More and more infopreneurs and thought leaders are writing and publishing books. (Yes, bloggers, this includes you, too.) And, they’re doing it for good reason: a book is a great way to expand your authority, credibility, and visibility. It’s also a tool for building a business. In a world where potential clients spend just a few seconds looking at most of your content, a book is a unique opportunity to build a longer, deeper relationship.
Unfortunately, many of those authors and authors-to-be make some big mistakes when they’re creating their books. I see so many of them spending time writing a book that isn’t the best complement to their business. Ultimately, their books aren’t as successful as they could have been. And, those books wind up having a much smaller impact on the author’s business.
In this episode, I want to share the biggest mistakes I see infopreneur and thought leader authors make with their books (and, more specifically, their self-published books). If you’re writing or thinking about writing a book to build your business, I encourage you to listen carefully. Avoiding these mistakes will help you create a better book that will help you take your business to the next level.
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Some authors sit down and just start writing. An idea hits them one day and they decide to write a book about it. They pour their words out onto the page, excited about the book that they’ve dreamed up. Then, they go to publish their book, expecting that this book is their ticket to taking their business to the next level. Sure, they sell a few copies on launch day. But ultimately, that book doesn’t bring the success they were expecting. Why does the book fail to live up to expectations? Because the author didn’t start out by creating a vision for what the book needed to be and do. They dove into the writing process without carefully thinking through the purpose behind their book. That’s definitely a big mistake.
I’ll go into finding your vision for your book in depth in the next episode of the Blogger to Author Podcast. But briefly, there are two major things you need to know about your book. First, you need to understand how your book is going to help your reader. What problem is your book solving? How is it making your reader’s life better? Second, you need to understand how your book will help your business. How will your book help establish you as an expert in your niche? How is your book going to bring in more clients or customers? If you’re unsure about how your book helps readers or your business, definitely make sure you tune in for Episode 114.
I think it’s incredibly important to sit down and think through how your book ties into your business before you begin. Smart infopreneur authors have a vision for how their books will bring more customers and clients to their business. When you understand how your book is going to build your business as a whole (as opposed to just thinking about royalties), it’s easier to prioritize writing your book. It’s also easier to justify hiring someone to help out with your book, whether that’s a cover designer, editor, or even someone to ghostwrite the book for you entirely.
And, it helps give you direction for what needs to go into your book. If your goal for your book is to prepare a reader to become a client, you know that when they finish that final page, you want them to say, “I want to work with her more! How do I do that?” So, you set your book up to show your reader that you’re the one to solve the deeper problem they’re working through. You get your reader in the right mindset to be ready to hire you, and you build trust and affinity so you’re the one they choose to work with. All of that comes from having the right vision for your book and how it fits into your business.
Along similar lines, if you want your book to build your business, you HAVE to write it about the right topic. If you want to be known as an expert on keto recipes for busy moms, writing a book about how you homeschool your kids isn’t going to help you get there. Remember, your book is an authority builder—make sure you’re building authority in the right niche!
First, you have to pick a niche and know exactly what you want to be the go-to person for. If you haven’t figured this out yet, you’re going to need to do some thinking. I’m not saying that you can’t ever change your niche in the future or write a book on a different topic you’re passionate about. But, I do think that smart infopreneur authors make sure they’re writing their book about the topic they want to be an expert in.
Before you start writing your book, ask yourself: “What do I want to be known for?” Then, write a book on that topic, or at least something very closely related to that topic. Remember that your book is an instant authority and credibility builder. You want to make sure you have authority and credibility in the right niche. It doesn’t directly help your “yoga for anxiety” business if you’re showing everyone that you’re an expert on essential oils in your new book. Yes, they’re tangentially related, but it would be better to write a book on overcoming anxiety through yoga to show you really know your stuff. And, it’s going to better serve your audience, too.
What’s true for business is also true for books: if you have a unique message or method to share, it’s easier to stand out from the crowd. The good news is that you probably already have something special or unique about what you do. You just have to find it!
I have an entire episode all about finding what makes your book special, Episode 83. It’s a deep dive into helping you distinguish what makes your book different from other books on the market. In the episode, I walk you through five questions to ask yourself to help you find that special sauce that makes your book really awesome. So, if you haven’t listened to it already, I highly recommend that you go do that.
For this episode, I want to concentrate on finding that thing that makes you and your business stand out. How do you do things differently from other people or businesses in your niche? What makes people come to you and want to work with you over someone else? There has to be something that makes you stand out, or else you wouldn’t have a successful business.
Sometimes that uniqueness is a message that you have to share. You might come from a different background, or maybe you’ve been through a unique set of circumstances in your life. You bring that experience to how you work with clients. For example, maybe you’re a doula who specializes in working with women who have anxiety and depression, and you approach it from your own experience working through postpartum depression. Your uniqueness comes from intimately knowing what it’s like to go through that experience, and you apply that visceral knowledge to how you work with clients (which will ultimately make its way into your book).
