If you write a book as an entrepreneurial author you’ll be taking the fastest path to establish your leadership in the industry you work in.
In this article, I’ll explain what’s so special about nonfiction books and I’ll also provide you with 11 game-changing benefits that will take your business and your career to the next level simply by writing your own book.
The power of nonfiction books stems from the way our brains are naturally wired for the acquisition of information. At a basic level, in order to grow intellectually we need to learn new things from people that we perceive to be significantly ahead of us in our learning curve.
In order to trust that this information will be of help to us, we need to consider its sources to be credible, to be experts in the subject matter and to be authorities in their fields. In other words, our barriers of judgment for knowledge acquisition are pretty high.
Yet, for reasons that one could argue go back to the invention of the printing press, the published written word seems to have the ability to instill instant credibility in the minds of readers, bypassing the need to be in the presence of the expert.
Whenever we read nonfiction books or articles in a newspaper or journal – provided that the content is well reasoned, engaging and professionally edited – we’ll instinctively hold their authors in high esteem even if we never heard of them before.
It’s almost as if the written word in a published work has the ability to skip a lot of our subconscious, built-in filtering mechanisms and reach a place of credibility and trust deep inside of us.
That’s the true power of the nonfiction book.
There are countless examples of gatekeepers opening doors to new opportunities for first-time authors, for example by landing them lucrative contracts, simply because their competitors didn’t provide a book as a calling card – even in cases where gatekeepers hadn’t even taken the time to read the book!
If you’re an entrepreneur, business owner, consultant, coach or professional who wants to write a book to dominate your industry, this article is for you.
Here are the 11 game-changing benefits you’ll gain when you write a nonfiction book:
Benefit 1: A Book Is Your Ultimate Competitive Advantage
As the cost barriers to entry keep decreasing every year, the world of business keeps getting more and more competitive.
Creating a competitive advantage is no longer feasible by simply doing what someone else is already doing but charging less – that’s a race to the bottom, especially with the globalization of the workforce.
Another competitive advantage is disruptive innovation, which tends to be extremely expensive. And then there’s the middle ground where most of us battle it out day in and day out.
But there’s a secret weapon that you have access to that your competitors have a very poor record of adopting: writing a nonfiction book to elevate the profile of your business.
Statistically, 97% of people who start to write a book don’t complete it, or finish writing the manuscript and never get around to publishing it. Now, there are many reasons why this happens.
For some people, it’s following the wrong advice and then getting stuck in the process. The book publishing business is complex – there are many moving parts and they need to be orchestrated correctly.
For others, it’s not seeking professional help and ending up with a substandard product they’re not proud to publish.
But for many, it’s not fully realizing how big of a competitive advantage a nonfiction book really is.
So, if you become part of the 3% that do write and publish a book that provides value to your audience, you’ll automatically gain a significant competitive advantage at a very reasonable cost compared to other options.
Benefit 2: A Book Automatically Boosts Your Credibility
Well-executed nonfiction books produce a step jump in your credibility. As shown in the introduction, this is the result of the way our brains seem to be wired. And when you think about it, this is often how you discover new experts yourself.
You hear about a book in some news feed that provides the exact information that you’ve been seeking and you find yourself buying it and reading it – not because you recognized the name of the author, but because the subject of the book clearly matched your needs.
Now, once you’ve read and benefited from this information, you’ll more than gladly recommend the title and its author to friends and colleagues, and the word of mouth begins.
Since your friends and colleagues have trust and respect for you, that trust and respect will be automatically extended to this new author they never heard about before. And the author’s credibility will increase with every word-of-mouth exchange.
This is how your nonfiction book will boost your credibility. Not only will it make you, your work and your business more widely known, but it will also allow you to enter the circle of trust of your readers.
Now, in order to achieve this you’ll need the right strategy: you’ll need to create a book that’s well written, a book that’s well edited, a book that’s professionally laid out with a professionally designed book cover, and a book that’s easy to obtain in the market.
To help you in each one of these important areas, I recommend you read the following companion articles:
- On Writing: How to Write a Compelling Nonfiction Book in 12 Steps: A Must-Read Guide for Business Owners
- On Editing: How to Find A Book Editor That’s Perfect For Your Nonfiction Book
- On Book Layout: 10 Nonfiction Book Layout Tips That Will Glue Your Audience to the Page
- On Cover Design: 5 Book Cover Maker Mistakes to Avoid When Designing a Nonfiction Cover
- On Distribution: Self-Publishing on Amazon: Everything Nonfiction Authors Need to Know
Once you have the above areas dialed in, you’ll be able to take your skills in building credibility with your current prospects and scale it industry-wide, nationwide, and worldwide as the global reach of your book opens new markets you never thought you’d have direct access to.
