In the beginning, there was the business card.
Then the e-mail address.
Next, the website.
Today, as a businessperson, if you are not an author, you lack a certain credibility.
Authoring a book has become the must-have for big media placements, speaking opportunities, and bigger clients, not to mention your chance for grabbing that elusive brass ring, a bestseller. Hey! You just never know!
Think of life as a round circle, like a pizza pie. One slice of the pie is your area of core competence, perhaps even genius. It’s what you do so well. Next to that slice is another slice of equal size, what you know you don’t know. For example, I know I cannot add, subtract or cook anything edible.
Then there’s the rest of the pie, the three-quarters of things in life that we don’t even know we don’t know anything about. In that mysterious realm, for most people, lie the secrets to successful book writing, publishing and marketing.
Just about twelve years ago I made a major transition, and closed the midtown Manhattan offices of my Public Relations firm. Through running a sizeable business and the day to day drama of dealing with my staff’s personal issues, I had essentially become everyone’s Jewish mother. As a result I could not do as much actual writing as I would have loved to do. When I took this leap of faith I made two critical decisions. First, by transitioning to ghostwriting I could do what I love: use my writing skills to help people become successful authors, then help them get published, then use my public relations skills to promote their book.
The second decision: I would not be bound by what others charged, but would instead charge what I thought I was worth. From the outset my fees were considerably higher than some other writers, though perhaps less than other. In any case, given my many years of experience as an award-winning, in-demand writer (for magazine articles, speeches, blogs, brochures and other promotional material), I thought my asking prices were justified.
I thought the Rabbi was kidding.
“You want to introduce me to a 98-year-old who wants to date?”
“No,” he said, “I want to introduce you to a 98-year-old who would be open to getting remarried!”
“Won’t his adult children object?”
“Not at all. They want him to be happy. In fact, his son came to ask me if I knew anyone exceptional.”
Look, you do not have to write a book. You can live your entire professional life (and personal life too of course) without a book to your name, and the sky will not fall. All I can tell you is that being able to add “author” to your list of accomplishments, being able to mail or email a copy of your book to people you want to work with or impress, and also being able to give out or sell your book at events (which your book more likely helped you book!) can move your business or professional reputation from good to great.
If you counter that fewer people are reading, that they are buying fewer books, that they are getting their information and entertainment from television, from cable, from social media, and especially directly from their electronic devices, you’ll get no argument from me. None of that takes away from my opening points: your book is the ultimate marketing tool. It opens doors. It establishes you as an expert, an author-ity. Even if the target CEO or client just reads the front cover and turns it over to read the back cover–with its (hopefully) explosive lift quote and positive blurbs–you will have made an impact. Whether they skim it or read your book word for word they will see you differently.