10: The business benefits of publishing a book
In this Episode, Sue and Dave discuss some of the specific outcomes and benefits that publishing a book can bring to a business.
Discover how a book will cement your expertise and authority, give your business lasting credibility and integrity, hone your uniqueness and individuality and help you boost your bottom line.
As a business-building tool, a showcase for what you do, a doorway to exciting new opportunities and a marketing device that can help you extend your reach into new markets, a book is powerful – find out how and why in this podcast.
with thanks to Dave Harries of CommunicateTV: www.communicatetv.co.uk
Dave Harries: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Right Book Project, a Right Book Company radio production. My name is Dave Harries and I’m here with my co-presenter, Sue Richardson, to explore the whys and wherefores of book publishing and how writing a book can enhance your business and personal profile. Sue is a publishing expert, who’s been in the book business for many years and has written her own book – The Authority Guide to Publishing your Business Book. This podcast is all about you and your journey to writing a book. So, please get involved by joining our Facebook group, The Right Book Project, or tweet @therightbookco. You’ll find notes, links, recordings and transcripts of these podcasts on therightbookcompany.com. Now, we’ve been covering all sorts of areas of writing a book in these podcasts. We’re up to episode, gosh, I think we’re on to episode 10 now. So, we’ve covered a great deal of ground, haven’t we Sue? And we’ve been extracting all this wisdom from Sue and our guests, and today we’re going to talk very specifically about the business outcomes, or the benefits if you like, of writing a book; how that’s going to affect you and your business. Because obviously, most of the people that write business books are in business in some way or another. And the books tend to, if I’ve got the right end of the stick here Sue, they tend to benefit those businesses. Give me a very broad-brush overview of why a book should be good for a business, because that’s not necessarily, on the face of it, a sort of intuitive thought, is it?
Sue Richardson: [00:01:26] I suppose not. There are so many ways though that I think almost every business and any business could benefit from having a book. Particularly I guess, and probably the people that we mostly work with, would be businesses who are perhaps service providers, where the business owner is an expert in their field and the business is based on that expertise, to obviously have a book as a real kind of foundation…I mean, there are many, many ways that a book will benefit that business because a book can be a product that can display that expertise, if you like; it can show the author and therefore the business as being the go-to people, if you like, in that area; it can be a fantastic authority builder, credibility builder.
Dave Harries: [00:02:27] Obviously, there are lots of benefits, and we’re going to go through those in some more detail. But I wanted to start really with this issue of the, you mentioned, you know, that it was a tangible product, a physical thing, you know you’ve got a book there. And I kind of instinctively see that that’s a nice thing as an individual, to be able to say: look here’s my book. I kind of understand that. So, I suppose it’s how that relates in that sense to your business. And I mean, are there cases where people have written a business book where it’s got nothing to do with their business? Or is there always a connection there, do you think?
Sue Richardson: [00:03:05] I think if you want to create a business-building book it needs to relate in some way to what it is that you do as a business. Clearly there are going to be times where, and I have met many authors or business owners who want to become authors, and perhaps have an idea that doesn’t quite sit with their business. And I’ve always said: well, you know, if, in terms of a business-building tool, that expertise that goes into that book, that whatever the book is about, it needs to be something that, if you like, kind of showcases what the business does, in order for it to have an impact on the business, and on the bottom line of that business.
Dave Harries: [00:03:52] I suppose as well…I mean I know from reading books like the E-Myth, the Michael Gerber book and things like that, there’s a lot of what one does in business, when one sets up a business, is sort of peripheral to the expertise that perhaps you brought to the business in the first place. In Gerber’s book he uses the example of somebody who makes brilliant cakes. So, you’re a brilliant baker and you make these marvellous cakes. And then you think: right I’m going to go into business making cakes, because I love doing it and people love my cakes. And then they discover that making cakes is maybe 10 percent of running a business, if they’re lucky. And the other 90 percent is all the boring stuff, like marketing and sales, and admin and managing, and all those sorts of things. And I suppose, looking at a book as a product within a business, what it does is it gives you an opportunity, in some ways, to go back to what it is you’re good at. If I were a brilliant baker, I could write a book about fantastic ways to make fairy cakes or something like that. And there’s probably some sort of, deep down there’s some real connection that you can make then with your audience that doesn’t require you to be spending all your time marketing and sales and admining and all that stuff. So, perhaps there’s a sort of therapeutic quality for the business owner. Or am I being a bit fanciful now?