Benefit 3: A Book Turns You into an Instant Expert
Nonfiction books have another impressive side-benefit. You might have developed expertise in your field for years through your business, your clients, and perhaps doing some teaching at the college level.
But unless you’re already published, your expertise will only be recognized at the local level of the people you directly interact with. A book, on the other hand, has the ability to turn you into an expert in the eyes of the world.
Why are nonfiction books so effective in turning authors into experts? Because of the perception of expertise that has been associated with authors through the long-standing curation of books by traditional publishing houses.
And the great news for you is that nowadays this association with expertise has fully transferred to the world of indie publishing and self-publishing, which is now beginning to take significant market share away from traditional publishing as production costs continue to decrease.
Readers, decision makers and gatekeepers aren’t going to be looking for the publisher imprint when they scan your book. There are virtually thousands of imprints in the publishing world and aside from the “Big 5” names, and their brands aren’t that well recognized.
What they’re looking for is how your book fits their needs.
Naturally, your book has to be as well-edited and designed as a traditionally published book, but nowadays this is no longer a barrier to entry given the proliferation of qualified author services companies and freelance professionals.
What used to be cost-prohibitive has now become cost-effective and the advantages of becoming recognized as an expert (read: the ability to increase your professional fees, paid speaking engagements, etc.) far outweigh this initial cost.
To find the right professionals and gain more insights about the publishing process, I’ve listed a series of articles below that’ll help you gain an understanding of your publishing costs, what you need to be looking for, and more importantly, what you need to avoid!
- How to Assess Author Services: What to Look For in a Top Book Self-Publishing Company
- Self-Publishing Cost: How Much Does it Cost to Self-Publish a Nonfiction Book?
- Publishing Options: How to Find The Best Publishing Company For Your Nonfiction Book
- What to Avoid: Self-Publishing Companies to Avoid: 7 Warning Signs To Look Out For
Benefit 4: A Book Establishes Your Authority in Your Field
The logical consequence of being declared an expert and cementing your professional credibility with the publication of your nonfiction book is being established as an authority in your field.
This is another game-changing benefit to being a published author. Given that 97% of people who start to write a book never complete it, there’s a high likelihood that the same percentage applies to your own industry.
There’s no question that experts who have published a nonfiction book carry more authority in the eyes of others than those experts who have not been published. It’s almost as if a book is a rite of passage as an authority.
Why is this? It’s a matter of scale. If you’ve been developing expertise in your field, you’ll only be perceived as an authority by those who know you directly: your clients, your prospects, your colleagues, and so on.
But the second you publish your book, you’ll gain access to powerful means of self-promotion, such as media outlets interviewing you as an expert (more on this in Benefit #9) and public speaking, keynotes and panels (more on this in Benefit #10).
And when you appear in those forums, you’ll be introduced as an authority in your field – simply because you have a book to your name.
You’ll be considered an authority by:
- The people inviting you to speak at various industry associations.
- The people in the audience.
- The people listening to you talk on the radio and on podcasts, watching you on television or being interviewed in print.
- The producers and journalists who are constantly looking for experts to interview.
You’ll also be considered an authority by decision-making bodies who tender contracts that you or your business may be bidding for and also by your own clients, who now have a very tangible reason to recommend your services: your book.
Benefit 5: A Book Becomes a Lifetime Legacy
All the years you’ve invested in your business and your career, all those years honing your skills and creating results for your clients, are certainly a powerful legacy. But they’re an abstract form of legacy.
The written word, however, carries a more permanent legacy. It’s easy to expand through sharing, and cannot be distorted like the spoken word can.
Your nonfiction book, especially if you write it in a way that is timeless, in a way that makes it as usable five and ten years from now as it is today, automatically becomes your permanent legacy.
For example, in the world of advertising the most seminal books on sales copywriting, still religiously read by professionals as well as students in the industry, were written in the 1940’s.
All subsequent books written to this day are simply variations of the main themes introduced by those books. The same applies in our very own book publishing industry.
The book “The Chicago Manual of Style,” the most widely used style guide for writers and editors in the U.S. to this day, was originally published in 1906. Now these are extreme examples of a lasting legacy, but at its core your book will be no different.
