I’m still convinced a book is the single-best marketing tool there is…
There are really three secrets to leading your market. Even though getting these three things right won’t automatically put you at the top of your market, they are the tools you can use to put yourself there. These three secrets, applied through time and with intention and ongoing focus, will make you a leader in your market. The thought leader, if not also the revenue leader.
The first is setting your market’s buying criteria. If you do not set the buying criteria for your product or service, you will be at the mercy of your prospect’s buying criteria. And often, that means the cheapest price between products that seem to be mostly identical. If, however, you establish the buying criteria, you can justify higher fees and will have happier, more fulfilled customers.
The second is expert status. You can be the very best at what you do, and nobody may know it. If you hole yourself up in your “cave” and simply practice your craft at the highest level, your capability will get very little respect. It’s not until you put what you know out into the market before you start to be recognized as the expert on the topic or industry.
The third is celebrity status. That is, how well you are known to the segment of the market you wish to attract. We’re not talking Kim Kardashian here. This is simply being a recognized name and face to the people inside your target market.
Most people write books to establish expert and celebrity status. Very few also use their books to set the buying criteria in the market. All three, done together, make your book an almost unstoppable marketing tool.
And yet, even though almost everybody wants to have written a book, most people will never write one!
You can never get the benefit of having written a book if you never sit down and crank one out. But for most folks, that triggers the painful visual of late nights or early mornings, sitting with their laptop in the dark, staring at a glowing screen as they crank out pages upon pages upon pages of text.
The image in your head of all the pain it will take to write a book is what is most likely stopping you from starting, or — once started — stopping you from finishing.
And frankly, that image in your head isn’t too far off from one of the most common ways that books get written. Long, hard hours hunched over a keyboard, bleeding onto the page. That can be how you write your book, but it doesn’t have to be.
What if I told you there was a much quicker, easier way to write a book, that could be done in the equivalent of an 8-hour workday?
While I do owe you some honesty in saying this isn’t something you can complete in one work day — that is, it can’t be done tomorrow — it is very possible you could pull this off in a total of 8 hours of work.
I’ll show you how.
I’ll take you through, step-by-step.
And if you follow along, take me seriously, and follow the directions…
You could absolutely have the work done in a week.
That is — you can take a book from idea to publishable manuscript in a week or less, with a total of about one work day’s worth of work!
Let’s dive into the step-by-step process!
- Outline (1 hour)
A good book starts with a good outline. You need a beginning, a middle, and an end. You need a narrative that will carry you through. This doesn’t happen by accident. It needs to be thought out in advance.
Even more important, assuming you’re writing this for business purposes, is that it needs to accomplish your sales objectives. Yes, it should contain valuable content for its intended audience, your target market. But it needs to also setup the problem you can solve for clients or customers. Agitate the reader’s emotions around not getting that problem solved, pronto. Invalidate past and competing solutions to the problem. And reveal the promise of your unique method and approach to solving the problem. Along the way, you’re also setting the buying criteria that will help your prospect choose you over every other option available to them in the marketplace.
I recommend FreeMind mind mapping software. It’s easy to use. It makes for fast brainstorming. Once you have your ideas into it, they’re easy to edit and organize. And, it’s free!
- Create questions (30 minutes)
One of the easiest ways to flesh out a nonfiction book is by answering questions. Every topic you want to include can be addressed by way of questions. When you want to go into more detail, a series of questions can make that happen.
Once you have your outline for what you want to cover, turn every point on the outline into a question. Word them in such a way that if you were asked the question, you could answer it in the best way for the book’s narrative, and to move your prospect along toward the inevitable result of doing business with you.
- Record a phone interview (2 hours)
Next, find a friend who is willing to ask you those questions on the phone. They’re going to interview you to get the answers to the questions out of your head, and into words.
Use a free teleconference bridge line, like FreeConferenceCallHD. Or, use Skype with recording software that will let you record the conversation. Or, sit down with a friend and a microphone in a quiet place, and have the conversation in person.
You don’t need this to be perfect. You just need to have a conversational interview where you answer the questions, following the outline, to get all your ideas “on tape.”
And a quick reminder to save you having to do a do-over… Make sure you hit record, and you may want to do a test beforehand to make sure your recorder is picking up a good enough quality recording that both speakers are clear.
