In the first part of this article, I discussed why you’re better off using a book to sell other stuff rather than trying to sell copies of your book.
In passing, I also mentioned the importance of “attention”. Let’s explore that in more detail.
In “the old days”, business was a battle for market share. Today, you’re in a battle for mindshare instead: technology has made buying so easy and instant, that if a potential customer isn’t thinking about you when they’re ready to buy, they’re not going to buy. As a result, you need to have your name, your brand and your content in front of people as much of the time as possible. All while major corporations are spending a lot of money to keep eyeballs on their content.
The CEO of Netflix summed it up perfectly: “Our biggest competitor is sleep”.
At the same time as technology has made buying easier, it has also filled our lives with a never-ending stream of distractions: instant messaging, live news updates, live delivery of emails (remember when you used to dial in at night to see what you’d received that whole day?), social media, Skype, Zoom. And let’s not forget the reminders for everything in your calendar.
The only way to make sure people don’t get distracted is to get them away from their screens. But how do you do that?
Reading a book–even just flicking through one–is immersive. A book draws you into the writer’s world and keeps you there. If a book is well written, it’s actually hard to even do that. So a book is a great antidote to the tech-induced chaos.
Even better, what do people do when they want to get away from the busy-ness and bustle? A lot of them will reach for a book.
What do we say when we want to indicate someone is the most knowledgeable person in their field? “They wrote the book on…” We’ve been brought up to respect and admire authors. Writing a book communicates that you have not only the requisite knowledge but also the tenacity to finish what most people assume is a long and arduous process (it doesn’t have to be).
When the media is looking for an expert to interview for an opinion piece, who do they look for? Do they approach the person with the most Facebook shares? The one with the most Twitter followers? The most YouTube viewers? No. They look for the person who wrote the book (there’s that phrase again).
I hate it when someone says “a book is a big business card”. It isn’t. Anyone can have a business card. Vistaprint will send you a box of very nice ones for a few dollars. But not everyone has the expertise, experience and insight required to write a good, brand-enhancing book.
Many experts are scared to write a book. Not because of the work involved, but because they’re afraid what people will think.
With the right approach, creating your authority book isn’t so much a matter of tenacity as it is of guts: do you have the guts to set down your ideas and your opinions for the world to see and judge?
You can’t just do a brain dump what you know into a book and expect people to respect you. That’s why it’s important to work with someone who can help you to create not just a book, but a good book. A book with high quality content and published to professional standards.
That’s the only way to create a book that gets you AUTHORITY and CREDIBILITY.
So, let’s assume you’ve worked with professionals and produced a great book. How does a book enhance your personal brand (because, ultimately, that’s what a book is: the most effective personal branding tool you can have)?
Well, for a start, books tend to show up very highly in online searches. A lot of people will tell you that Google is the top search engine. But Google searches Amazon every time someone searches your name. Amazon also gets searched in its own right, so technically Amazon is a bigger search engine than Google.
But there’s something else to bear in mind.
People who search Google are usually looking for free information. People who search Amazon are, on the whole, looking for things to buy. Now, who would you rather be found by: a bunch of freeloaders or a bunch of buyers?
Here’s an example from my own life. Over the years, I have worked with many coaches and mentors. In the early days, it was hard to know whether someone was the real deal before hiring them, or whether I could buy into what they taught. These days, it’s become much easier. Before buying, I check them out on Amazon and buy their book. If they don’t have a book then I am very unlikely to hire them.
Have you ever asked someone to refer you? It seems such a simple ask, and yet what people hear when you say “Can you refer me?” is “Can you be my unpaid salesperson?” Most people hate selling their own products and services, so why would they sell yours!
And if they do make a referral, you have very little idea what they are going to say. Thy may do a great job of communicating what you do and how you add value. Or they may not.
Now compare that to saying, “Do you know someone who could benefit from reading my book?” (which, of course, you’ll have made sure they read, too). That’s a much easier thing for someone to do. You’re effectively saying, “Can I help you to look well-informed and helpful to one of your friends?”
And when they do pass on your book, you have total control of the message that is being passed on. You no longer have to hope that the other person can do a good job of communicating your pitch; you just have to hope they can put your book into someone else’s hands without dropping it, spilling coffee over it, or whatever.
It also sets you up to be a subject for conversation. People love to talk about books they’ve enjoyed and found useful. They’ll share your book enthusiastically over dinner, by the water cooler and on social media.
Why do people do these things? Because it makes them look good to their friends, and it makes them feel good by helping those friends. And what do people do when someone recommends your book to them? They’ll look for your book, read it, and–assuming the suggestion was relevant to them–they’ll seek you out.
So, if you want to build your personal brand, and enhance your credibility, authority, and referability, you need an authority book.
And if you want some ideas for using it to get clients and make money, download our free guide below.