Entrepreneurs are always on the lookout for ways to boost their business. One of those ways is to become an author. A book doesn’t have to be 100,000 words and hundreds of pages long. An e-book can be as short as 50 pages, just make sure it’s packed with solid, useable information.
How a book can boost your business
A book immediately establishes the creditability of the author in their field. Customers feel more secure knowing the company they deal with has recognized established expertise at the helm. The release of a book can lead to greater media exposure and requests for speaking engagements which increases the visibility of the firm.
A book can be given away as a promotional item to new customers. If it’s an e-book, there are little or no out-of-pocket expenses. An e-book can be immediately downloaded from a website or sent as an electronic file in response to a request. The contact information of the potential customer can be collected as part of the download process.
Polish to Perfection
If you have the great ideas for a book but your writing needs a bit of help, there are the options of collaboration – writing with another author, using the services of an editor and ghost writers. Hiring a writer to take your ideas and put them on paper in manuscript form is no different than hiring a copywriter for your advertising, or a public relations person to write your press releases. What counts is the content and that comes only from you.
Is Self-Publishing Right for You?
E-books can be easily formatted from most word processing files at minimal cost.
If you want a hard copy of your book, you can use a publish on demand company such as Iuniverse, authorshouse or xlibris. The fees are reasonable and you can print as few copies at a time as you need. One company, lulu.com doesn’t charge any fees upfront, although you need to have your book, including the cover artwork and formatting all ready to go. Again you can have one copy printed or one hundred.
An offset printer is the most cost effective method of printing 500 copies or more, but you’re responsible for all the formatting, interior design and artwork.
If your goal is to see your book being sold in bookstores then it makes sense to forgo the self publishing route and consider selling your book to a commercial publisher.
Mainstream Commercial Publishers
There is a bit more cache when a book is published by a mainstream commercial publisher rather than self published. Publishers vary in the types of books they’re interested in. Some only want nonfiction narrative, some cookbooks, others business books. There are a number of resources, both websites and books, which describe what types of books each publisher is looking for, their contact information, and often the name of the editor to contact.
Commercial publishers will pay you an advance, which is simply a fee for allowing them to publish your work, and take care of all the editing, formatting, cover design, and marketing. The advances can run from a few thousand dollars to several hundred thousand dollars. Once your book is accepted, you do not have to pay the advance back, unless of course it’s stipulated in the contract, but that is very rare. Commercial houses have the distribution and sales force in place to get your book into bookstores. Most bookstores, both independent and chains, do not stock self-published books.
The downside of commercial publishing is it takes time, from 12 to 18 months, to see your book finished and sitting on the shelf. You also lose a bit of control over the process. Most publishers take into consideration the author’s wishes as far as cover design, publication date, pricing, and marketing, but they have the final say so in those decisions.
Know what publishers and literary agents want to receive. Most publishers will not accept unsolicited manuscripts, so don’t send them one. Send a query letter which describes your book and why you’re qualified to write it, to the appropriate editor at the publisher.
The good news is, most nonfiction books don’t have to be completely written before the publisher offers a contract. You just need a solid book proposal and a sample chapter to entice them.