By Loraine Kasprzak, MBA
Is writing a book on your to-do list? Many of my clients have the knowledge and expertise to write a book, not to mention great book ideas swirling around in their heads.
But writing a book can be a daunting task, so I was I was glad to attend a recent Institute of Management Consultants NJ Chapter meeting where the guest speaker was an expert not only on writing, but publishing and marketing books.
Karen Hodges Miller, founder of independent book publisher Open Door Publications, shared advice for getting your book out of your head and into your readers’ hands. To get started:
- Set your target. Decide who the target audience is for your book. Are you targeting consumers? Working mothers? Senior executives? Be as specific as possible.
- Decide your theme. What is the one unique takeaway you want someone to get when they read your book? Summarize it in one sentence. Then think about your chapters and plan them out, with a mini-theme for each chapter.
- Schedule time. Block out time on your calendar each week to write. You don’t have to write every day, but whatever time you schedule, commit to it. You may decide writing for two hours on a Saturday morning works well.
- Create your title. Finding the right book title is the hardest part, said Karen, because it really has to grab the reader’s attention. You can Google your title ideas or search Amazon.com to see if the title is already in use. You may also want to ask the librarian at your local library to check the “Books in Print” database.
Think “marketing” early and often
Karen advised that you think about marketing and selling your book as soon as you start thinking about writing it. You should begin marketing your book even before it’s written by putting it in your email signature:
President, XYZ Financial Advisors
Author of How to Master the Markets in 20 Minutes or Less … Coming December 2011.
You should also mention your upcoming book on your website, Facebook page, blog, and LinkedIn profile. Create a separate website, with its own URL, to market your book. “The more you put yourself out there, the better your [book] marketing will be,” said Karen.
Should your book be in an electronic format or a hard copy edition? Because e-books are only about 2% of the market, Karen advises that you plan to have both. “The hard copy still has greater credibility,” she noted.
As you develop your book ideas, you will want to think about your publishing budget. “Plan on investing $3,000 to $5,000 for publishing, plus marketing expenses,” said Karen. “You’ll need a graphic artist, editor, publisher, proofreader, and a marketing professional.”
The alternative is to go the “DIY” route by, for example, publishing through Amazon.com. But, Karen pointed out, “You get what you pay for. You’ll have a book, but it will look like you did it yourself.”
Are you thinking about writing a book? Tell us about it in the Comments section below.