that most authors think. Most published authors do not know how to properly utilize their books to generate a steady income stream for themselves.
Authors who think that the sales will roll in once their book is published are simply setting themselves up for failure and disappointment.
What is book publishing?
Today, there are several ways of publishing a book. It is essential that you know which publishing method will work best for you and the pros and cons of each before you take the leap into publishing.
The two main book publishing options are traditional publishing and self-publishing, and yes, there is value in both these models!
What is traditional publishing?
Traditional publishing is the process of publishing a book with the help of publishers and agents. The disadvantage with traditional book publishers is whether you will receive royalties on sales at all.
In addition, most large publishing houses will ask you to sign contracts that restrict the use of your book material. However, there are two key advantages to traditional publishing, that include:
- Having editorial input from an expert who can make suggestions for content improvement.
- Marketing support that includes public relations firms and advertising agencies.
In recent years, however, advances have been made so authors may earn enough to repay their agent’s advance payment as well as retain additional revenue through royalty earnings.
However, royalties from book publishing tend to accrue over time, so you need to be patient if you’re looking to earn money from book publishing royalties.
What is self-publishing?
Self-publishing is the second method for authors who want a book published. Self-publishing a book is the process of hiring a company to publish your book for you.
Self-publishing will get you instant recognition as a published author without having to send out book proposals to publishers or read depressing rejection slips.
Alternatively, you can consider self-publishing through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), which is free and doesn’t require you to hire a publisher. Lulu Publishing is another self-publishing company that many authors use.
You may need to hire freelance editors, designers, and public relations firms for marketing support or advertising campaigns. However, self-publishing is an option that offers authors more control over their publishing process than traditional publishing.
The disadvantage of self-publishing is not having the word “published” on your resume. Having the fame of being a traditionally published author can help improve your perceived image.
Another disadvantage is that, as a self-published author, it may be difficult to sell enough copies of your books to recoup costs incurred from production fees like editing, book design, book cover design, printing and promotion.
Without the assistance of book printing, book promotion, and book distribution channels that traditional publishers can provide, you may experience significant challenges in selling your book.
However, many authors have learned how to use social media and online marketing to help bridge the gap between distribution channels, and reach the right audience to sell their books.
In addition, there are countless advantages of self-publishing, one of the most significant being getting a much higher percentage of royalties on book sales.
As a self-published author, you also have no creative restrictions on what you can do with your book and how you can use your book to promote yourself and your brand.
For example, if you want to repurpose your book, it’s no problem for a self-published author. If you want to turn it into a course, you’re also free to do so.
The power of creative freedom, and of having ownership over your intellectual property, are some of the key benefits of becoming a self-published author.
How to leverage your book to promote yourself
According to CreativINDIE, the average self-published author spends approximately $2000 to $5000 to get their book published.
Studies show that most of these authors never see a profit from their book. However, that is mostly because authors often under-utilise the value of being a published author.
When you write and publish a book, it brands you as an expert in a subject and adds value to your name and credentials. Your book becomes a showcase for your expertise as someone who knows what they’re talking about.
It’s even better if your book is about your business domain or industry because it will make you the “Go-To” person that your customers will choose when they need the solutions you provide.
There are many ways to leverage your book indirectly to maximize the value of being a published author. Using your book as a business card strategically leverages your book to unlock new opportunities.
Why use your book as a business card?
The purpose of having a business card is to connect with another person and leave them with your name and contact information. That way, they can get back in touch if an opportunity may arise in the future.
Your business card is often the only physical item someone has to remember you after the first point of contact with an individual. And as the saying goes, first impressions are everything.
A non-fiction book serves the same function as a business card but with more benefits. If you decide to give your book away upon first interaction or if someone sees your book online before even meeting you, your book has already left an impression.
One of the key differences is that you’re giving someone access to hundreds of pages of information and expertise that tells them who you are and demonstrates your level of expertise on a subject.
