This is a rough draft of the Introduction from my forthcoming nonfiction book Nothing Sells Your Business Better than a Book.
When I open my presentations, I ask two questions: “How many of you throw away books in the trashcan?” I follow this question with the next one, “How many of you throw away brochures in the nearest garbage can?” The second question provides the audience’s a-ha moment.
Most people feel value when they buy or are given a book. A book has weight. It has pages. It has merit. It conveys the perception of knowledge and expertise and time and money to publish. A feeling of guilt or at least a sense of environmental responsibility overcomes the desire to toss all that time, money, expertise, and most importantly “paper” into the garbage can.
On the other hand, how many flyers, tri-fold brochures or one-sheets create such a moral or ethical dilemma that you actually feel guilty to throw it away? I’ll be honest. I’ve thrown away countless brochures. I even curse when someone shoves a flyer under my car windshield wiper because now I have to find a garbage can so I’m not a litterbug (anyone raised in the ’70’s era of trash propaganda knows what I mean about litterbug guilt pangs … insert crying Native American here). Meanwhile, I can only think of one time I deposited a book in the nearest trash receptacle – and that was because the author annoyed me with a bad presentation. I figured if she couldn’t even speak on her subject with intelligence, what were the chances her book would be much more interesting?
Truth is when people either buy or are given a book, they are unlikely to throw it away. In fact (and this is the real value), if the reader doesn’t need the book or can’t use it, he or she is more likely to give it to a friend. This is the other a-ha moment when audiences responded favorably during my presentations. The pass-around rate on a book harkens back to that old Faberge commercial, “and she told two friends…” Not only do authors get mileage out of the first point-of-purchase sale, but also the pass-around value makes a book even more attractive – especially to business owners or those who wish to become a subject matter expert in support of their businesses. Brochures go away. Books last and are passed around.
This concept alone should convince entrepreneurs and executives to publish a book. In fact, a book’s value proposition to any business far exceeds its shelf life. A book is your entrée to new opportunities AKA sales and customers. I am about to cite the extreme value proposition that is sure to cement your desire to publish a book. The opportunities are so amazing I don’t know why when a book doesn’t cost that much money to publish that a smart business executive would not publish one.
When I share this information I am speaking from experience. My business books have built my own publishing company 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com), and sometimes even paid for the book’s cost in mere hours off press. The first thing I teach anyone interested in publishing a book is VERY IMPORTANT:
Do NOT measure the individual book sales as your return on investment!
My third book Vanity Circus came off press, and I took it the Book Expo of America held annually in New York City. The first person I handed a copy to; she took the book with her on the train back home, read it, and by the time she reached the station, she called me and a $20,000 deal was cut. The book cost me $6,000 to produce and publish 500 copies. Do you think after that one contract I needed to sell the other 499 copies to make a profit? That book sold dozens of other copies (and some were giveaways), and many more contracts were derived from those sales. It made a lot of money. I still have 200 copies I decided are dated so now this book will take its place. Do I care that I have 200 unused copies? The answer is simple: no.
What else does a book do to create opportunities? It creates prospects that would otherwise not exist if you didn’t have a book to sell or giveaway that supports your business? What are these opportunities?
A marketing platform—a book becomes the centerpiece to build your marketing platform, which will promote your business. I will drill down to the essence. A book provides a theme and content to populate your platform, which includes newsletters, blogs, social media, websites and more.
A news hook and creates exposure to your name, company or service—a book creates news; real news that the media can feature. It gives you something to tie to a greater story at large. For example, a book about reinvention could be tied to the headlines for New Year’s resolutions. A book about a social issue could be tied to an “awareness” issue such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
Exposure or increased visibility—the book and your name in the news and on the Web increase awareness of your name, book, product or service. More people hear about you, and the benefit snowballs into more interest in you and more “followers” or “friends” on social media. More exposure on social media generates more interest in current and future products.
Makes you an expert—now you are identified as an expert on your topic or subject matter. What happens when someone thinks you’re an expert? You get asked to speak in front of groups and share your expertise. What happens when people think you’re an expert and they see you in person speak (and you’re an especially persuasive, interesting or entertaining speaker)? People hire and buy from experts. Now you have two opportunities: speaking engagements and exposure to potential customers and clients. The media may even invite you to share your expertise for interviews, and what does this mean? It means even more exposure to your name, product or service.
After I just outlined this fantastic sales pitch, you are likely convinced you need a book for your business or to support your profession. Yet maybe you’re not a writer or you are a writer but a so-so one. Maybe the idea of 200- or 300-page books just scares you. You want to run right out of my presentation or put this book down now and forget it.
Forget your fear. Don’t be scared. Don’t run away.
What I’m about to do is layout the specific value of what a book does for a business, how it does it and why, and then I’m going to calm your nerves. Publishing with a reputable and knowledgeable publisher or book coach doesn’t have to scare you. Many different techniques can be used to produce your book, including ghost writing for those who don’t want to write at all. I’m even going to give you the shrewd update on publishers or “scary” signs of publishers to avoid working with these folks. I’m going to share a few horror stories not to scare you but educate and inform you so you’re armed with information and don’t get scammed.
Let me tell you something depressing: an author who shows up to work with my company 3L Publishing and sadly shares his or her rip-off tale. Now this person is working on a shoestring budget or cannot afford my services. I wish I could help him or her, but I am in business too and cannot cut a deal because he or she got scammed. Regardless I feel badly for this person each and every time I receive that phone call.
So I hope after you finish reading my book you will realize that in fact Nothing Sells Your Business Better than a Book, and you will be well armed to go forward with information to achieve success and avoid common pitfalls. I’m going to give you all the information you need to make a sound decision, and then I am going to share specific case studies of authors/entrepreneurs/business people whose books created unprecedented opportunities for growth and success. By the time you finish this book, I am certain you will be clamoring at my door utterly convinced Nothing Sells Your Business Better than a Book.
—Michelle Gamble, CEO, 3L Publishing, www.3LPublishing.com