Many people ask me for advice about getting a business book published, so I wanted to blog it for all to see. See below for my 8 ideas if you are interested in doing a business book.
1. Know your goals for writing a business book.
It is unlikely you'll make much money from the book itself, so think carefully about why you are doing it. For most business book authors a book helps bring in consulting gigs, speaking opportunities, or serves as thought leadership to build a business.
2. You have many options to publish, including:
- Free ebook without registration (a book you publish online and offer absolutely free- no registration required)
- Paid ebook (sell your ebook on your site or via Kindle or other ebook software)
- Self-published print book (you act as general contractor and pay all the costs to design the cover, typeset, print, store, and ship the book)
- Author-supported publisher (work with a publishing house who serves as general contractor, but you pay all the costs)
- Smaller or niche publishers
- Large business-book publishers with international distribution.
3. There is no perfect way to get a book published.
Each of these approaches has merits and drawbacks. I’ve done a bunch of free ebooks, have self-published a hardcover book – a novel called Eyeball Wars (2002), worked with a small publisher, CyberAge Books on Cashing In With Content (2005), and the last several books I’ve done New Rules of Marketing & PR (2007 / revised 2010) and World Wide Rave (2009) have been with Wiley, the largest business book publisher in the United States.
4. Because it is so easy to put a book out yourself, you really do need to consider if you need a publisher at all.
Anyone can set up an account on Amazon and sell a self-published book. By doing a book yourself, you control more aspects and make more money per copy sold.
5. The main benefit of a larger publisher is distribution.
There are tens of thousands of business books published each year and only a tiny fraction of them ever make it into physical bookstores. Even fewer get worldwide distribution. So without a large publisher behind you with the contacts in the bookstore marketplace, it is unlikely that your book will be stocked at Barnes & Noble, Borders, and the other chains.
My book The New Rules of Marketing & PR is now out in 24 languages, plus on Kindle, in audio book format, and in condensed format. Each of these “subsidiary rights” brings the author more money and also increases the number of people who see your ideas. Again, working with a large publisher makes it much more likely that your subsidiary rights will sell.
PLATFORM PLATFORM PLATFORM
6. OK, so how do you get a big publisher interested in your book idea?
The most important thing is that publishers want to know how you will sell books for them. They are interested in your platform. A large publisher wants to know how often you’re quoted in the press, how often you speak, if you do television appearances. They want to know if you blog, tweet, publish videos. Basically, they want to work with authors who are likely to promote their books and make sales.
When I got my first book deal from Wiley, one of the most important factors was that I had published an ebook called The New Rules of PR (2006) that had been downloaded about 50,000 times in a month or so. The ebook had been written about on dozens of blogs. So showing that I had the ability to generate interest in my ideas, I was able to give the acquisition editor confidence that I could sell books.
7. Hire an editor.
No matter how you publish your book, it is important to have someone to work with to provide editorial advice. No writer can edit himself, and only a fool tries. A good editor pushes you to clarify your thoughts, helps with organization, and advises on the big picture.
8. Only you can market your book.
No matter how you publish your book, you must market it yourself. I recommend that authors spend as much time marketing a book as they do writing it. However, very few authors actually do it. Most either expect their publisher to market it or hope that the market will discover the book. Don’t assume. Get out and market your book.
Image: Shutterstock / Jacek Chabraszewski