Your book may or may not become a blockbuster like the ones mentioned above, but it’ll always form part of your permanent legacy which will be of help to a much larger number of people than you’d ever be able to help one at a time.
How to Expand Your Legacy
Once you’ve established your legacy with your first book, once you establish yourself as an expert in your field, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t want to expand on your legacy with additional books.
As a matter of fact, authors with multiple books command much higher compensation for their professional services and as you’ll learn later on Benefit #10, they also attract much higher fees in the public-speaking circuit.
Once you’ve gone through the publishing process for your first book and reaped all the benefits from your endeavor, you’ll have a system that can be easily replicated.
No longer will you have to deal with the uncertainly of doing something for the first time. Your second book will be much faster to produce, and the third one even more.
How do you come up with more book ideas? The process is quite simple and it’s laid out step-by-step in this article: How to Come Up With Great Book Ideas For Business Owners.
Benefit 6: A Book Is a Lead Generator
This is a benefit that has more immediate consequences for your bottom line. A nonfiction book that’s used as a calling card for prospects is an order of magnitude more effective than a business card or a company brochure to convert them into clients.
Unlike online paid advertising, which disappears the minute you stop paying the advertiser, a book is a forever ad. It’ll keep generating leads for years to come and in the most unexpected ways. It’s not uncommon for prospects to become clients of a nonfiction author years after reading their book.
In fact, handing out your book as a calling card to prospects offers one of the highest conversion rates of any other means of advertising, often in the 70%-80% range. No other means of paid advertising comes even close. Only a direct referral from a highly trusted source can beat it.
Also, you have the added advantage of being able to reach the domestic market at large through book sales plus, the ability to reach international markets through world-wide on-demand printing distributors.
Lead Generation Ideas
In order to help you learn how to leverage your nonfiction book to attract new leads for your business, here are some ideas that are commonly used with great success:
- Include a call to action in your book (e.g. receiving a monthly newsletter with free tips and strategies in exchange for an email address).
- Handing out your book as a calling card to prospects.
- Speaking to an audience of prospects through public speaking engagements.
- Back of the room sales at public speaking events.
- Delivering your book’s content in a paid live seminar that includes your book in the price of admission, plus you get a free email list as part of the registration process.
- Delivering your book’s content in a free live webinar with links to purchase your book, plus you get a free email list as part of the registration process.
- Delivering your book’s content in a paid webinar with links to download a free eBook version of your printed book, plus you get a free email list as part of the registration process.
Benefit 7: A Book Makes You Highly Sought-After
Another great benefit of publishing your own nonfiction books is accrued over time. As your promotional efforts increase and word of your book expands, you’ll be able to slowly increase your professional fees as time goes by.
As your authority level increases in your industry, you’ll become more sought-after by prospects and you’ll able to bump up your rates in line with your market’s ability to pay.
Also, as you begin to introduce new books, your authority will magnify and you’ll be able to command even higher rates. At first this will happen gradually, but eventually demand will exceed supply and you’ll have to increase your rates nonetheless to achieve a balance.
The good news is that you won’t have to deny service to prospects; you’ll simply be able to create a multi-tier level of fees with you on top and the excess demand being diverted to more junior staff.
Your books will become the rising tide that lifts all boats, except that all boats will be owned by you. This technique is used very effectively by professionals with a private practice.
Benefit 8: A Book Opens Doors to Lucrative Contracts
This benefit applies to corporate, non-profit and government contracts for professional services. When you’re bidding for such contracts, you need to clearly establish your distinguishing advantages over your competitors.
Unlike contracts with individual business prospects, where you have direct access to the decision maker, lucrative contracts with large organizations are usually decided by committee.
And when it comes to influencing a group of people, there’s no better tool than a professionally written and produced book that quickly establishes your credentials as an expert and authority in your field.
Because of the 97% statistic of uncompleted books mentioned above, there’s a high probability that you won’t have many competitors using a book as a calling card. So, your book will become your most salient key differentiator.
And the craziest part is that most of these people are extremely busy and won’t even take the time to read your book. They’ll basically skim it (that’s why it’s critical that your book be professionally produced through and through) and make a decision worth tens of thousands of dollars or more based on first impressions!
Why? Because they’d rather rely on the documented expertise and authority conveyed in a credible book to pull the trigger than in dozens of proposals that after a while all look like they’re cut from the same cloth.