Sue Richardson: [00:05:12] No, I don’t think you are at all. And I think that’s absolutely true. And you know I bang on a lot about purpose with a business owner. One of the key things, and I am sure we talked about this in previous episodes, but one of the best, the key benefits of writing a book for your business is to get in touch with that whole purpose and that passion that you have for what it is that you do. To get back in touch sometimes even. You know, a book will take you on a journey back to exploring what it is that you do, or why you do it and who you do it for, in a way that is phenomenally successful for many, many business owners that I’ve met. You know, it can be…if you think about…we interviewed Sonja and Sharon, from Valuable Content Marketing. And they talk a lot about how, when they created their book, it led them to move their business on enormously, because they were able…Sonja always had that lovely thing that she said: one of the main things I got out of writing my book was it showed me what it was that I was thinking. It took her back to what drives her, what really gets her out of bed in the morning and it allowed her to play with that. And, in the process, create a fantastic book that then literally gave her the platform and the profile to become known in that world as being the ‘queen of content’ sort of thing, as well as to have this incredibly fulfilling journey into her own expertise.
Dave Harries: [00:06:54] So, that’s sort of the authority, it gives you that authority, gives you confidence, presumably.
Sue Richardson: [00:07:00] Mmm, absolutely.
Dave Harries: [00:07:00] I’m presuming you can then use, you can then kind of plough that authority and confidence back into the business, if you like. A bit like ploughing your profits back if you were talking purely monetary terms. But you’ve then got something, a hook to hang other aspects of your business on. Is that your experience?
Sue Richardson: [00:07:17] I think without any doubt. You know, whether that’s…and books have a lovely way of, especially books that really have kind of taken up that foundation, that core of a business, you can create other products around your book. So, you know, maybe it’s an online learning course or maybe it’s a keynote speech or…you know, these things go together, they go hand-in-hand, they sell each other, and the book will help you to develop all sorts of products in your business that enable you to take your place on this platform if you like as the expert in your field. And to kind of create noise around your brand as well. I think that’s really important to create, noise is perhaps not quite the right word, but that authority, that stamp of, you know, this business knows what it’s doing; this business is attractive. This business is something that people will come to because of this robust way of, if you like kind of concretising, packaging up the expertise that has been developed in that business. And a book can be, a book might be…you might start with a book or it might start with…say you might get the opportunity to do a keynote speech or something. That might lead to a book and then a book might lead to more keynote speeches. The book is a great door-opener. You know, there are so many ways that you create this kind of attraction by having a book.
Dave Harries: [00:08:58] So, the book is a repository for your wisdom, for want of a better word, for your expertise, for your authority and can give you confidence. You talk then, you mentioned then about opening doors. Let’s talk a little bit more about that. Do you think a book is, in your experience and actually could you give us an example or two of this, you know, does it take you or can it take you into completely new markets? Obviously, you talked about talking, presenting and giving talks of stuff. I suppose for a lot of people that might be a completely new experience, if all they’ve done is run a business, they may not be used to that. And suddenly find themselves on a platform, in demand, being interviewed, that sort of thing, could be something that’s they really enjoy, most people enjoy that once they start doing it. Does that happen quite often, in your experience? And perhaps you can give me an example of that.
Sue Richardson: [00:09:43] I think it’s one of the biggest benefits of a book that I’ve seen. I work with many people who have perhaps…again we talked in the last episode about Della Hudson, who was an accountant, is an accountant; sold her accountancy practice, with a very clear vision of where she wanted to go next. And her next business was very much based around her expertise in helping, the business advice that she’d been giving to her clients as an accountant, but with a particular kind of knowledge of the numbers side of things. And indeed, she developed an expertise around helping other accountants to do really well in their businesses, in their practice. Realising that the speaking was a massive opportunity for her, but having not done an enormous amount of that, and in fact, as we said last time even before she published her book, she’d managed to secure some fantastic speaking opportunities simply by telling people that she was writing the book and that this was the way things were going. It’s a great way of kind of reshaping, moving into a new area, to write a book that helps you to take…that’s a bit of a vehicle to get you there. So, maybe you are quite big on one platform, but you want to move to a different platform, a book is a fantastic way to reposition yourself for that new platform. I have a number of clients which we’ve recently started really developing the rights sales to our business. So, finding opportunities for people who are writing books to find new markets, it kind of goes hand-in-hand with that. I have an international speaker that I am working with, a guy called Geoff Ramm, who is enormously successful as a massive international speaker on sort of customer service and that kind of thing, and very, very popular, very successful. But there are some bits of the world that he hasn’t got to yet. So, what we’re looking at, for instance, is finding a Chinese publisher for his book, which will open the doors for him into the Chinese market. Because he’s aware, and other people are aware, that that could be a fantastically fruitful market for him to take his business to next. So, the book can be the trailblazer. The book can be the, you know, the thing that brings the attention in that market to you and your work. And if you can…again you know, there’s that lovely door opening into a new world, a new market and you can follow in behind and pick up the goodies, if you like.
