Hey Guys! Nicole Gabriel here! I’m the host of the Let’s Get Your Book Published podcast. I’m also the author multiple books, a Book Designer, and a Publishing Coach as well as an intuitive Business Coach.
I’ve been in the book business for awhile now and I’ve helped many clients get their book published over the years. On this podcast I share personal stories, client stories, and the truths about the publishing industry….
Today’s Topic: Using A Book to Open Up New Business Opportunities
Have you heard that writing a book can earn you a great income? Did you know it really has very little to do with book sales? Did you also know it can help open up new business opportunities?
Even as a Book Coach and someone that has worked in this industry for awhile now, I get the regular marketing ploy sent to me about how a book can earn you $10K immediately at your book launch; how it can skyrocket to best-seller (with the assumption you will earn some kind of fortune or fame by it doing so), or astronomical claims of $40 million dollars earned in profits made just by giving the book away. I’ve heard you can write a book in a weekend. I’ve heard how fast you can write a book… assuming fast is what you are looking for. I even have to admit, these marketers have even gained my curiosity because I’m thinking maybe I’ve missed a piece of the puzzle somewhere. I look through everything they are claiming and join their email lists and study them but there is nothing that backs up their claims! Nothing! One book coaching system even had me fooled until I saw the non-related side jobs the owner was doing to solicit additional income. I totally get that some of us grow publicly too and as such we span out in other directions visibly. Nonetheless, you know, one thing I never hear is anything about the actual content, market positioning, or building out a platform to solidify the authors craft. Most of that doesn’t get coached in these systems. These systems push the idea of words on pages to amass enough content to form a book and that’s about it.
There are so many people in this industry that want to dangle carrots in front of prospective authors and can I tell you how angry it makes me when I hear all the lies! Everybody has a shtick for what they are selling. Did you ever look up this silly word and it’s definition by the way? It means a usually comic or repetitious performance or routine. It’s also interchanged with the word “bag” - you know - “That’s my bag!”. Myself, after all these years in this business, I can see the little clown dance coming from miles away!
If I asked you what the reason was that you wrote your book and told you it could be for any reason except to attain a best-seller, would you be able to tell me how it would benefit you? When we take the concept of best-seller out of the equation we look more at the practical usability and value add of the book and how it serves you, your industry, the reader, and more.
Let me give you a little background on me so I can earn a little trust and give you a little practical guidance on how a book actually opens up business opportunities for you. I’m not just girl that fell into this. I circled around the publishing world for most of my career before I became an author myself. I knew it was in the cards and it was just a matter of time when my first book would get birthed.
I began my career in advertising. I worked for all the big houses - McCann Erickson, J. Walter Thompson, Young & Rubicam, and many other affiliated and eCommerce start-up’s. After many years serving clients I moved over to the client side and into executive management in the automotive industry, in particular. I began all web initiatives for most of the American made auto manufacturers in my day. I sat on special projects to launch many automotive campaigns both online and in print. I worked with direct mail campaigns, trade journals, billboards, brand marketing initiatives, publishing houses, and participated in research focus groups with many projects having unlimited multi-million dollar expense accounts (that I often managed) for such efforts. My experience in these environments was invaluable in every industry I’ve worked in since. But, my heart was always with printed materials, catalogs, technical manuals, and how they got laid-out, advertised, and displayed. I worked in many facets for companies like General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, Delphi Automotive, and the finance arms of GMAC and Ford Credit. I also worked on the back-end web and IT systems of companies like AT&T, Onstar, and many dealer support systems. I was an ad agency creative department educator, and worked with many call center or document printing and digital scanning businesses. Beyond this I also worked in practice management with the many chiropractic offices I once owned and managed. I helped doctors buy and sell offices, manage staff, set up articles of incorporation, manage patient and insurance billing, and optimize scheduling. There are so many industries and facets of those industries I mastered for many years before it came time to writing my book.
I find that most people that end up as coaches in this industry didn’t come to it because they schooled for it. Most have not intended to be here…they just kinda landed here. There are lots of coaches that haven’t written books and many that haven’t worked in a professional capacity in another industry because they fell into this at a young age. Many coaching systems tend to hire junior talent that has both never written a book or never held another job. It just is what it is. So, there tends to be a coached system taught to these staff workers that then gets passed down to the new author that signs with them. Then there are other coaches that have big connections and push out books for profits but these don’t tend to align with valuable positioning for the author. They are a one-time big deal and forgotten - just a book for sale.
The gauge for success of a book tends to be all about sales and profits, but the window of opportunity is generally small right at launch. It’s new and exciting and the author is revved up with so much emotional attachment and excitement, but then that fizzles out and they go back to doing what they have always done as if it never even happened.
You see, for most coaching systems, they get paid based on a “one-and-done” project. They don’t care necessarily how aligned you are. In fact, most get paid whether you take the book to completion or not. They have no stake in the completion or how it aligns with your intentions. In fact, most just give you a system to put words on pages and of course if they get you published, they then have something to market. It behooves most to encourage you to completion because you are needed for their portfolio to gain more authors like you.
