Becoming a published author sounds like an exciting endeavor, but for anyone who has actually undergone the process, whether they do it on their own or with the help of a ghost writer, tales of “it’s much harder than I thought” come to the surface often. If it’s really as much work as people say, should small business owners write a book? Will it help their business or in fact detract their focus from growing their company?
Writing a book: This topic comes up…a lot
At Strategic Marketing Services, we’ve worked with several people considering writing book, or are already published and need help marketing it. We get asked about the value of writing a book a lot from a marketing standpoint. For those who are already published, some struggle to look at the book as a marketing tool vs. a potential source of income (it can be both!). There are numerous articles out there discussing why every small business owner should consider writing a book. While we may not answer the question today, we can at least discuss the benefits of writing a book to help business owners make a more informed decision.
Establishing yourself as a subject matter expert
People who write books enjoy a level of perceived credibility not necessarily given to those who blog, write white papers, newsletters or case studies. There is a general notion that if you publish a book, you are an expert on the topic you’re writing about. Writing a book is a signal of credibility and authority. You can’t fake your way into writing a good book. Either you know what you’re talking about or you don’t. That level of knowledge and the impression that you’re confident enough of your expertise to put it in writing and publish it can elevate your credibility which, in turn, can elevate your small business to a new level.
The opportunity to really help others
When you write, whether it’s a book, a blog or a white paper, you’re sharing your knowledge with the world. If you’ve got expertise and a perspective on your industry that no one else has, you need to share it! Keeping all that useful knowledge that might help a customer or another small business is a shame when you can be sharing your knowledge with others and in turn helping them grow. If you think about it, you’re likely already sharing small bits of your expertise if you share on social channels. Why not take all that great stuff and write a book? Writing a book might be the most powerful vehicle for a small business owner to make an impact on their industry.
You’ll likely get more business
Writing a book puts you on a completely different level than your competitors. That in turn may get you more attention, perhaps some press, maybe even an invitation for a few speaking engagements; all great opportunities to shine the light on your small business. Your book should be aimed at a target audience and their interests; it should be written to create trust for you as the expert best capable of meeting their needs aligned to those interests. Trust equals business.
There are a lot of reasons why a small business owner should write a book, but of course, consider the following before you jump off the deep end:
- You’ll likely have to self-publish, which could be an out of pocket cost. This includes layout, design, copyediting, and printing.
- Writing takes a lot of time. Hiring a ghost writer will cost money. Either way, it’s another expense to consider.
- You must promote your book. It’s not over once you step away from the keyboard. Consider how much time and money you need to spend to get the word out about your book.
- It probably won’t be a significant revenue source for your business. While possible, most small business owners don’t make money on the books themselves. They understand how to use the book as a marketing tool to generate business.
Most business owners know that getting word out about your business is crucial. Should small business owners write a book? The facts seem to indicate that it’s worth the time and investment, but if you decide to undertake this endeavor, go into it with both eyes open so you’re prepared, and work with a small business marketing consultant who can guide you on how best to leverage the book to attract more business.