So, why does a book make the best business card? A non-fiction book that you wrote around your subject of expertise can create lucrative employment opportunities for you, especially as a speaker, trainer, coach or consultant.
Here are just a few ways that writing and publishing non-fiction books can boost your personal brand:
- Get on a clients radar with ease
As long as you maintain your integrity, you can use this strategy of offering a book in lieu of a business card to get on people’s radar with ease. Even better if you give them a personal, signed copy with your name and number inside.
- People save books, but throw away business cards
While people are more likely to throw away a business card, not many will throw away a book because of its inherent value. At the very least, they will store it on their bookshelf, where it will be a constant reminder of you and your expertise.
- Books qualify you as an expert and authority
A book is an original work, which means you’ve created something that never existed before. This makes it a professional way to showcase your authority over a subject. Books also have a perceived level of exclusivity in the eyes of many business owners and career professionals.
- Books can help you get free publicity
Your book can also get you free publicity because the media loves experts and often calls on them for quotes or interviews when they need to fill in a slot.
Just send out a press release for your book that is tied into a hot news item and capitalize on the free surge of traffic and publicity that will get you.
Your book is like a perpetual motion sales machine that can drive publicity and eyeballs to your website and your business. It gives you authority over your competitors and engages your customers as never before.
- Books can get you a desirable job position
Many companies (e.g. Amazon) use books to showcase someone’s expertise or talent and often hire based on that knowledge. With a self-help or non-fiction book, your experiences and wise words can make you uniquely qualified for a related employment opportunity.
For example, if you’re applying for a public relations position at Amazon Books in Seattle, a book you wrote about PR would be the best business card you could have because it’s one thing employers might look for when interviewing candidates for high-level positions.
- A book connects you with people who read
People who read typically make more money than those who don’t read at all. If you play your cards right, your new book can bring in targeted leads who pay you for high-end services and products.
Bestselling authors like Jack Canfield and Tony Robbins have built booming businesses on the success of their books and the backend sales that resulted. Being able to connect with high-net-worth clients via their love of reading can help you increase your income significantly.
- Books are more meaningful than a business card
Of course, the difference in price between a business card and a book can be quite substantial. However, if you use your book as a business card and offer it to a potential client for free, you will leave a lasting impression on them.
How to use your book as a business card
So what opportunities can you create when using your book as a business card? There are many opportunities you can leverage to maximize your book’s exposure and success.
To name a few of the most lucrative ways to use your book:
- Landing high-level coaching and consulting jobs
- Speaking on stage at events and conferences
- Being interviewed by large media networks
- Creating and selling courses on your subject matter
The opportunities are endless, as long as your content and the quality of your book remain high. If your goal is to eventually work with or do business with the client, spending on a $14 book may lead to one of the best returns on your investment possible.
If you show that you’re willing to give someone a copy of your book instead of a business card, it demonstrates your commitment and dedication to your goals, which is necessary for success.
While giving away a book as a business card may not be a viable option for everyone, service professionals like consultants, coaches, speakers and trainers should take advantage of it as often as possible.
Becoming a published author can lead to some incredible financial opportunities. If you’re a businesswoman, you can generate new clients and charge more for your services and products as you now have a new credential behind your name.
As an employee who published a book on a relevant industry topic, you could ask for a salary increase, have a better chance of landing that big promotion, or even find a better job as you’ve proven your knowledge on the subject.
When you write a book, you can increase your personal brand recognition through your book, generate coaching and consulting clients, speak on stages, land interviews on media outlets, and much more.
The key to all of this is to leverage your book effectively to build your brand. Turning your book into your business card is the best way to get the most out of your hard work and maximize exposure for yourself.
When you decide to write a book to showcase your expertise, a whole new world of opportunities will open up for you and your business. In this Masterclass, actor Divya Dutta and author Kaveree Bamzai offer tips and inputs on how to publish your first book.