The 6 Things You Should Do Before Writing a Single Word of Your Book
If you’ve been thinking about writing a business book, your focus has probably been on how to start the project. You may have thought about a potential title, maybe planned the order in which facts will be shared, and possibly filed away some quotes or case studies you want to remember to weave in once you start writing.
However, the key to publishing success is getting your book into the most reader hands as possible. When you do that, new business opportunities can start to emerge, thanks to the new connections you make, the credibility you earn, and the expertise you share with your audience.
Why write a business book?
Just some of the benefits of being able to call yourself an author can include:
- Increased demand for your services
- Thought leader or influencer status
- Invitations to speaking events
- Justification for raising your fees
To attract new business opportunities and claim some of these benefits, you’ll want to spread the word about your book far and wide. It’s truly a numbers game – the more your book is shared and discussed, the more opportunity will seek you out.
Who is your audience?
Most business authors write books to position themselves as experts in their industry, to express a belief or strategy, to create a new income stream from book sales, to share a new idea or perspective – or all four.
Depending on your goal(s), your target audience may consist of one or more of the following types of people:
- Potential clients
- Current customers
- Media representatives
- Local businesses or residents
Bringing these people, and others, together so that you can share news about your book is both an efficient and effective way to market it.
Build a community
You’ll actually get better results from publishing your book if you first identify the people most interested in the information you have to share and make them aware of you and your expertise. So before you start to write your book, do these 6 things.
Some call these activities “priming the pump” and their objective is to inform your target audience and get them excited about your forthcoming book.
- Start blogging
If you have a company or professional website, start writing regularly about your book’s topic, whether it’s about artificial intelligence or influencer marketing. Don’t share written chapters, but foster discussion about the general subject you’ll be covering. Your goal here is to raise awareness of the topic and put yourself forward as the foremost expert in it.
So if you’re an executive coach with a methodology that helps leaders improve employee productivity, you should consider blogging about leadership, professional development, and productivity. If you’re a management consultant who helps companies scale, your blog could cover growth strategies, perhaps profiling companies that have scaled quickly. And if you’re a serial entrepreneur who has figured out a formula for flipping small businesses for product, you should consider writing about what makes a company successful, or turnaround strategies.
Get the conversation started now about your area of expertise through the content you share on your blog.
- Pursue guest blogging opportunities
After you’ve been blogging for a bit and have a track record of successful posts, reach out to colleagues in your field who also blog. Propose writing a guest blog post that would be of interest to their audience, but on your topic. By writing a post for someone else’s blog, you expand your reach and reputation and may attract new blog subscribers and potential clients.
For example, if you’re a wealth manager, you could reach out to investing or personal finance bloggers about creating a unique post for them that leverages your specialty and helps their audience learn something new. That could be about recent changes in the tax law, setting up trusts, or choosing an investment broker. Or if you’re a retailer, propose a post about your local area to another retailer in your town or shopping center.
Read past blog posts to get a sense for how sophisticated their audience is, as well as what they’re likely interested in.
- Join a Forbes Council
Forbes magazine offers qualified executives, entrepreneurs, and business leaders, as well as pros in other industries, the opportunity to publish on the Forbes website. This opportunity is another way to establish yourself as an expert, leverage the Forbes reader base, and gain additional credibility.
The first step is applying for consideration. If approved, and once you pay the annual fee, you can begin posting articles on the Forbes site in your area of expertise. This can be an excellent way to gain attention for your topic in advance of your book.
- Build an email list
The best way to leverage your author status is to find people who are interested in you or your topic and tell them about your book. One way to do that is by setting up a landing page that describes your book and your background and invites them to leave their name and email address so they can be notified when news related to the book is available.
Some authors create a freebie, or a digital download, to entice people to give up their personal information. However, this also makes it harder to distinguish between people who want to know more about your book and people who just want your freebie. You may want to keep it simple and ask for the contact information.
- Produce a newsletter
To communicate with your growing audience, consider designing a simple e-newsletter you can send out fairly regularly to update them on news about your book and/or about goings on in your area of expertise – Constant Contact and Mailchimp are two of the big names in e-newsletters.
Once you’ve started gathering names through your landing page of people who want to hear from you, it would be a good idea to start communicating with them. Don’t overwhelm them, but updating them monthly on your progress, new information you’ve picked up, and facts you think they’d like to know is a good way to remind them that your book will be available for purchase soon.
- Become more active on LinkedIn
Of all the social media platforms, LinkedIn is the most business-oriented. It’s where members of the business community go to network and exchange information. You should be there, too.
But being active is different from being registered. After setting up your profile and filling in all of the sections, it’s time to start making connections.
Using the search bar, find friends, colleagues, college classmates, former co-workers, prominent people in your community and in your industry. Then find people who are in your target market to connect to. Search for them using their title, such as “CFO,” or by company, by geographic area, or other filter. Aim to send out 10 to 20 connection requests daily in order to steadily build your network.
Also comment on posts those in your network have written or shared. Be supportive and encouraging.
Share posts others have written that you found interesting. Write and publish your own articles on LinkedIn about your book’s core topic. Or post your most recent blog post there with an introductory message specifically for your LinkedIn tribe about why you think the information is important or interesting.
As you start to make progress on your book, such as when you have your title selected or your cover designed, begin to add those pieces of information to your website, in your email signature, and in biographical information shared on LinkedIn. The closer you get to publication, the more you’ll want to spread the word of your book’s availability. You can even announce the opportunity to pre-order your book on Amazon then.
If you wait until your book is done and in your hands to start telling your audience that you’re an expert and thought leader, you will have a much harder time reaping the benefits.
Authors, what did you do before publishing your book that reaped the biggest benefit?