You see, most systems teach you the basics about how to write a book because they know that most authors don’t look at the business behind the book. Emotion drives them to complete it because it’s pretty typically a bucket list thing. It isn’t until after they’ve written and produced it where most authors even realize the time, expense, and practical usability of their accomplishment. I hate to generalize, as, entrepreneurial or budget-minded folks often do look at ROI. But, authors aren’t always business-minded. They generally tend to lead with emotion. There is a quote that says:
“You gotta train your mind to be stronger than your emotions or else you’ll lose yourself every time.”
I’m not saying that all books should be business books, but I am saying that authors should be business-minded when they write a book. It’s time-consuming and expensive. It’s an unfortunate thing, but most new authors don’t realize the profit isn’t in the book sales until they’re actually trying to sell them. Most don’t realize the greatest opportunities with a book is leverage-able content and brand positioning…building out the platform and aligning it with the reason they wrote the book in the first place.
Truth is a funny thing. If I sell you on my book coaching services by telling you that I was going to make you a best-seller then get you all amped up about it then you’d likely believe it was all possible. But the minute I tell you the truth that a best-seller on anything outside of amazon is highly unlikely for a self-published author you probably go somewhere else. I get that. We all want to believe the book we have inside of us is a best-seller. We don’t want to have limits placed on us at the starting gate. It’s never my intention to be a dream-breaker, but in my nature I’m dubious until it’s proven otherwise. I’m a realist. I’m not saying write a shitty book because it will go nowhere. But, I am being realistic by telling you a best-seller is highly unlikely, so have you written a high-quality book that you can use to enhance your life or business?
If I tell you I’m an expert you’d be more likely to believe me if I showcased the evidence of my specialty in a well-thought-out book—right? (Honestly, this is why I wrote a book about writing a book - to tell you I know my industry!) To get a book working for me best I’d pack it full of valuable content that I can actually use as plug-n-play informational components to enhance my overall message in turn-key value bombs I provide in my business outside of the book… for interviews, speeches, or podcasts. Like, in my book I list out a bunch of ideas an author can do for a successful book launch. I can use this in my day-to-day work. In fact, I never even need to talk about it again if I tell my clients - “it’s in the book!”
As it’s been said - content is king. Imagine writing your book in such a way that you have intelligently and selectively sat with the working mechanisms of your business and pulled out all the valuable nuggets for use at any point on a grander scale. A book can be a seamless tool for always having on hand the key highlights of each functional component of your business. Imagine at any point being able to pull out nuggets to use for an interview, a class, a zoom call, an unexpected (or expected) sales call, etc. You can highlight these nuggets then tell people there is far more detail in the book. Save the repetition!
See, most book coaching systems realize people are floating around with a brain full of ideas to go into a book and they help you hone in on getting your topic and creating an outline, and the icing on the cake for an author is the the idea of launching a book with glorified sales results. It’s still all about the book, not the business of the book!
Most systems or coaches don’t have you focus on writing the important nuggets that are useful and practical in your day-to-day. Its not that all things need to be about profit, but a book really can be a life-long reference tool for you doing your business just as it can be for those reading it. Sure it can be full of stories, but it should also be packed with the little tangible content nuggets that you can plug-n-play into all communications. There should be natural engaging topics in the book that you can pull out as an expert in any conversation.
Writing a book gives you the dedicated time to collect and organize your thoughts for re-purposing later. For example, someone says to you that they find you engaging, have you ever thought about speaking? Or, do you have a speech? If you identify the top 5 reasons, solutions, ideas, etc that you do a certain thing in your life or business then you’ve just essentially identified a speaking topic, a podcast topic, a blog write-up, a radio show, etc. You do the work once and you have a layout for a life-long communication plan. It’s the same if someone asked you to be a guest on their show. You can have it ready to go - the top 5 reasons why “xyz”. Then if you have a point in the interview you can offer those - go for it! If there isn’t time to showcase this, then build the content on your website.
I have (2) downloads on my homepage that are not just great downloads, but they also collect email addresses. These have to be juicy enough that someone is willing to exchange their email address for the information. In fact, have I ever talked about these? One is the “Top 10 Strategies You Need to Know to Write Your Book Right.” And the other is “Powering Through Obstacles to Build Your Manuscript.” These documents were well-thought out in their day and now serve me in my business for life. These are great teasers to get people engaged in first thinking about real strategies and then taking it to the next level to actually get started on their manuscript.
When you find topics to highlight, be sure that you pick topics that lead prospects to asking for more. If this is free, then what great stuff do I get when I pay for coaching? As well, you want to get things in the hands of your prospects that build trust, showcase your talent, and get them started or committed to working with you because you are going to be the person they see as the instigator of persuasion and they will return asking “now what?” After they started doing the work. Get them going, they are likely to hire you for the next piece of the puzzle.
