We knew writing a book was a worthy endeavor for multiple reasons, but it’s fantastic to see such a respected business magazine as Forbes extolling the virtues of publishing:
According to Jack Covert, CEO of 800CEOREAD and co-author of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time, there are about 11,000 business books published every year in the US. And that doesn’t include self-published print or ebooks – of which there are tens of thousands, increasing exponentially every year.
And yet, I propose that writing a book – a good book, mind you – can be hugely helpful to you and to your business.
Let’s start by defining our terms. By ‘good book’ I mean one that is well-written (grammatically and syntactically correct, with complete sentences and understandable, appropriate vocabulary); contains clearly stated, useful ideas; and is engaging – meaning readers will be drawn in and interested, vs. bored and confused.
We wholeheartedly agree with Erika Anderson’s definition of a ‘good book,’ which is one of the reasons we included editing in every one of our publishing packages. Knowing that anything we release is not simply a reflection of the author/client but also our company, it was the right thing to do for the sake of our business credibility.
Speaking of which, I can relate from my own experience that writing a book — even an independently published one, did wonders for my personal credibility in addition to my career, as noted by Anderson, who cites a study to back up her claim.
So, assuming that you’ve written such a book, how will that help you or your business? In 2006, Mike Schultz, principal of the Wellesley Hills Group, of Framingham, Mass., decided to find out. His firm, a marketing consultancy for professional service providers, released the results of a survey of 200 business-book authors. They called it The Business impact of Writing a Book. In an article in BusinessWeek that same year, Schulz said “The vast majority of the authors we surveyed — 96% — said they did realize a significant positive impact on their businesses from writing a book and would recommend the practice.”
He goes on to note, though, that the primary business benefits are indirect – that is, even the authors whose books sold well didn’t make much (if any) money from the sales of books. The benefits they cited were things like “generating more leads, closing more deals, charging higher fees, and getting better speaking engagements.”
Having a book published makes people think you’re smarter and more expert. I don’t know if you get the same effect through self-publishing, but it’s certainly been true in my experience of having books published with traditional publishers. As soon as my first book came out, at the end of 2006, you would think by the way others responded to me that I’d suddenly gained 20 IQ points. It was almost disorienting – I knew I was the same person, but previously closed doors magically opened, and people I knew wouldn’t have paid much attention to what I said before were suddenly listening hard. It was (and still is) enormously helpful in establishing initial connections with potential clients and business partners.