Author, editor, publishing consultant and Get a Book Deal® Coach Stephanie Gunning explains the benefits of self-publishing, plus why a book makes a memorable business card…
I attended a one-day workshop with a sales trainer, who put a copy of her book on every seat. At intervals she had us do a process from different chapters. As I bonded with the book, I bonded with her. For the months since it has been lying on a side desk in my office. I’ve already sent her two clients. She was smart to give me that book.
There were 90 people in the audience that day. For an investment of five or six bucks apiece for those books, $500 dollars in total, she earned at least several thousand, and possibly as much as tens of thousands of referral dollars. Her reputation was enhanced by providing us with tools. Since we’d paid a modest fee to be in that room, she wasn’t out of pocket.
I’ve seen similar results for other authors. A photographer put together a book of his favorite portraits he’d lovingly made, and printed a few hundred that he gave as mementoes to his subjects at the end of shoots. Books were given as holiday “thank yous” to his media contacts, too. Anyone who hired him or printed his images was on his list.
Often the very same day that the book arrived in the mail, he’d get a phone call offering him a job. “I’ve been meaning to phone you,” a magazine editor would tell him. They knew him, they liked him, and the book was a constant, aesthetically pleasing reminder of how good his best work could be.
Isn’t that what a business card does for us? It helps bring our image to mind when our type of services are needed by someone we’ve just met. A book is a remarkably good memory anchor, one that’s too big to easily misplace.
Books also have inherent value that our culture respects. Those with enough clarity of mind and the confidence to write a book, and the strength of will and skills to see the project through to the end, are paid tribute. We honor the magician who can pull gold from thin air, the storyteller who inspires us to feel and take action through the pictures he deftly implants in our heads.
Having been a publishing consultant and editor for so long, I got it into my head to introduce a group of clients, who were all self-help authors, to one another. My goal was to help them leverage their influence on one another’s behalf and at the same time introduce my own services to the members of their social networks. I invited 29 individuals to contribute an essay. I edited these (and in some cases rewrote them), I hired a graphic artist to prepare the cover and interior design, and I put together materials for a book launch.
My expectations for the anthology Audacious Creativity were definitely met. Enough were sold to the contributors that the production expenses were covered—and I even earned a small profit to repay my efforts. Almost every contributor participated in the online promotional campaign that swelled the ranks of all our professional mailing lists. They were proud to announce it.
Even now, a couple of years later, when I go to conferences, I fill the extra spaces in my suitcase with copies of this book to hand to prospective clients. When I lecture or lead workshops, I sell them at the back of the room.
The ironic thing is that producing that book and using it as a business card would have been even faster and easier to accomplish given the simple publishing systems that are available today. It has never been a better time for a professional in any field, and especially in a client-based business, to write and publish a short, introductory book—though I do recommend that you commit yourself to creating a high quality book if you decide to go ahead by enrolling professional support in the person of an editor and a designer.
If you had a book that would demonstrate your expertise or celebrate your clients, what would it be about? Who would be your perfect reader? If you want to attract more clients, a book might just be the tool you need.
Copyright © 2012 by Stephanie Gunning, written for genConnect.
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