Perhaps you’ve got to the stage of thinking of writing your first book, maybe you’re doubting your abilities, or maybe you’ve even made a start. You probably have a million questions in your head about the process ahead of you. How long will it take? Do I need an editor? How will I get it published? And probably, the killer question, ‘How much is it going to cost me?’

A publisher will pay for it won’t they? 

In an ideal world there would be an old-fashioned, traditional publisher out there for everyone with the desire to write a book. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if big publishers like Penguin, Pearson and Macmillan were just sitting, waiting with open arms for you to turn up with your book idea? They will meet all the costs and pay you a big fat advance on your royalties to come. And you will walk off into the sunset with the promise of big sales and a beautiful book in your hands, one that you can be truly proud of. Well, maybe for some this is true, but we need to be realistic here. There are fewer and fewer books published by traditional publishers and more and more folks wanting to get their book out there in the world. Most people writing and publishing books these days will need to be doing so independently. And therefore the question of resourcing the project is an important one.

So what’s the answer?

Perhaps we need to reframe the question. How much should you invest in raising your profile? How much should you invest in being seen as an authority in your industry? How much should you invest in becoming the ‘go-to’ expert in the field you love? How much should you invest in strengthening your expertise and widening your connections?

What value do you place on your own expertise?

The real purpose of a business owner publishing a book should run deeper than just getting a book onto shelves. It’s a huge investment of time and effort, before you start thinking about publishing costs, but business authors choose to make that investment because they know that the value of ‘expert’ is priceless.

Ballpark costs

It is perfectly possible to publish a book nowadays without spending any money at all. And yet, if you invest nothing in the project it’s likely you will get nothing in return. And a book that will seriously support your business should be a lovely, professionally produced product, not something that’s been cobbled together cheaply. When a book is produced professionally, whether that is by a traditional publisher or an independent one, the true production costs are likely to be in the region of £6000 – £10000 for a standard paperback with an initial print run of 500 to 1000 copies.

Invest in you, invest in your business, invest in your success

If your book is going to open doors and build credibility for you as the true professional that you are, then you need to invest all the resources you can into making sure it shows you in the best possible light. As with anything you do in your business, you need to invest to grow and it pays you to do this wisely and in the most effective way possible. So here are my top tips for making wise decisions when it comes to investing in your book.

  1. Take some time to think carefully about how your book fits with your business strategy. One leadership coach I’ve worked with told me that a connection she made at her own book launch led to a deal that paid in full for all her production, publishing and marketing costs for the project.
  2. If you are lucky enough to get a publishing deal, make sure you invest in your own marketing support and help from a PR professional. There is a limit to how much a publishing company can do and you as the author will sell more books than they ever could if you put effort into it.
  3. Don’t expect to get a return on your investment from book sales alone. While it’s a good idea to create an efficient marketing strategy for selling your books, the most effective way to pay the publishing bills is to find ways to leverage your newfound credibility as a published author. Many people spend money and effort on trying to get to the top on Amazon, whereas in reality, one book landing on the desk of one senior leader in a targeted organization could be 100 times more effective for your business and your bank balance.
  4. Don’t skimp. A poorly put together book will not do you any favours. Amateur publishing by definition will create books that do not meet high enough standards, and in a professional world these stand out like a sore thumb. If you really want to self-publish then engage the services of a professional project manager who will put together an expert team.

Finding the resources

What if you simply don’t have the resources in your business right now to pay for it? My suggestion is to see it as any other aspect of building your business. If your book will help you to get to the next stage of growth, then take out a business loan to cover the expense. Or if that feels like too much of a stretch, speak to a professional independent publishing company, like The Right Book Company, about a payment plan. You may find you don’t have to pay for it all at once. We have several publishing packages and payment plans that can help spread the costs. Most importantly, get clear on what you want the book to do for you in your business and your life. It will help you get the tricky ‘investment’ question into perspective.

Sue Richardson is an experienced speaker, publisher, Director of The Right Book Company and author of The Authority Guide to Publishing Your Business Book