You may also have a unique method that you lead clients through. There are a million personal trainers out there, but the ones who are most successful have a special set of steps that they walk clients through to get them results. I have my Fast Author Framework™ that I walk people through to help them write an amazing, business-building book. Whatever it is you do, there’s probably a special way that you lead clients through a transformation. Focus on that unique method or framework in your book, because it’s what’s ultimately going to set you apart from everyone else and make your book (and your business!) a success.
Starting to write your book but not finishing it is quite possibly one of the biggest mistakes you can make. You put in time and effort to plan your book, and you spend a good chunk of time writing, too. If you just let that book die on your hard drive or in the cloud without seeing the light of day, you’ve just wasted a bunch of time. And, you’ve lost out on a big opportunity to grow your business.
There are a few instances when it’s a good idea to walk away from a book. I went into the biggest reasons in depth in Episode 95, “When to Walk Away from the Nonfiction Book You’re Writing.” One of the biggest reasons to stop writing is the one I just talked about: if you’ve been writing a book that isn’t going to serve and build your business. You definitely don’t want to spend a lot of time writing the wrong book or building expertise in a niche that’s not yours.
But, assuming you’ve chosen the right topic and that you’ve planned a business-building book, it’s absolutely a huge mistake to just let your book manuscript languish. Your book isn’t going to help your business if it’s just sitting on your computer. More importantly, it’s not going to help any readers make a positive change in their lives, either. You had a reason (probably many reasons!) to start planning and writing your book. Don’t fail yourself by completely walking away from your book!
I don’t want to make you feel too guilty here. I had to let my book Blogger to Author: Turn Your Content into a Book sit on my computer for almost a year before I self-published it because I moved across the country and had a baby. Life happens! But, ultimately I knew I had to come back and finish that book because I knew it was going to have a huge impact on my business. I knew it was going to help me reach a new audience, and it was going to serve a unique purpose in my business (helping people who can’t afford my courses or services, and introducing readers to me and how I work).
Remind yourself of everything your book is going to do for you and your business. If it wasn’t going to make a big impact, you wouldn’t have been tempted to write it in the first place. So, come back to that reason why you need a book. Come back to your vision of how your book is going to help you build your business. Remind yourself how that book will help establish you as an expert and get you in front of a new audience. Then, go write and finish your book!
I have seen so many nonfiction authors have a big launch for their book and then never mention the book again. Failing to regularly talk about and market your book is a huge mistake. Books don’t market themselves. (Although I really wish they did!)
Also, every time you talk about your book, it helps show off your expert status, even if the person listening never reads your book. Just having a book elevates you and your business. So, you need to make sure people know it exists! The only way to do that is to talk about it often. In fact, you probably need to talk about it more than you think.
How well do you remember the last few social media posts you read that were posted from a business? My guess is very few or none. Most people have the attention span of a gnat, especially when it comes to things they see online. That means they’re going to see multiple posts about your book before they even remember that it exists. Posting about your book once a month isn’t going to help your book stick out in their brains.
Work your book into your content marketing and social media marketing plans. Make sure people remember that it exists! And, really make sure they know how amazing it is and how you’ll solve a problem or pain point if they buy it.
Also, remember that new people are finding you every day, and they definitely don’t know you have a book. Make sure you have a plan for telling them about it! For example, I have autoresponder sequences set up for my mailing lists that get sent out when someone signs up. I make sure to mention my book (the one that most closely relates to that list) in at least one of those emails. They may not ultimately go on to buy my book, but just knowing that it exists helps them see that I’m an expert in my field and that they should trust what I have to say.
I hope this episode has opened your eyes and will help you avoid making some big mistakes as you work to plan and write your book. If you’ve already started writing your book and you realized you might need to change your plan, don’t worry or feel bad!
First, that’s totally normal. Second, as long as what you’ve written isn’t too far off topic, you can always repurpose it into a blog post, social media posts, email campaign, or something else entirely! You could also always publish the book later, too, if it’s a real passion project for you. I just feel very strongly that your first book should really revolve around and lead into your business, because that’s what’s going to have the biggest impact.
If you’re struggling to find the right topic or figure out how to write the right book for your business, I’d be happy to help you. I have several different kinds of strategy sessions, like my Book Mapping Session, that can help you make sure that you’re writing the best book for your business. You can learn more about those sessions and how I can help you one-on-one on my services page.
And, make sure you don’t miss the next episode of the Blogger to Author Podcast! I’ll be doing a deep dive into creating a vision for your business-building book. You won’t want to miss it! Make sure you’ve subscribed wherever you listen to your podcasts so you get alerted when it’s released.
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