So, you’ve written a book about your thought leadership content! Congratulations. Now, what?
One of our clients, some years ago, worked in corporate social responsibility. He had written a marvelous book on the topic, but, well – it looked and felt like a graduate textbook. It was a thick, heavy manuscript, full of deep jargon and applied technical terms. He brought it to us, and we said, “No one is going to pick up this book at an airport bookstore. It will make a two-hour flight feel like a trip between Los Angeles and Sydney.” The book was pitch perfect for a CSR expert, but it would be torture for the average businessperson.
When you write a book about your content, you must ask yourself three very important questions.
Who are your real readers? How do they consume information? Where do they find new material? Only a minimum number of people will encounter your book out in the wild, perhaps browsing through an airport bookstore as they’re trying to kill time until a delayed flight finally boards. Maybe some people will find your book through an Amazon search. But many more of your readers will come through direct contact—in some way with you—and through book referrals from friends.
If you’re looking to make a fortune selling business books, that’s unlikely to happen in the current market. This decade has seen very few “run-away bestseller” business books. So, set aside your dreams of mansions and yachts from your royalty checks.
Instead, when you write your business book, you create an opportunity to build a relationship with prospective buyers and clients. So, how do you get your book into the right hands?
To really tip the odds, you need to be more proactive. You need to consider how to get your book into the hands of individuals to whom it will be most relevant. Who are those people? Can you get your book on their desk? In most cases, successful business books are written for smaller audiences. Even if it’s written toward a more general population, meaningful impact will only occur in a subset of readers. So, how do you reach them?
You need to find your audience, and figure out a way to gift them copies of your book with a nice cover letter that says, “I wrote this, and I think it might be relevant to you.” You need to personalize each offering, and by personalize, I mean make it pertinent to the reader and their situation. Do a little bit of homework before you send the book. Who are you sending it to, specifically? What is their organization dealing with? You may write something like, “It seems like your company, based on what I’ve seen in the news, is looking at X, Y, and Z as an issue. Take a look at Chapter 6. It might be relevant to you.”
Think about people who are influencers. Podcasts are popular, as are blogs, and you may find a YouTube speaker with an audience that’s closely related to your content. If you can find someone in an alternate media with an audience built around the people you want to reach, send them an email, ask to come on the show, and seek a chance to share some of your insights. You could follow-up with a copy of the book. Successful business books are all about finding the right audience, and creating connections without waiting for them to come to you.
Remember, too, that not all copies have to be in physical form. Sometimes, you can gift an e-book link. After a good call with a client or podcaster, you could say, “I’d be happy to share a copy of the book with you. Would you prefer a Kindle copy, or a physical one?” Try to match your gifting to specific individual’s needs and requirements. That way, they’re more likely to read it – and more likely to remember your thought leadership when they have a problem you can solve.