- Get a transcription (30 minutes)
Now, pay someone who does transcriptions to transcribe it for you. I recommend a network of US-based, native English speaking transcriptionists called Princeton Transcription. For about $2 per minute, they will provide a very high quality transcription of your conversation. For $3 per minute, they will run it through another editorial pass, basically making it publication-ready.
I only list 30 minutes here because that’s about how long it should take you to manage the outsourcing process. While you can do it yourself, transcriptions are best left to people who are well-practiced at it. And the quality is better when they have transcriptionists and editors both working together, in a well-honed process, to ensure top quality.
Regarding price, you can get cheaper services, even from Princeton Transcription (their budget service is about $1 per minute). But you don’t want to. What’s the value of your time? The amount of extra time spent editing a bad transcription is a much, much bigger cost than the dollars spent getting it right the first time.
- Edit the transcript (2 hours)
If you have a great transcription, editing shouldn’t take too long. You might want to make tweaks here or there. You might want to smooth out some wording, or clarify something that doesn’t come through on the page. But editing a good transcript should be pretty dang easy!
Don’t forget in this step of the process though, that conversational prose is a good thing. One of the best reasons to do your book as a recorded interview is so that you actually do make it conversational. It will be more readable, and so it will be more likely to get read.
It takes a long time to get good at writing very conversationally. Or, you can record and transcribe and have conversational writing almost instantly!
- Get a cover designed (30 minutes)
Did I hear someone say fiverr? Search “book cover” on fiverr, and look through all the examples from all the different designers there. Find one who you think can pull off the design you like. It will probably cost more than $5, but it still won’t cost very much.
Before you hire them, go to Amazon. Find the best seller list for the category your book will be in. People do judge books by their cover, so you are better off looking to best-selling books when looking for something to be inspired by. Pick 3 to 7 books that you think have really good covers. You can also take notes about what you like about each.
Now, go back to fiverr, and go to whatever designer you think can best pull off what you’re looking for in a cover. Give them any directions you have, including the links to the book covers you like on Amazon, with the notes on what you like about them.
Also, in this process don’t forget that you’ll want both a physical book cover and an ebook version. A physical book is a better marketing tool, but it doesn’t hurt to get the ebook cover done while you’re getting the other one. And besides, it will help when you want to just show the front cover of your book on your website or elsewhere.
Have a bigger budget? Well, you can hire a great designer such as Lori Haller, or you can try 99designs for a book cover contest that will have multiple designers competing to give you exactly what you want.
- Get the book laid out (30 minutes)
Finally, you need to make the manuscript of the document ready to go in the book. Again, you could do this yourself. But, that may not be the best idea. It’s simple, even easy once you know what you’re doing. But there’s a lot to think about that’s not immediately evident. And unless you’re cranking out book after book after book, it probably serves you no benefit to learn it yourself.
I don’t have a preferred service for this, however there are a lot out there. What you do need to know is that you’ll need two or more separate documents in the end. First, you’ll want a fully laid out PDF version of your book that’s formatted to fit the printing specs of whoever you use (I use Amazon’s CreateSpace and do recommend them for most first-time authors). Second, you’ll need at least one ebook file that’s specially formatted for ebook readers. If you’re just publishing through Amazon’s Kindle platform, that’s a .mobi file. If you’re publishing elsewhere, you’ll probably also need an .epub.
To find a service provider, search for terms like “ebook formatting,” “book formatting,” “book interior formatting,” and so on through your favorite search engine. The prices are usually very affordable, because the process (assuming you have a clean Word document for them to work from) is formulaic and fairly straightforward.
There you have it!
You’ve just written your book in a day. As a bonus, you’ve also outsourced the cover design and formatting for the book, so you’re ready to publish.
From here, it’s just a matter of following the process to get it setup for printing, and ordering your first copies.
Amazon’s CreateSpace, which I recommended above (and recommend for most), has a simple step-by-step form you fill out that will take everything you have from following the steps above, and turn it into a book available for sale in print and ebook versions through Amazon. And the great thing about using their service is that they’re so widely used, you can get almost any question you have in the process answered via a simple Google search.
Within about a week, you can have printed copies of your book, in-hand, ready to give to prospects. And then you can discover what a breakthrough marketing tool it is!
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
P.S. — The process above is very similar to what I followed for The Copywriter’s Guide To Getting Paid. If you want to see what a finished copy looks like, you can get one just by paying shipping when you click here.