From emotionally charged Tech Crunch blog posts to publishing industry news, there are a lot of articles floating around on self-publishing and how it can benefit entrepreneurs and businesspeople and I wanted to weigh in.
The general consensus is that if an entrepreneur self-publishes a book, they will stand out above their competition. I can attest from personal experience that this is true…to a point. Having published credits under your belt immediately moves you to the top of the food chain at any business networking event. The only thing that will bump you higher is being able to say that you know your business so well that not only do you have a book, but you also successfully teach it. Being an introvert when it comes to networking and sales, I can tell you that having those tools at my back gives me a level of self-confidence that helps me appear as the professional that I am.
Being published by someone else is still more prestigious than a self-published book, but with the traditional publishing industry taking fewer chances and missing out on really good books, that “prestige gap” is narrowing. I can say that despite the success of my self-published workbook, Marketing for Writers (expanded second edition just released!), my credit as a columnist for Writers’ Journal actually got my foot past far more thresholds.
For an entrepreneur, having that book in hand can also make you some money, though how much depends greatly on your platform and how much energy you put into marketing it. For some people, the book may be a give-away – sort of a really big brochure or business card – where the pay-out is in increased business or name-recognition. For others, speakers in particular, the book may be a value-added sale, or included as part of a package to be sold to people you’re connecting with. Both approaches have their benefits.
I strongly disagree when “experts” over-simplify and say that writing a book makes you an expert in your field. While the research process can make you really knowledgeable, having a self-published book does not instantly make you an expert in your field – it can make you look like you might be. That publishing house validation still counts, especially with more and more people throwing books into the self-published ocean. For those starting out, back-of-room sales after you’ve talked to people and established your expertise, or networking hand-outs are where your book will see circulation until you’ve created a name for yourself.
Also, if the content inside is garbage, you can damage your credibility severely. Make sure that any book you decide to produce as a professional representation of yourself has been professionally edited and has a well-designed cover.
Learn how to successfully self-publish in just seven information-packed hours at my Self-Publishing Success Intensive, March 31st 2012. I’ve teamed up with publishing insider Ally Peltier to streamline and clarify the process and give you the tools you need to:
- Choose the right medium for your book.
- Assemble a power team of professionals.
- Build a marketing platform.
- Craft a business plan.
- Maximize opportunities and circumvent obstacles.
- Use blogs and social media to sell more books.
- Build, manage, and nurture a mailing list.
- Craft a sales message.
- And more!