So What's to Gain from Publishing a
Now that the majority of white-collar professionals have college degrees, what do you do to distinguish yourself from your peers? To gain the next promotion? To promote your product, service, or professional practice?
Publish books and trade journal articles. The publish-or-perish mandate has spread from the academic environment to the corporate setting. Publishing has become the new pastime for those who are already there and those who are still building a career. Prestige, money, new business,' recognition-all are valuable and reasonable to expect as a result of publishing your idea, process, procedure, or data.
The Rich and Famous. The likes of Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Michael Eisner, Jack Welch, Queen Noor, and Harvey Mackay have turned publishing into power. Publishing has added pizazz to their already prestigious careers.
Thought Leaders. The more these people write, they more they increase their ability to think clearly and find their voice. By capturing their ideas in books sold around the globe, they influence others and lead a life of significance by shaping how the world thinks, change how organizations do business, and improve people's lives.
The Average Joe or Josephine. Each month callers to my office express their publishing plans this way: "I'm a lawyer, and our firm is working on a really interesting case. We're thinking of doing a book on it. Can you tell me how to go about it?'"'I have a manuscript about real estate equities that I've just finished. As a stockbroker, I don't know much about publishing. Do I just take it to a publisher or a printer, or what?" "My boss is really after me to get a book published on this new anticorrosion process our company will be marketing next year. It was originally a technical paper, but I guess I'll have to change the approach a little bit for the general reader, don't you think?" "I'm a gynecologist who's developed a new technique for laser surgery, and the hospital wants to get some PR out of it. I've got 20 pages dictated. Can you people help me turn it into a book?" "I've got a small catering business and I want to do a cookbook. It'll be a giveaway to corporate customers. And we may use it as a fund-raiser, if we can get some corporate sponsors."
The Competitive Corporation. The mere mention of a company's name and product or service is now worth measurable dollars - dollars these companies are willing to pay their employees in bonuses or professional PR people for their publishing efforts. Whichever category you fall into-the rich and famous, the thought leader, the average Joe or Josephine, or the competitive corporation- the timing for getting your ideas into book form couldn't be better.
That third-party endorsement from a major publisher says to the world that "somebody out there," some objective editor, thinks what you have to say is worthwhile and that people would pay money to hear/read it. Corporations underscore the credibility factor when they pay their employees bonuses and give them high visibility for their publishing efforts-whether books or journal articles. Nothing enhances your credibility or brings recognition-from colleagues, from your own management, from customers and clients-like publishing a book on your subject of expertise. In fact, this principle has even worked its way into our language.
To establish someone's credibility, we say, "He/she wrote the book." Not only do you receive nice royalty checks from the book sales, you often fmd that sub-rights sales fatten the pot: software, video, and audio rights; fees for excerpts reprinted in national magazines and journals; premium sales; Internet licensing fees; sales of spin-off products such as T-shirts, buttons, posters, calendars, and other paraphernalia; and fees for consulting and speaking engagements.
So how do you make the most of publishing your book when your purpose is to promote yourself, the product or service, and your business? First, negotiate with your publisher an excellent discount schedule for your own purchase of the book for resale or promotional activities. Then, proceed as follows.
Tell everybody in your business community about the book. Generate press releases on amusing, informative, unique, or thought-provoking research you've done for the book. Those late night radio talk shows and little-known regional publications readily grab informative tidbits and statistics (as opposed to hype) to provide their audiences with useful information. Your message may reach just the specialized audience that will be interested in learning about how your firm can meet their needs.
Give copies to current clients to show your gratitude for their past business and to build loyalty for a long-term relationship. How can they take their business elsewhere when you keep supplying them with complimentary $29.95 hardcover books?
Give copies to prospective clients to gain their attention. Direct mail-no matter how clever the opening line and packaging-is still discarded by many assistants before the boss even gets a look. Assistants, however, don't generally discard free books. Give people a nice hardcover book, and they'll read your accompanying letter to learn the why, what, and how of your other products and services.
Give copies to individual "champions" inside a prospective client organization so that they, in turn, can present you and your ideas in the best way possible to their decision makers who can hire you or your firm for other projects.
Answer inquiries about your product or service with the routine brochure-and a free book. What better proof that you're a recognized expert on the subject? You've outdone the competition immediately in your willingness to be transparent about what you can really do for the client or customer.
Give copies to people who can refer you to others who need your product or service. It's one thing for a colleague to say to a friend over lunch: "If you're ever interested in someone who designs excellent employment-compensation packages, I know someone you should talk to." It's a far more impressive referral for a colleague to say to a friend over lunch: "If you need someone to design employment-compensation packages, I've got a book on my shelf that you need to see-this guy also consults on the issue...."
Mail copies to associations and meeting planners looking for speakers-an instant badge of credibility for a recognized expert. Then when you land a speaking engagement, give the audience a quality talk, and you'll end up with backof-the-room book sales and leads for other business ventures. And those products will be passed along to other decision makers who can use your services. Although these pass-on audiences themselves might not have heard you speak, you're obviously an expert if you wrote a book, right? That book in hand is often as good as "being there."
Dianna Booher, founder and CEO of Booher Consultants, is a popular author and speaker focusing on personal and corporate communication. She has written more than 40 books with major publishers, including Communicate with Confidence!®, Speak with ConfidenceTM, and E- Writing: 21st Century Tools for Effective Communication. She presents her self-styled publishing workshop two times each year to help other authors submit their proposals to major publishers. www.booher.com