Dave Harries: [00:12:40] And obviously that, again getting back to the business outcomes, clearly you know if you expand your potential market or you move into new areas, clearly that might have an effect on the bottom line. Hopefully it would have an effect on the bottom line. And as a business owner I suppose that is, you know, that’s kind of what you need to see. It might not be the reason you set up the business, but it’s certainly important that the business makes some money and can pay the mortgage and that sort of thing. So, would you say that probably…I mean, you hear a lot of people say that writing per se, is not going to make you rich. You know, you don’t earn tons of money from publishing a book probably, particularly a business book. Unless you’re really lucky and it becomes a sort of airport book bestseller. But for most authors, it’s not so much the royalties on a book that are going to be the financial benefit, if I can sort of talk in rather grubby terms like that. But it’s actually, it is these spin-offs, if you like, these opportunities that it’s likely to give them; whether it’s for public speaking or expanding their market. Again am I…is that right? Is that your experience, that the business actually really does benefit in the end in all the ways that you want businesses to benefit?
Sue Richardson: [00:14:00] Absolutely. I don’t think there’s anything grubby at all, I have to say about, if I can pick you up on that, that you know the whole point of business is to make money. OK, there may well be plenty of other things that come out of a business, like giving people that work for you a great time, or you know there may be lots of aspects of running a business. But a business will not survive unless it makes profit. You know, money is very important in order to make the world go round, no matter what your purpose is, you have to have a business, at the end of the day, that will pay you and your people, and you know and come away…you don’t have to necessarily be making, you know, an absolute fortune, but profit is incredibly important. I don’t think that there are very many times where, within a business, a book is a particularly profitable income stream in terms of sales of that product per se, that’s not, in my view or in my experience, where really one’s energy needs to lie. It’s great to sell, the wonderful thing about a book is that it may be a terrific marketing tool for your business for all sorts of reasons, and you can actually get some of your money back at least that you invest in that book. But that’s not really the point. The point is to do with those opportunities that it brings; the doors that it opens. And I cannot tell you how many times people have said to me that by the time the book is launched it’s been paid for. I was talking to Kate Mercer not very long ago. Kate is the author of ‘A Buzz in the Building’ and she has a fantastic consultancy business called Leaders Lab. And she said that she covered all the costs for her book, and a chunk of the marketing of the book, at her book launch because she secured a contract with a new client literally on that evening of her book launch. You know, you hear stories like that all the time. It’s that whole, it is that whole thing of people suddenly seeing you in a completely different light, with all the authority and the credibility that the book brings and turning you from being…here’s another one you know remarkability. Being…not every business writes a book; not every person in business writes a book. If you do it, you will stand out from the crowd. You will differentiate yourself and you will make yourself more attractive because of that book.
Dave Harries: [00:16:45] I suppose it might be said that, you know bearing in mind all of these manifest benefits that there are, perhaps it should be in the business plan for a business. You know, and in year five, we will write our book, sort of thing. I believe I’m right in saying that one of our previous guests actually, kind of, did start the business off the back of a book. So, kind of, did it the other way round in a way. That was Bryony, I think, wasn’t it?
Sue Richardson: [00:17:09] That was Bryony Thomas. Absolutely.
Dave Harries: [00:17:11] Tell me about her story, for those that didn’t hear that episode.
Sue Richardson: [00:17:13] Yeah, yeah. So that was, just in case anybody wants it, episode….mmmm? We might have to…
Dave Harries: [00:17:21] I wish I could tell you, I think it was, I think it was episode…I’m going to say 6.
Sue Richardson: [00:17:27] Something like that.
Dave Harries: [00:17:28] I’m looking over at Paul to see if he’s nodding. He’s not. Anyway…
Sue Richardson: [00:17:33] We think it’s 6. Anyway, it’s a fantastic episode for anybody who’s really keen to kind of…she kicked off her business really with that book. It was, essentially it was her way, again comes back to purpose to a certain extent, but actually what she did was she created her business methodology. She talks in that interview with us about the fact that she recognised, as a solopreneur, expert marketer helping small businesses to market themselves better, that she suddenly realised as a one-person business there was a limit. You know, she was working her socks off and that, you know, her time was the value, and what she wanted to do was find a way to scale that business. And the way it was going, it was very difficult for her to do that. She created a methodology which she put into a book, and the book helped her to create that very robust methodology, which she was then able to move on to a different kind of a model and bring in licensees to help her grow the business.
Dave Harries: [00:18:51] And it’s Watertight Marketing . And the business is also called that.
Sue Richardson: [00:18:56] The book of the same name. Yeah, absolutely.
Dave Harries: [00:18:57] Episode 5, by the way. I’ve just been told.
Sue Richardson: [00:18:59] Oh, well done, episode 5. Thank you.
