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Five ways publishing a book can damage your business

Five ways publishing a book can damage your business
By Sue Richardson, SRA Books

Sue Richardson
Sue Richardson

Many business owners recognise how powerful a book can be when it comes to building credibility for their brand and raising the profile and visibility of their business.

However, not every book is good for your business. In fact some can actually harm your business. In my experience, there are five typical mistakes that authors make when publishing that can seriously damage their business. If you are thinking of writing a bok – make sure you don’t fall into any of the following traps:

1. Not having a clear publishing strategy

Make sure you have a clear business case for a book.  Ask yourself:

•    What do we want to achieve by writing and publishing this book?

•    How will this book change our business?

•    Who is the target audience?

•    What will be our sales and marketing plan for the book?

•    What is the best publishing route to take? Traditional, Independent or  Self-Publish?

•    What budget do we need to set for the project in order to produce a professional result?

•    How will we realistically achieve a return on our investment in this book?

2. Not being clear about who the book is for

This is one of the biggest reasons a book fails.  Spend some time carefully defining your target audience before you start to write.

3. Thinking self-publishing is a cheap (and therefore favourable) option

Most self-publishers, by definition, are not professional publishers and therefore cannot compete with traditionally published books. Far too many disappointed authors have told me they self-published, spent much more money than budgeted and still ended up with a book that wasn’t what they wanted (or needed).

While a book can boost your reputation – it can also damage it if not done correctly.

4. A poor cover and title

Here are the five things you should avoid:

•    A picture of you (unless you have a famous face that people will instantly recognise)

•    Stock images that have no relevance to the subject matter of your book

•    Using anyone without book design experience to design your cover

•    Clip art

•    Over-branding your book – it will work against your credibility as readers may fear you are going to try and sell to them.

The rule of thumb, for your title, is to choose one that says in a nutshell exactly what the book is going to do for its reader. Your book title needs to be popping up in the right place when being searched for.

For non-fiction books, the title and subtitle are your most crucial bits of marketing copy.

5. Not using professional editors and proofreaders

Most authors of business books are not professional writers – they are business owners or experts in their field who have important messages to share.

There are some people who honestly don’t care or notice if your book is full of spelling errors and poor punctuation. However, there are also plenty more people who do care, do notice and will be turned off you and your business if the book is full of mistakes.  It will also make it difficult for your readers to understand what it is you’re trying to say. Be mindful of your reputation; if you produce a sloppily written book it may come back to bite you.

Using professionals to help you get it right will pay you back many times over. Working with someone who’s job it is to know what is and isn’t correct takes the headache out of all of those uncertainties.

Don’t expect yourself to know it all but do pay for, and expect, a professional to guide you. That way you will be sure to produce a book that will be read, understood and, with any luck, acted upon.

About the Author:
Sue Richardson is founder of SRA Books and Sue Richardson Associates Ltd – an independent publishing house working with non-fiction authors to publish professional, high-quality books. http://suerichardson.co.uk

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