At United Ghostwriters we speak to many professionals and business people who want a book to promote their expertise. They’ve heard that if they want to raise their profile so they’re more in demand they ‘need a book’, and that without one they’ll find it hard to stand out.
I can see their point – it makes sense. But how exactly does writing a book bring in more (and better) clients? What are the mechanics of it?
It’s a fair question, because writing (or commissioning the ghostwriting of) a book is a significant investment. You don’t want to commit yourself to it unless you can see how it can make you more money in the long run.
The good news is that a well-written book about the right topic will pay huge dividends. Here’s how it works.
The big picture
First of all, there’s the halo effect that a book brings to your position within your niche. The simple fact that you have the knowledge, skill, and sticking power to write (and finish) a major work that helps people within your target audience, is in itself impressive.
That’s why people put ‘author of’ on their social media profiles and talk about their book whenever they have the chance – they’re basking in the reflected glory a book delivers to them.
However, great though this is, you still want specifics. I get that, and it’s easiest to understand them if you put yourself in the shoes of one of your potential clients.
Imagine you have a problem and you don’t know what to do about it. Your first port of call may be your old friend Google. Let’s say your issue is that you want to carry out more PR to promote your management consultancy, so you type in ‘how to get PR for my business’ and up comes a raft of results. Some are blog posts written by PR experts, others are online courses or paid ads for the same, tempting you to invest significant sums in learning how to generate your own PR. You might also find websites for PR consultancies or done-for-you experts.
But there’s another result that attracts your attention. It’s a link to a book on Amazon called ‘How to get PR for your business’. Hmmm, that looks interesting. For only a few pounds or dollars you can learn the art of PR and, once you know more about it, feel better informed about what kind of help you need.
Then, as you read the book, you find yourself becoming mightily impressed with its author. She seems to know her stuff and is educating you on all sorts of aspects of PR you’d never considered. You flick to the ‘About the Author’ page and see she carries out PR consultancy and has a website. Off you go to that, sign up for an exploratory conversation with her, and eventually become a valued client. All because of her book.
That PR expert’s achievement was write a book, publish it, and put it on Amazon. The rest was up to you. Would you like potential clients to find you as effortlessly as this?
Speaking of books . . .
Now visualise yourself as an HR manager at a conference. You scan the list of speakers and choose one who’s talking about a topic of particular interest to you. It’s workforce diversity, a subject dear to your CEO’s heart and one you want to improve on and impress him with. You have a feeling you’ve heard of the speaker but can’t work out where from. Okay, time will tell.
As he strides onto the stage you still can’t quite place him, but enjoy the talk and pick up two or three useful insights that will make a significant difference when you return to the office. At the end he mentions the book he’s recently written on this subject. If his talk is anything to go by, it sounds like it would be worth a read,
As you exit the hall there are piles of his books for sale – he’s even signing a few and answering questions as he does so. It seems like a no-brainer to pick up a copy. When you read it, you’re so impressed by his knowledge that you check out his blog and sign up to his newsletter. You’re a fan, and two months later manage to persuade your CEO to allow you to become a client.
Here’s the last of my four ways in which you’ll attract clients through your book.
This time, imagine yourself scrolling through your Twitter feed. You spot a retweet originally created by someone who specialises in encouraging businesses to be more ethical, and it looks interesting. The tweet is an image quote and you’re curious about where the quote comes from. You click on the link that goes with it and it goes through to the tweeter’s book page. Aha, it’s a quote from their book!
Scanning the book description, you see this author has some bright ideas and a persuasive way of putting them across. Before you know it you’ve clicked on the link to buy it and it’s on its way to you. After all, for £15 you can’t go wrong, can you?
Once you’ve read it, the path to their door is much the same as in the previous examples. You’re getting the picture now.
Know, like, and trust
Note that in all these scenarios, you didn’t know the person before you read their book. You may have vaguely heard of them, but they certainly wouldn’t have been on your radar to ask for help. It was the book that brought them to your attention, and convinced you that they were worth spending time and money on.
You can see from this how a business book is a low-risk way to get to know someone – what they think, how much they know, and what they’re like. In fact, when you buy someone’s book you’re actually paying to put them on your radar!
Through their book you start to feel familiar with them – it’s like you’re giving them a trial run before you decide to take the relationship further. This creates a sense of trust, which is essential if you’re to feel confident about paying for their help.
This, in summary, is how being the author of a business book brings increased visibility, a more credible profile, and more (and better) clients.
Ginny Carter ghostwrites authority-building books for entrepreneurs, thought-leaders, speakers, and coaches.