Writing a book is a fabulous way of establishing your expertise. If all your competitors give out a business card when they visit or communicate with their marketplace, and you give out the book you’ve written, which of the two competitors is your prospect more likely to choose?
Are they more likely to choose the one that doesn’t look as if they’re an expert or the one who does? Writing a book gives you an edge and a distinction. It positions you head and shoulders above your competitors. And it’s fun to do. But where do you start? One of the options is to publish your own book.
Here in this guest post our good friend Dee Blick describes how she wrote and self-published her first book. Dee is an award winning marketer; Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing; and speaker and weekly columnist for the Financial Mail. She is also author of the best selling self-published book: Powerful Marketing On A Shoestring Budget For Small Businesses:
I remember as a little girl being asked what I wanted to do when I grew up. My response? I wanted to write a book. I loved writing, still do and the thought of a person reading my work and being inspired to take action and improve their business is what drives me to this day.
And so, 40 years later and here I am with my first published book and number two waiting in the wings. If your dream is to write a book and you’ve never quite made it I hope that my story inspires you to turn that dream into a reality.
How did I start?
I made the decision to self publish my first book and I’m doing the same with my second book. Don’t think of self publishing as a poor cousin. It’s come on in leaps and bounds in the last few years and with digital print on demand it’s environmentally friendly and cost-effective. An increasing number of literary agents are now advising authors to self publish, simply because to land a publishing deal, you either have to be very lucky with a strong link to a publisher or, you have to fall into that dubious category of celebrity, cashing in on either your fleeting or long-standing fame. Why tout your manuscript around publishers suffering the ignominy of rejection when you can self publish? What’s more with Amazon now levelling out the playing field between self published and traditionally published authors, it’s open to all of us. (By way of illustration, I recently came back from holiday to find that Amazon had e-mailed thousands of people recommending five business books, with mine being at number one and incidentally the only self published book out of the five)
I appointed a specialist self publishing publisher. I wanted to focus on writing my book, not on having to organise the entire publishing process. In the event, it cost £1,000 which I recouped at my book launch. Because my book is about marketing the costs were classed as a business expense. The great thing about self publishing is that your royalties tend to be higher than if you go down the traditional publishing route. Because I sell many books direct at signings and events as well as through Amazon, I have managed to make a healthy profit on my book and it has paid for itself many times over.
So, having made the momentous decision to self publish the biggest challenge lay as you would expect, in the actual writing. I have been very fortunate in that I have won many national media awards for my marketing articles in the last 26 years. I naïvely assumed that writing a book would be as straightforward as writing an article for a magazine and so initially did not allow sufficient time. I had to pull out all the stops to get my book to the publishers on time. However much time you think you will need to write your book, double it.
I found that having an editor; a person with the balls to actually pull me up on grammar and punctuation and to question my integrity on content was vital. My book went from being very good to great simply because my editor was not afraid to challenge me. With the best will in the world, you will have days when the writing simply flows and it’s a joy. On other days, it’s like pulling teeth!
I also learned that with the right positive mindset I could move mountains. I discovered strength within me that I didn’t know existed. I wrote my book whilst also running a very demanding full-time marketing business and having to handle chronic repetitive strain injury in my arms and shoulders. Don’t talk yourself into not writing your book simply because you don’t think you have the time. If you’re driven and tenacious you will find it. I used to visualise myself signing hundreds of books at my book launch and reaching the bestselling ranks on Amazon. These thoughts motivated me on days when the idea of mooching round the shops was more attractive than tackling a challenging chapter. At a practical level I motivated myself by organising my book launch and giving my publishers a fixed date for my final manuscript. Set goals and visualise your success.
It has been a rollercoaster of a ride. I’ve spent more hours than I care to mention self promoting my book but it has been worth it. Four months of initial hard slog, sending my book for critic reviews and finding any PR opportunity to hang my message on. I have been interviewed by the Financial Times, Royal Mail, The Mail on Sunday and countless business magazines and had some amazing critic reviews. I now write a weekly marketing column for the Financial Mail and no end of positive opportunities are now being laid at my door simply because I’ve written a book that has become a modest bestseller. But nothing, absolutely nothing compares with the feeling I get when receiving an e-mail from a reader who has bought my book and they’re writing to tell me how I have benefited their business. That really is, to quote the advert, priceless.
So where are you now with your book?
Please share your thoughts and add your questions to the comments below. I’ll try to provide as many answers as possible in my future online videos, seminars, workshops, masterclasses and blog posts.
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