Now, that’s a true competitive advantage you can take to the bank.
Benefit 9: A Book Attracts Media Attention
There’s no form of exposure more credible to prospects than earned media. Unlike paid media, free earned media carries a lot of weight in the eyes of their audience.
Fair or not, articles by experts and interviews published in credible media sources are taken very seriously by readers, listeners and viewers and the level of seriousness will be commensurate with the reputation of the media source.
Credible media sources, be it online, print, radio or television, will have the highest audiences and this is the type of media coverage that you want to attract for your business or your career.
But unless you’re a celebrity it’s rare that a media outlet will interview an expert who hasn’t written a book that documents their expertise. Why is that? Because books are tangible.
The thing is, media outlets need to constantly fill space with news stories or informational pieces of interest to their audiences and they’re under the constant pressure of deadlines – and this should be music to your ears!
A well-placed book in front of the right producer will open doors for you to be interviewed in a variety of formats. Here are some examples:
Radio interviews tend to be longer in duration and allow you to explore deeper subjects. Many times, they’re accompanied by open phone lines at the end of the interview where listeners can call and ask questions live on the air.
In exchange for making yourself available to be interviewed, the journalist will pitch your book and tell their listeners where to obtain copies, plus announce any upcoming live speaking events.
It’s critical for all earned media opportunities that your book already be widely available through your distribution channels, especially now that radio broadcasts are also available to worldwide audiences through internet streaming.
(Note: revisit the end of Benefit #2 to learn about global channels of distribution for your book)
You can pitch your availability to be interviewed directly to producers (their information is typically available on the media outlet website) – remember they need you as much as you need them.
Make sure that you always tie in your expertise with current news events or events that are trending. Nobody likes to cover old news or things that aren’t top of mind.
Television producers work in a similar fashion as radio producers in terms of your pitch and their need for current news tie-ins. But television interviews are very short compared to radio interviews.
Unless you’re very famous and in demand, your typical television interview will last 2-3 minutes at most, compared to 10-20 minutes on the radio.
What’s key for television interviews is that you must learn to talk in 10-20 second sound bites. Something that reporters hate is rambling and never-ending answers.
If you can’t answer a specific question with a clean answer in 10-20 seconds, your interview will simply not air, and you won’t likely be called again in the future.
But, if you train yourself to answer succinctly and in a compelling way you’ll do very well and you’ll be invited back. How do you train yourself? Simple: watch a lot of television interviews of experts and take notes – what works and what doesn’t.
Print Media Interviews
Print media interviews are pitched to producers in a similar way as on radio and television and usually involve a brief telephone call with a producer first followed by the actual phone interview with the journalist.
They tend to be more conversational. For print, you don’t need to speak in sound bites because, even though you’re being recorded, the journalist will use the recording only for ideas.
Back in the office they’ll compose the through line of the article in their own voice in response to the needs of their editorial assignment and will simply bring you into the article through sporadic direct quotes.
It’s also common for print interviews to include quotes from a number of different authors, many of whom could be celebrities in their own right, which will help you increase your cachet by association.
Print media is a great reputational lifter because articles can be easily linked from your website through an “in the news” menu.
Online Media Interviews
Online media interviews are similar to print media, but can also include recorded interviews to be included in podcasts, and on occasion video interviews conducted on Skype or similar platforms.
Although print media outlets have had to develop in-house expertise in search-engine optimization over time, online-only outlets like Huffington Post and many others are experts in optimization since that’s the only way they make a living.
As a result, they’re more likely to achieve maximum Internet exposure for their articles, podcasts and videos.
If you want to find out who to pitch to online, simply do a Google search for your topic and then click on the “News” tab on the top navigation menu to find out what news outlets are appearing on the first page of results.
You’ll notice that not all the results are the large outlets (New York Times, USA Today, etc.). As a matter of fact, a lot of the first page results will be less traditional sources that have a large online presence.
Those are the outlets you want to target with your topical pitch.
Benefit 10: A Book Attracts Highly Paid Speaking Engagements
As mentioned earlier, nonfiction books cement your status as an expert in your industry and over time you’ll be able to command higher speaking fees as your reputation among event managers begins to spread.
Naturally, the more books you’ve published, the higher the speaking fees you’ll command and the more sought-after you’ll become in the speaking circuit. Also, speaking engagements have the added benefit of being able to sell your book in the back of the room.
