How to Use a Book to Build a Career or Business

book business

Imagine meeting the person who can impact your career big time. Maybe it’s an angel investor for your start-up or a corporate executive who can get you some major consulting or public speaking projects. What can you give them, to effectively communicate that you’re worth listening to? 

A business card? A resume? Most people throw that stuff away as soon as you give it to them. They’ll move on and forget about you.

Or let’s say you want to grow your business. Why would a stranger give you money for your products or services? Why would they trust you? No one likes to chase clients and get people for their business.

This is where a book comes in. A book communicates that: 

  1. You’re someone who had ideas and insights that are powerful enough to create a book,
  2. Not everyone can start, finish, and publish a book – but you did; 
  3. You know what you’re talking about, plus you can execute.

Everybody has a business card and a resume. And every business has a website. But compared to the masses, only a few people have a book.

Of course, simply having a book won’t get you there. Your book has to actually deliver its message properly and persuasively. Otherwise, you’ll lose the credibility you’re trying to build. So how do you publish a book to build a career or business? 

Be clear about your goals 

Every book has a purpose and a message. If your book has nothing to do with your professional field it won’t help your career at all. Imagine a sales trainer who would write about yoga. Nothing wrong with both topics, but there’s no match between your profession and your book in that case.

So think of your goal first. 

  • Want to sell books and make money from book royalties? 
  • Or do you want to sell consulting, courses, apps, you name it?

You have to be clear about the goal of your work, including the kind of people that you’re writing it for. This article is for people who want the latter.  

Remember that on average, nonfiction books sell less than 500 copies in a year. There are authors who couldn’t even reach the industry average, while best-selling authors like the late Stephen Covey have sold millions of books. 

Price’s Law applies here too. Only a handful of people generate the majority of book sales. That’s why your book’s message and purpose have to be very clear from the start. To be honest, I’m definitely not part of the minority that generates the majority of the sales in the book business. And that’s totally fine. Accepting that will only make your career or business more successful.

Write something that genuinely helps 

A book’s main selling point is an effectively communicated idea. 

Consultants, public speakers, and coaches are all there to help a specific niche of people. Keep this in mind when you’re writing your book: Don’t write for everyone. Your personality, style of writing and solutions won’t work for everyone. Hitting too broad or too narrow will get you nowhere, so focus instead on giving a unique solution to a general problem

Remember the scene when you give your book to a potential client/investor/business partner? Think of your book as an answer to your target audience’s perceived problems. This is why you should talk about the things you know best. It’s always about leveraging your strengths to solve other people’s problems. 

Your book serves as an initial impression of your skills and expertise. I believe this is the only way you can demonstrate your worth. No one cares about promises and what you want to do. Show it! This brings us to the next point. 

Establish your credibility 

There are plenty of experts in the world with shiny business cards and fancy websites. If you want to be a high-demand consultant, public speaker, or personal coach, your book helps you stand out from the crowd.

There’s a reason why bloggers, interviewers, journalists want to talk to the “person who wrote the book” about a topic. A book not only shows that you have the concentration, dedication, and focus to get something done. It also establishes your status as an expert in your field. 

Nowadays, it’s almost an almost a necessity for panel experts or public speakers to have published at least a book or two, to be considered as a real specialist in the field. We’ve got to be honest about this.

So remember to write your book well. Remember to be honest about what you say (you don’t want to have a reputation of being sleazy), keep your stories personal, clear, and to the point, and research your facts right. 

Create and attract opportunities 

Here’s what I learned about the nonfiction book business: Don’t focus on book sales. Why? Because it’s all a matter of getting your book in front of the few people who can truly impact your business. 

My first book sold about 20-30 copies a month. The royalties were a few bucks a month. Most people will not be able to earn a good living from book royalties. But that book helped me to create many different opportunities as a trainer, earning six figures.

Even now that I have a bigger audience, my book sales are good for about 7% of my revenue. You see, it’s not about book sales.

With your book out there, you can reach the attention of people who are both consciously and unconsciously looking for what you have to say or the services that you offer.

This is especially true for technical experts. You’re unlikely to reach busy executives or company heads using social media ads. So when you write your book, don’t think too much about book sales. Instead, focus on how your books will attract the right opportunities. 

Books are forever

The great thing about writing a book is that often, your book can far outlast you. Peter Drucker passed away years ago (2005), yet his ideas are still being used in many progressive companies all over the world. How crazy is that? Think about the potential impact you can have with a book.

This is the true power of books: They immortalize our ideas and stories, farther than our own lifespan can ever reach. It’s all about creating a lasting impact on people’s lives. 

So when you’re writing a book to build a business, always think about this: How can you change your reader’s life? Answer that, and you’ll book will take care of the rest. You just have to write it first.

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