Try to pick apart the inspirational components of your business that lead to more solicitation of business and give away as much as you can without giving it all away. As you showcase your book you need to use it as a tool to create engagement toward the larger sale. As I’ve said many times, there isn’t much profit in continuing to sell $24.95 books. Trade a book for business. Every time you hand someone a book you are always saying “I’m an expert and here’s why!” If your business solicits a high-dollar product or service, then perhaps you really can get to a $40 million return as I joked about in the beginning of this podcast.
Lots of people say the email list is greatest tool for growing your business. But, if this isn’t done right then you are just giving out free information all day long. Ultimately you have to get a return on your investment. Free books and free information are great but nothing will earn you an income until you have filled a need. But, all the best thinking in the world does you nothing without finding a way to engage with prospects.
I’m always one to build the back-end out so that I feel confident when those opportunities of engagement do occur. I have no doubt that I’ve crossed all the T’s and dotted all the I’s. I never have trouble finding topics to talk about because I love all aspects of what I do. Perhaps there is a need in your industry that can be solved and you have an answer but no time to showcase it. Just leave a book that speaks for you. If you match a problem with your solution because your book was laying around creating awareness - awesome!
Let me give you a fun little story about something that happened way back many years ago in my career. I was working for Ford Motor Company. I was hired in at a top level and making a good 6-figure income. I took it upon myself to discover why the Ford Motor Credit apps were not getting the high visibility management was requesting.
I was new on the team and I was learning all facets of the business and how the website worked. The dealerships were hopeful buyers would come in with pre-approval's and credit wouldn’t have to be run on site. I mean, really, who likes to wait around for those things anyway! But, numbers were low and people just weren’t doing online credit apps back then. The team thought that it was due to trust issues of applicants being nervous about sharing private information online.
I went into discovery mode and took a jaunt over to the call center. I guess this was never done, since a simple visit over there would have resolved many problems. But, here I was making the big bucks and sat with a young girl fresh out of college working her way up the corporate ladder with a first job in the call center. After some time, she gave me a few huge binders I took with me and perused through overnight. I learned some of the repeated problems people had using the Ford Credit website and paid special attention to all things surrounding credit app usage. The next day I had scheduled a meeting with the business team responsible for the interface. It took me more time to do all the legwork than it did to find an answer. One of the first things this business team told me was that they couldn’t figure out why new car buyers were not filling out the credit app online and this was the primary reason they created the website in the first place. I knew what all the backend problems were due to my time with the call center logs.
I had the team walk me through a scenario…a new buyer comes to the site looking to fill out an app and get approved. After countless numbers of clicks and pages opened. The head business leader says “here is the link”. I asked her again what their primary objective was. She said it was to get apps filled out online. I told her it’s quite obvious what the problem is. She was surprised and on the edge of her seat as I prepared to give her the answer she was seeking. I stated as eloquently as I could that in fact the online app was buried so deep on the site I’m not even sure if I tired to find it again that I could! I asked if there was any reason it wasn’t front and center on the homepage? She said no, but that’s brilliant! She claimed the glory for my legwork, but I was ok with that. Of course, I was far too naive back then to realize I had to showcase this glory to management to enhance my position. I wasn’t long for the corporate world anyhow.
So, the moral to my story is that sometimes to succeed in business all we have to do is make it easy for something to me found, make the experience enjoyable, make it easy for the buyer, or not come across as threatening. Sometimes a solution is known but communicating it is hard. A book is a gentle, often passive, and always well-thought out and researched guide in the right situation. We don’t often get an opportunity to present resolution in a large corporate environment and it can be assumed if we don’t speak up we don’t have an answer. In this particular situation I didn’t even get acknowledged. In fact, I became a threat to my co-workers because my solution was easy and they didn’t think of it themselves. The corporate world can be quite cut-throat at times. Everyone in there is fending for themselves and protecting their knowledge and turf. I know how it works. I think, however, that even your “enemy” can see that a book takes time and you clearly have to have a passion for your topic to pull off a book. As they say - respect is earned. A book will always return respect - that’s a fact!
We don’t always have the right kind of employment to write a book to enhance our position but a book is always going to call attention to your center of expertise. You’re most certainly going to gain credibility for writing one no matter how you use it. And, even if you don’t gain credibility, you will most certainly give yourself the validation you’ve perhaps been craving and will no longer seek it from elsewhere. You are prepared with a plan, answers, and a vision and you are prepared to jump with every situation that presents itself. You will be happy you did the legwork in the end!
I could give you countless examples over the years where someone wanted to question my authority of a topic and I either quietly smiled knowing I had done the work and could validate my position, or I’d simply state my case and let them know I was an author on the topic. Yeah, seriously, it really can be an ego boost to have that book in a back pocket! It’s not because you’re better, so don’t get me wrong there. You’ve seriously just done the work. If you run every day it’s far easier to compete in the marathon, right?
Let me know when you’re ready to write your book. I’d love to help you do it the right way!
Wherever you are in this world, I pray that you are safe and cared for. May god grace you as always… with peace, love, and light! Until next time…
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