In order to leverage your book to generate speaking engagements, you’ll have to follow the process in my companion article: How to Make a Book That Generates Speaking Fees.
In addition to being a source of revenue through speaking fees and book sales, public speaking engagements can also become a great source of motivated leads who are easier to convert should they be ready right away for your services. And if they aren’t ready yet, they’ll gladly provide you with their contact information for a future follow up.
Also make sure you capture the email addresses of as many people in the audience as possible with a free enticement (e.g. regular newsletter with valuable tips). Speaking engagements are a great way to begin building or adding to your email list.
What Fees Can You Expect to Earn?
The answer to this question depends on the size of the hiring organization, how recognized you are in the speaking circuit and how many books you’ve published.
At the beginning you’ll have to start small and rely heavily on your personal network to get booked to speaking events. Smaller industry associations are ideal for new authors, and speaking fees will depend on the size of the event and their budget.
Expect to get paid an average of $2,500 per speech at the beginning of your journey and make sure you get great letters of reference from event managers. Be sure to bring your “A-game” to every event.
This includes your preparation, presentation, all interactions with the event managers, and naturally the talk itself. You have to always give it your best no matter how small the event is, because event managers move in small circles and their word of mouth is very powerful.
As you gain experience and exposure your fees will increase to market levels. For you reference, here’s what expert public speakers with published books are expected to earn:
- $5,000-$10,000 per speaking engagement as an established expert in the speaking circuit with one book published.
- $10,000-$20,000 per keynote with multiple books and many bookings in the previous tier under their belt.
- $20,000-$35,000 per talk if one or more of their books has become a bestseller.
The above figures exclude back-of-the-room sales and potential side deals that may result from relationships that you can build with individual audience members who are in a decision-making position.
Benefit 11: A Book Helps You Become an Influencer
Last but not least, if you write a book you can become an influencer in your industry by developing a following on social media. Becoming an influencer takes time and effort, but it can pay handsomely as your audience grows.
As you amass followers who are waiting on your next social communication, as you dispense pearls of wisdom highly relevant to their needs, you’ll be able to begin attracting strategic partners and other influencers who’ll want to collaborate with you.
For example, they may offer to open their mailing lists to you in exchange for access to your followers, or you may be offered monetary compensation or a percentage of sales for pitching their service to your audience (vetted by you first, of course).
What Are the Best Platforms for Influencers?
- Your Personal Blog: Writing regular blog posts (you can recycle content from your book to cut down on your writing time) is a powerful way to develop an audience through social sharing – people tend to share articles they like via social media.
- Medium: This is a public blogging platform that is widely read. It’s heralded as a long-form content equivalent of Twitter and was started by some of the original Twitter founders. This is a great tool in the influencer arsenal.
- LinkedIn: If your audience is more of the B2B kind, LinkedIn is a great platform to post articles to increase your social footprint.
- Facebook: If your audience is more B2C in nature, Facebook is a great place for blogging via long posts.
- Twitter: Twitter is a great micro-blogging platform with a well-established pedigree for social influencers.
- YouTube: This is a great platform to develop an audience of subscribers if you’re comfortable speaking on camera in addition to written blogs.
- Podcasts: If you’re a budding journalist yourself, you can use podcasts through a variety of platforms to conduct interviews with other influencers and industry experts of value to your audience.
- Guest Blogging/Podcasts: Finally, you can spread your message through becoming a guest blogger for another influencer or being interviewed by other influencers for their own podcasts.
In this article, you’ve learned the tremendous value you can gain when you write a book for your business. Now, it’s time to begin thinking ahead about the best approach to write and publish your nonfiction book, since there are many possible avenues.
To save you time and effort, I’m repeating below a companion article from early on in the post so that you can get started right away:
I wish you the best on your book writing and publishing journey!
Leave me a comment below if you have any questions or a specific need that I can help you address – I operate an author services firm that specializes in helping entrepreneurs, professionals and business owners who want to publish books as a calling card for prospects, to establish their status as an expert or to just to generate additional leads for their businesses.
Here are some related articles I highly recommend:
Bennett R. Coles is the author of 6 books published through Harper Collins (NY) and Titan Publishing Group (UK). He is also the publisher at Promontory Press and the founder/CEO of Cascadia Author Services, a boutique full-service firm that specializes in premium author services specifically designed for busy professionals. Our end-to-end services include writer coaching, ghostwriting, editing, proofing, cover design, book layout, eBook production, printing, distribution and marketing.