Why every entrepreneur should write a book

Lots of entrepreneurs have authoring a book on their goal list, but what does it take to actually get published?

Why every entrepreneur should write a book

Authoring your first book not only makes you an authoritative voice on a subject, it also creates so many further opportunities.  Depending on when you read this, I’m just about to (or just have) published my third book and not only do I enjoy writing them, but they have also generated multiple prospects.

After my first book, I was offered a column in an industry magazine, two TEDx talks and an ambassador role for a national charity. I turned the video interviews from my second book into a podcast series that still enjoys regular downloads. Both books have been sold in bulk on their own or alongside speaking engagements, and I’m hoping my new book creates some book magic of its own!

You don’t need to secure a book deal with a publisher or spend loads of money on publishing. One of my friends wrote a book in a weekend and uploaded it to Amazon himself. He has a solid following on LinkedIn, and it’s sold loads of copies, garnering over 200 reviews!

Planning out your book

The prospect of writing a book might be a bit daunting. While many people want to write a book, most people don’t get around to delivering on this goal. It’s easier than you think, and there are people and companies out there that can help if you really don’t know where to start. 

Some people find it helpful to brainstorm topics around their idea and then write mini articles on each one. With each of my books, I came up with a working title, then topics which I grouped to become sections, giving a framework to get started. The average business book is between 30,000-40,000 words. In my opinion, around 36,000 is the sweet spot. Any less and the book feels a bit flimsy, any extra and it becomes expensive to print.

Sticking to a schedule

Some people love to write early in the morning or late at night. I have friends who have taken themselves off to a country house for a week. Whatever works for you, do it and commit to it. I find a deadline for the book to be out is effective as you then work backwards to identify key milestones.

It’s advisable to allow time for the cover design, a copy edit, proofread and formatting. If you are doing these bits yourself, don’t underestimate how long each stage takes! I like to give my first draft to beta readers to test it and see what lands and what doesn’t. 

Getting published 

You have a few options when publishing your book. 

You can approach a traditional publisher and pitch them the idea of your book (you can find guidance online which will show you what to include). The publisher is likely to be impressed by the size of your audience and want to see how engaged they are; if you have a solid following then highlight these numbers in your pitch. Without a solid following, you’re likely to find the traditional approach challenging. The advantage of working with a traditional publisher is the kudos and the marketing they are likely to carry out. 

At the other end of the scale, you can self-publish. This method has the advantages of being quick, giving you full control of the content and allowing you to retain all profits. The downside could be the quality, and you might still want to bring in support for the cover design and a proofread as a minimum. Your book represents your brand, so you don’t want it to be poor quality.

There is a mid-option of working with a hybrid publisher. This has a cost, either a one-off fee or a fee plus percentage of future royalties – so check the terms to understand the full commitment. The advantages of this approach are that you should end up with a good quality book you can be proud of, that retains much of your original content and gets from idea to bookshelf quickly. 

With my first two books, I worked with a hybrid publisher that charged a fee and takes a percentage of royalties. For my upcoming book, we published it via Moja Publishing, a professional option with a one-off fee. 

Promoting your book 

If you self-publish or hybrid publish, you’re going to need to take the lead on promotion. You could hire an agency to do this for you. If you decide to go for it yourself, my suggestion would be that you consider including the following in your strategy:

  • At least one book launch party
  • A book tour
  • A PR plan to target local and national press
  • Approaching relevant podcasts to appear as a guest to tie in with the publication date
  • A social media plan
  • An Amazon bestseller campaign

Consider sending copies to any influential people you know, as they will probably post on their social media and tag you. You could time this around any launch activity you carry out for maximum impact. 

The benefits of having a book should last for years. You can send it out to prospects or parcel it up with any speaking engagements. Get creative and let me know if you come up with any ideas I’ve not yet thought of!

From Unknown to Unforgettable: How to build a personal brand that goes beyond the bio

Inspired by Sophie Milliken’s hit podcast ‘Beyond the Bio’, this book will ensure you have clear strategies that you can implement right now to supercharge your personal brand, with lots of ‘take action’ activities along the way.

Ebook available for preorder now.

Paperback and Audible available from 17th August 2024.

Sophie Milliken MBE
Sophie Milliken MBE

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