with Aliza Sherman
If you own a business - home-based or otherwise - this is the blog where you'll find practical tips and smart ideas about entrepreneurship. I've started and run 4 different businesses so "been there, done that." I'll also invite successful entrepreneurs to share their best advice with you.
To learn more about Aliza, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! and her website, www.mediaegg.com.
As an entrepreneur who has published 7 books, I’m frequently asked if writing and publishing books is a money-making endeavor or if having published books helps my business in any way. I initially explain that writing books has been a lifelong goal of mine, however, starting and running a business is only something I first tried 12 years ago.
In my case, starting an Internet company in 1995 led to my first book deal. I had been shopping a book proposal around through a book agent about women and the Internet. I was turned down by every publisher she approached. Then I was featured in the Wall Street Journal for my work on the Internet for women. That week, I was approached by 5 publishers asking if I’d write a book for them about women and the Internet - including the very publishers who had just turned me down a few months earlier. The funniest part of this experience was they didn’t actually know if I could write and didn’t really care. They were willing to hire a writer just in case I couldn’t. Luckily, I could and ended up signing a book deal with Ballantine Books.
But how did this book help my business? The book was called “Cybergrrl: A Woman’s Guide to the World Wide Web,” and clearly it was directly related to my business. While the book sold almost 10,000 copies which is considered acceptable by most publishers’ standards, I will never see a dime from it in royalties. I don’t even know if the publisher recouped the $12,000 advance they gave me for the book. So this is a long-winded way of saying: No, you cannot make money from a book unless:
a. You self publish and even then it is a risky undertaking depending on your self publishing method and your ability to market and sell, sell, sell your wares.
b. You have a best seller or at least your book reaches the tipping point of book sales where your publisher recoups the advance money and sales finally move into the realm where you will receive royalties.
Yes, I believe a book can do several things for you and your company:
1. Position you as an expert in your field (if your book is about a topic relevant to your business).
As the head of your company, being positioned as an expert can only help.
2. Boost your credibility.
Publishing a book seems to say to people not only “This person knows what they are doing” but also “This person was talented/capable/smart enough to get a book published.” These things cannot hurt your business.
3. Enhance your public relations and marketing efforts.
When you are a published author on a particular topic, the media is much more inclined to want to speak with you and quote you in their articles as an expert. Being a published author can open marketing doors for you, providing you with a tangible tool that you can put into the hands of potential customers.
4. Provide revenue opportunities through speaking engagements.
While speaking revenues will probably not be the main part of your business model, it can be a revenue stream for your company. Think carefully, however, if you want speaking revenues to be personal income - if that is even possible - or corporate income. Speak with your accountant about the best way to handle this money.
Writing a book is hard work and can take some people years to finish. If you have a book deal, however, publishers will have their own deadlines that you have to meet. Publishing a book can be complex and time consuming, especially if you self publish. Ask yourself: Do I have time to write a book? Do I have time to publish it or land a publishing deal? And how will I fit this book into my company’s marketing and revenue strategies?
Publishing a book is not a simple undertaking, but as you can see, it can be leveraged to your company’s benefit.
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