Publishing your own book can be a huge asset to your business, and to your personal credibility, but where do you start and how does the process work?
The only way to get the lowdown is to ask an expert, so I called on Andy Gibney of 3P Publishing to tell me more.
Watch Episode 85 to find out what he had to say…
Hi, and welcome to another episode of BaranovTV, designed to demystify the world of accounts and tax and to help your business grow.
In today’s episode, I’m with Andy Gibney from 3P Publishing, who is going to talk us through why you might want to think about writing a book to help position you or to position your business, the process involved, and the value that could come out of it. So, over to Andy.
Hi, Andy, thanks very much for joining me. We’ve talked briefly, obviously, before we started to video, about why people might want to think about writing a book. So, hit us with it really.
– Well there’s a couple of reasons. You got to think of it as two strands that people write about. They are either novelists, fiction, or non-fiction. And you would think that most people within business only want to write non-fiction to position themselves. But there are plenty of people who want to write their novel as well.
You’ve got to approach it in a different way.
A novelist needs to sell as many books as possible in order to get a return on their investment in time and in money. And a non-fiction book is about positioning for their business and their speciality, if you like, if you’re talking about accountants, say.
– In terms of that positioning and the process involved, how do you work out what to write your book about and where do you start? With a blank sheet of paper, it’s quite daunting, as a prospect.
– Sure, always a book that hasn’t been written. And you think they’ve all been written, right? There are so many thousands of books written every year, but there’s always that angle that you look at and you think, “There isn’t a book on this.”
Or you, as an individual, as a business, you would say that I am an individual. I am unique. My approach to everything is unique. Whereas most people would see accountancy as accountants.
Now we know that’s not true. So what makes you unique? And then what would make your proposition of a book unique?
That’s easy to say in a sentence, but if you’re looking at a 140 to 200-page book, which is anywhere from, I don’t know, 22 to 40,000 words as a small book, how are you gonna say that as a way that engages a reader?
The second part of that equation is, who would read this book and why would they read this book? And once you’ve got those two things, your initial idea and who might be interested in it, then you start to make a plan. You might plan 12 chapters, for example. And then from each chapter, as your headings, then you explain each part of it as you would. If you were talking at a dinner party, if accountants ever get invited to a dinner party–
– Now and again.
– But yeah, so if that was to happen, and you went to something, and someone was asking about your speciality, you wouldn’t shut up for about four hours, would you? You’d just rattle on, and you’d have this conversation, and it would be a conversation because a monologue would be really dull. And as you do that, all these words come out.
And there’s your book.
– Okay, all right. And when you’ve got the book, most people when they write, would just write as they potentially would speak in that conversation. So what happens at the end of that process to go from a conversation through to a finished book that you can actually make use of within a business?
– We set up a company to help people to publish their books. There’s a number of different ways to market.
You can go to a traditional publisher, which is a Fabor and Fabor or a Random House or someone like that. That’s quite difficult to get into, and especially with niche books, more difficult.
The self-publishing route can be very, very successful. One of the great things about self-publishing is you get paid monthly on your sales as opposed to once or twice a year as you do with traditional publishing. But it all depends about how many books you want to sell.
But a part of it is, we take that manuscript, that Word document, and we turn it into a book for you.
We do the editing, the proofreading, the layout of the book, the cover design, get your ISBNs, do the e-book version. Because there’s quite a few complicated things that need to be done. And unless you’re really good at it, you’re better off giving it to someone else. In the same way that I’m not good at accounts, so I give my books to my accountant and my bookkeeper.
– So play to your strengths.
– 100%, yes. And take good advice from the publisher, whoever that is, whoever you decide to go with. Find someone you like to work with and you’re not clashing heads with all the time because that’s just painful.
– And when you’ve got that book, and it’s finished, how can you make the best use of it, I suppose?
– If we’re talking specifically about a non-fiction book where we’re trying to establish yourself in your field, it is about, number one, you have become the author, so that’s the ‘authority’. That’s where the word comes from.
So you become the authority on that niche.
And that then means you have that leverage to how you use it. Now, before the book comes out, you ought to be thinking about the marketing of the book, you might be setting up social media groups, you might be joining into LinkedIn conversations, it might going to networking things saying, “This book is coming out.”
Setting up a Facebook page for the book is a brilliant idea, perfect idea, setting yourself up as Liz Baranov, the author, is a good thing to do as opposed to just Liz Baranov or however else you do it. So that people start to get the idea that it is your book, and you have this authority about you.
Now once you start to do that, those marketing methods are imperative as well. So you have to think about how you would reach your audience normally, and you’ll find that people then treat you differently because you’ve got a book.
Because even though there are thousands of books written every year, people still recognize it’s not easy. It’s a relatively difficult thing to do for people who are not wordsmiths, for example.
– But when we were talking before, you were saying that obviously there are authors out there who have really got the return on the effort involved.
– Sure. Yeah, again, that return can be in book sales, but normally it’s in terms of this elaborate business card that you’ve got that says…
Now a lot of people give those books away. There was one guy who was in property businesses. And he leverages that by using that book to get people to come on into his property courses, and that’s worked brilliantly. And he has become the Amazon best seller.
But you should think way beyond the Amazon best seller, because you don’t have to sell many books to become an Amazon best seller. So don’t think that that’s that important. A Sunday Times best seller, that’s completely different.
But in how you use it, it’s about sending that market to your normal channels. So let’s say that you want to get, we were talking earlier about a dream client.
– So if you were gonna approach your dream client that you were trying to get, let’s say different people are sending them stuff, but if you send them the book, all of a sudden, that person will have a perception about you that’s greater than if you send them a letter, for example.
It’s the way other people perceive you as well as the marketing methods that you use. I got into a company that’s worth £2.5 billion, I had never even heard of, it was local to me, who liked the title of one of my books. I got a nice speaking fee out of that, sold a bunch of books while I was there as well.
But I only got it because of the book.
– I know obviously you’ve got a vested interest from your publishing business, but from your perspective, writing a book for the right business can really pay dividends to be well worth the effort.
– Oh yeah, absolutely. You have to treat it as a marketing piece. If you’re gonna do non-fiction, if you’re a novelist, if you got that novel that’s going around in the back of your head that you want to write, that’s a different purpose.
But if you really want to stand out, become the category of one, you have to have a book that is niche and tells someone something they don’t already know.
Remember, if you just went on Amazon with accounting books, you would find a lot of books. You’d find a lot of dull books as well. You have to find the book that’s interesting and engaging.
Roald Dahl said it best, I think. He said his greatest fear as an author is that when somebody’s reading their book, they get to a point and go, “Nah, I don’t think I’ll bother.” and put it down.
And you don’t want your reader to do that. So writing a good book is far more important than writing a book.
– Thank you.
– You’re welcome.
– As Andy said, writing a good book is a really good marketing pillar. We know we have clients that have written books and put them to really good use within their business. If anyone’s interested to know more, then please, as ever, do get in touch. Otherwise, I’ll see you all very soon.