by Amanda Barbara
In today’s business world, there are more opportunities than ever for entrepreneurs to gain exposure. The democratization of information has made it easy for small business owners to reach out to customers, clients, and colleagues through a wide range of inexpensive yet effective mediums, and self-publishing a book is one of the most powerful ways to reach your audience.
The publishing industry has changed radically in recent years. Now, literally anyone can produce a book. As an entrepreneur, there are a number of benefits to self-publishing.
1. A book acts as an extension of your brand.
Every product or service you provide gives your audience more information about your brand. A book is a great way to extend your brand’s message and capture your audience’s undivided attention for hours, rather than for a few seconds.
2. Publishing solidifies your reputation as an industry leader.
By releasing a book, you have the opportunity to establish your voice, share your message, and build a devoted following. As your audience grows, so will your credibility, and other entrepreneurs within your industry will begin turning to you for advice and leadership.
3. A book gives you a platform.
Entrepreneurs are generally their own biggest advocates, but they need to have a tangible means of self-promotion. A book provides a natural way to market yourself and your business while educating your audience and providing value.
4. A book can expand your network.
A book is a great networking tool because it’s memorable and helps you stand out. I once met an entrepreneur at a conference who passed out signed copies of his book, rather than business cards, and I ended up remembering his business above all others.
5. Self-publishing is inherently entrepreneurial.
Writing and publishing a book requires hard work and determination, which makes self-publishing a natural endeavor for any successful entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs generally like maintaining creative control over projects, which makes them ideal self-publishers. For your book to sell, you will need to oversee the writing, production, marketing, and distribution, which makes it much more hands-on than traditional publishing.
How to Self-Publish a Book Effectively
Self-publishing a book isn’t as simple as writing down your ideas and putting your book online. There are costs involved in producing a quality product, and lots of promotion must be done to get your book into readers’ hands. Here are some tips for getting the best possible ROI from your publishing efforts:
Research publishing costs.
Publishing a book has lots of hidden expenses, such as professional editing, cover design, e-book layout, print proofs, and marketing. These costs can range anywhere from $1,000 to $20,000, depending on how much you want to put into production and promotion. There’s opportunity cost as well. Self-publishing requires more work during the production phase than you might think, which can pull you away from other projects.
Try crowdfunding to mitigate costs and build an audience.
Crowdfunding can be a powerful tool for reducing out-of-pocket expenses. It can also help you build an audience and pre-sell books before publication. Entrepreneur Brian O’Neil was able to raise more than $33,000, which helped him publish and create sales packages for speaking at seminars and conferences.
Start building an audience early to drive sales traffic.
Get ahead of the game by building an audience before publication. Use social media, establish relationships with bloggers who might be interested in writing about your book, and attend local events for writers within your community.
Offer your book in several formats.
I always recommend publishing both digitally and in print to reach as many readers as possible (unless you’re only creating a short journal piece). Some people believe print books are outdated, but the reality is that while e-book sales are climbing, digital only accounts for about 23 percent of U.S. book sales. Print is still alive and well.
By doing your homework, putting in the time, and committing to producing an excellent book, you have an opportunity to grow your credibility and reach as an entrepreneur and create a “business card” that will help you stand out as an industry leader. What are you waiting for? Start writing today!
Amanda L. Barbara is Vice President of Pubslush. Pubslush is a global crowdfunding publishing platform for authors to raise funds and gauge their audience’s interest in new book ideas and for trendsetting readers to pledge their financial support to bring books to life. Follow Amanda on Twitter.