Dave Harries: [00:19:01] So, yeah, very worthwhile checking out. One of the things that Bryony said in that episode actually, was a thing that, which was interesting, was she said she hates it when books are, when people say that a book is a good calling card. You know, it’s the ultimate business card and I kind of understood what she meant. But the fact is that it is a good calling card though, isn’t it? I mean, there’s no, I mean it’s lots of other things as well, and it’s a bit trite to just dismiss it as only that, because clearly it isn’t that. But it does, you know, you talk about opening doors; and gives you authority and confidence; and it’s a tangible product; and you know, that is a sort of business card really, isn’t it? Certainly, the opening doors thing and getting people to respect you and so on.
Sue Richardson: [00:19:43] Yeah, I think you’ve put your finger on it already. I mean, I think that the truth is that, it may be a door-opener and you know, I don’t know very many business cards that are that effective, to be honest. And that’s perhaps where Bryony was going with this, is that it is so much more than a business card. It has a way of establishing you as an expert. You know, your business card will never do that. Your business card may have your telephone number on it; you may have said something sparklingly witty at the meeting of the person that you gave the business card to, but you haven’t given them a substantial piece of content that helps them go away and fix something in their business, for instance. You know, a book is literally this highly tangible gift that you can, whether you give it or whether you sell it to somebody, somebody’s life potentially could change as a result of you having done that work and given them that gift. So, it’s much, much more than a business card. And yeah, I think that’s probably where that comes from.
Dave Harries: [00:21:00] Some might argue that there could be potentially a downside to this in that by putting all your wisdom in a book, this is great sort of repository that you can kind of hand out, people can buy it, you can give it away, you are, you’ve kind of already…there’s nothing left to give. So, well, everybody knows the secret now, because I put it in my book. So, why are they going to come and employ me to do it. Is that a real danger? Or is that not how it works in reality?
Sue Richardson: [00:21:35] I don’t think that’s how it works. I really don’t think it’s how it works. Reading a book is never going to teach you how to be that person. You know, you can’t necessarily…when people put that…I think it’s good to be generous in a book and give everything away, I personally think. But it has to be tempered with what’s relevant to your reader. You can’t teach people your 25 years of experience in one book. You can use your experience to help people to find a solution in their business, potentially. I mean, we’re talking of course mostly about business books here. Or you know, whatever it is that it might be. I mean you might teach somebody; maybe it’s more of a personal development type of book and you might help somebody to improve something in their lives, for instance. But the point is that it’s you that they will remember as being the person that helped them with that. You can’t put in a book something that’s going to devalue what it is that you do. I don’t believe.
Dave Harries: [00:22:48] Yeah. And no, I think you’re right actually. And I asked the question to be devil’s advocate more than anything else, but I think that same argument is also applied to social media as well. And making videos or podcasts, whatever you know do you give away everything so what what’s left for people to buy. But the reality is that it just encourages people to buy more, I think.
Sue Richardson: [00:23:09] And I think you have to also remember that a book is something that is protected. There is a thing around, you know, your IP [intellectual property] You’re not actually giving it away, you know, you are putting it in a book, it is then protected by copyright law. So, there is a kind of element of establishing it, when you publish your content, establishing it as yours; claiming it as an asset that belongs to you. And that then people can benefit from. But they don’t own it. You do.
Dave Harries: [00:23:44] And I suppose if you look at an example like Bryony, who we were just talking about, if you buy the book Watertight Marketing, clearly you can get a great deal out of that, and that can help you with devising your own marketing strategies. And probably a lot of people will do that. But also, a lot of people will think: actually, I’d love to go to Bryony’s conference and hear from her in person. And maybe even have her as a one-to-one mentor, if I could afford it and that sort of thing. So, it kind of, as you say, opens new doors and gives people ideas; acts as a very effective marketing tool.
Sue Richardson: [00:24:14] Absolutely. And I think what’s fascinating as well about what Bryony’s done is that the book continues to sell. She’s sold thousands of copies of that book and continues to sell very well. Even though she gives it away. She gives it away very generously, a lot of the time. So, she uses it as an introduction to Watertight Marketing. She uses it as a brand builder; as an awareness builder, so that the brand continues to grow all the time. And you know as I said, she still sells many, many copies even though she gives a sort of digital version of it away.
Dave Harries: [00:24:57] Well, I hope we’ve established beyond doubt that the business outcomes of writing a book are indeed very beneficial and are extremely likely to be good for your business and good for your personal brand. But that’s all we have time for this week. So, my thanks to Sue Richardson for all that fantastic advice. If you’d like to comment on anything you’ve heard; or if you have specific questions you’d like answered. Or even an idea for a future show, please join our Facebook group, The Right Book Project, or go to thrightbookcompany.com. You can also go over to iTunes to subscribe, download and even leave a review, or give us a star rating, and we’d really like it if you’d do that. We’ll be back in two weeks with our next episode, so, please join us then and in the meantime, keep writing.