Have you written a self-help book, DIY book, user manual, training book, or some other book that is full of advice? If so, don’t stop when it’s published. In fact, even before you start writing, make plans to use your book to build business.
If you’re an expert in your field, dream up ways to build business based on your expertise. Could you give seminars? Sell new services? Sell tangible products? Let your imagination run wild. Then look around to see if anyone is already offering something similar, and get more ideas from that.
A few examples of ways to build business
Have you ever seen doctors and financial people giving advice during pledge drives on PBS television? Each of those presenters is selling you something. Many of them have started with a book and expanded into a service. Use those folks as examples and inspiration for your plans. You may not want to go on national TV. But you can start locally, gain experience and confidence, and see if you can (or want to) expand.
You should use the internet to sell, too, but you must start increasing your online presence well before your book comes out by implementing the best methods for search engine optimization (SEO)—see below for more on that.
So use the book to sell your service or product, and vice versa
- Set your specific, detailed goal(s) and a timeline. Be flexible, though, if your goals turn out to be unrealistic or if a different opportunity presents itself. Don’t be discouraged by slow progress; simply shift your timeline a bit.
- Organize the business before you go to press with the book. For many of you, this is the one you’ve run all along, so make plans to take on more work. Or plan to take on less work as you go in a slightly new direction. Heck, you might even want to quit what you’re doing and become a professional writer! But that’s a topic for another day.
- Set up a website, or update and reorganize your existing one. Use your site for content marketing—that is, marketing your knowledge or service by offering advice online. If you’re generous with your knowledge, your reputation will grow. You should definitely allow space on the site for book selling, but don’t overemphasize it.
- Pay attention to SEO (search engine optimization). Learn some of the many ways to get your page to the top of the list in any online search. Ignoring this leads to life at the bottom of the heap. See below for ways to learn more about it.
- Mention your website frequently in the book or place the URL at the top or bottom of each page.
- Write a chapter in your book about your service or product, maybe telling how you started, some interesting things that happened on the job, some famous people you met, or whatever might interest readers. They don’t want the story of your life; just entice them with a few of the interesting bits and leave them wanting more.
- Offer readers a discount on your service or product. Likewise, offer a discount on your book (or offer it free) to your clients or customers. This will build business and your readership.
- Make absolutely sure that your book is of the highest quality. Hire both an editor and a proofreader, have a professional-looking design and layout (that’s what we’re here to help you with), and add an appendix (perhaps) and an index (definitely) to produce an authoritative book that compares favorably with the best ones on your topic.
- Try making how-to videos for YouTube, podcasting, writing your own blog, and then writing guest blog posts for others in your field.
- Get help. You can do all this marketing and business development yourself with tremendous effort and possibly a very steep learning curve, or you can spend some money and get expert assistance. Read on.
Businesses to help you build business
The short list of resources below is just a sampling of what’s out there. Most are dedicated to helping self-publishers and small presses find success. But please remember that what you get out of these services will depend on how much effort—not necessarily money—you put in.
You can spend a small amount on books (or go to the library):
- SEO 2018 by Adam Clarke
- Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi
- Search for more books and a blog on content marketing at the Content Marketing Institute.
You can spend a moderate amount on services (or read the blogs for free):
- Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound
- Sandra Beckwith at Build Book Buzz
- Roger C. Parker at PublishedAndProfitable.com
You can spend a great deal on advice and services:
- Quantum Leap and other book marketing and publicity services with Steve Harrison
So the book is just the beginning. Think of it as the selling tool, the jumping off point, the advertising medium, and the start of your empire. Since it’s spring right now, you can even think of your book as fertilizer. Now get going and build business!