Most people write books wrong…
An ongoing theme of my daily essays is “ego versus results.”
That is, how much of your marketing, selling, and business activities are dedicated to making you feel good about yourself, versus driving actual, measurable business results.
While I’m certainly not immune to doing things for vanity or other ego-centered reasons, I most definitely prefer results-accountable marketing and business approaches.
Which brings me to books.
I’ve bounced off the edge of the book publishing industry for years. As of last year, I also published my first book, The Copywriter’s Guide To Getting Paid. Many of my clients and colleagues are “gurus” — which means it’s a part of their public persona to have written and published a book.
I’ve also done a lot of thinking about books, including my motivations behind writing mine.
And I’ve come to a very important conclusion.
Attempting to write a “best-selling” book is a joke! But writing a “best selling” book could be the most brilliant thing you could do for your business!
“Roy, writing this in the airport at 5:45 AM after having been up for 2 hours is making you loopy,” you say. “I think you’ve gone off your rocker!”
Bear with me here. It will all make sense in a moment.
First, let me qualify my statement and advice.
First off, I’m explicitly referring to books you’re publishing for business or professional reasons.
If you’re writing a book for the art of it, that’s another thing entirely. If you write a novel, you want it to be a best-seller in the traditional sense.
But if you’re writing a business or professional book, trying to write or market it to be a best-seller is a joke and a waste of time.
What the heck do I mean?
Well, the traditional definition of a best-seller is a book that is selling better than the other books out there. Better than the books in its category, yes. But even better, better than all the other books out there.
When you reach this vaunted status, so much good comes of it.
You get prominent placement in bookstores. Amazon features you. The media talks about you. And on, and on.
And all of that is a good thing. Especially if you’re relying on your books for income.
In fact, this is the goal of the traditional publishing world for exactly this reason. They make money selling books. It’s easier to make money selling a ton of copies of one book than it is selling a few copies of a lot of books.
For this reason, they want you to be on the best-seller list.
In fact, if you go through a traditional publisher, they REALLY want you to have a best-seller, because that’s where the profits in traditional book biz come from.
That said, most good business books are NOT the main profit center for their author’s business — which points to a different approach…
If you’re writing a business or professional book, it’s likely that your book is more about attracting attention to your other products or services.
Making money on the book itself is nice.
But even one customer or client through the book can be worth 10X, 100X, 1,000X, even 10,000X or more the value of selling another book.
Which means the real goal of your book is for it to do the best job of selling you products or services as possible!
… Which, if you connect the dots, is my NEW definition of a “best selling” book.
The new approach to writing a “best selling” book is to create a book that does the best possible job of selling your products and services!
In this regard, it doesn’t matter if you sell 100,000 or even 1,000,000 copies.
That doesn’t matter.
What matters is that your book gets in the hands of your ideal target customers…
Introduces your offer and the problem it solves…
And attracts them toward doing business with you…
Even, perhaps, including a call to action that gives them a specific way they can respond to take the next step in building a business relationship with you and your business.
This actually means you take a different approach to writing the book, too…
In fact, your book should largely function like a sales letter for your product or service.
Now, don’t get me wrong. It shouldn’t be full of hyperbole and hard-sell pitches.
But it should do a great job of walking the prospect and reader through the decision-making process, in favor of your offer.
— First off, your book should be planned and designed from the beginning to attract the ideal target market for your products and services. From the topic and title to the design and distribution, you’re looking to put the book in front of your ideal prospect and get him or her to pick up the book.
— From the beginning of the book, you need to establish quickly and effectively that you understand the prospect’s problem or challenge, and can help them solve it.
— Not only that, it helps to really tell a story that agitates the pain of not solving the problem, to make them feel at a gut level that they need to solve the problem urgently.
— From here, you design the content to consider multiple solutions, including that of competitors. Every solution has its merits, and you should certainly highlight them. It helps to be helpful. But all along the way you will be setting up buying criteria that favor your product or service.
— Then, present a solution. Tell them what to do. Make it useful. While the idea is to bring top prospects into your fold, you don’t want every reader who doesn’t avail themselves of your services to feel jilted, like they bought and read a sales letter. However, you don’t have to go into all the details of how to solve the problem. Give them enough that diligent students will go out on their own do what you tell them to do. But also make it clear that you offer a solution that provides ample advantage over doing it themselves.
— Finally, make sure you’ve peppered your book throughout with stories of clients and others like them who’ve used your solution or a similar approach. This makes it easier to read, more interesting, and more believable. Plus, people like to see examples of others like them who’ve had success with what they’re learning about.
This is the backbone of a “best selling” book that is actually helping you to accomplish your sales goals…
There’s a lot more to do here, but not enough room in this essay or time for me to write it today.
Once you have this structure to your work, it’s time to build a system around it to support the goal of making the book do your selling work for you.
The good news is it’s a perfect business card and sales letter that people like to and will even pay to receive.
The trick is making sure you’re putting it in the hands of those right people.
Which may mean taking it out of the hands of a traditional publisher.
Which may mean you need to build a funnel around the book itself, to bring the maximum number of prospective customers into the fold.
Is this something you’re interested in? Hit reply or email me at Roy@RoyFurr.com — and maybe I can cover it more in upcoming essays.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,