Everyone needs a book.
That may not ring true for some professionals, but that’s likely because you haven’t thought about things in the right light. Because every professional, regardless of their industry, career accomplishments, or projected goals, has one thing in common: The need for credibility.
Higher credibility means greater opportunity. Whether you are operating your own business or working for someone else, the more credibility you have as a professional, the more advantages you have, the more discoverable you become, and the more leverage you have in negotiations. And here’s a fun summary: Higher credibility means more money.
Books are a shortcut to higher credibility because they make your ideas and philosophies, your very expertise, something tangible. A reader can hold your words in his or her hand, see your name on the spine of the book, and know instantly that you are someone who knows what you’re talking about. And this works even if they actually never read your book (and most people won’t).
Seth Godin, author of … well, practically everything worth reading, but particularly industry- and world-changing books such as “Tribes” and “What to Do When It’s Your Turn (and It’s Always Your Turn),” says that today, authors are no longer in the book business — they’re in the souvenir business. And, he says, “Once you realize you’re in the souvenir business, you’ll play by different rules.” A book lets your audience take a piece of you and your expertise with them. They’re the ultimate business card.
But what if you’re not an author? What if you have a lot of great ideas, a lot of experience and a lot of authority in your industry, but you lack either the time, the skill, or maybe just the desire to sit down and write 200-300 pages about it all? In that case, there are people who do that work for you.
Ghostwriting is a time-honored tradition, and some of the biggest names in literature have employed it. Some of the works of Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond thrillers, were actually penned by writers for hire. James Patterson regularly uses other writers to take on the workload of books such as his “Splinter Cell” series. V.C. Andrews died before most of the books bearing her name were even written. And even the Bard himself, William Shakespeare, is rumored to actually be two or three different writers, leveraging the fame of the name (say it ain’t so, Bill!).
The point is that even some of the most moving books ever created were written by someone other than the name on the spine, and it didn’t diminish their value or their authenticity one bit.
A good ghostwriter will work closely with you to get not only the content and organization of the book right, but also the voice and tone. They’ll work with you to make it a part of your brand, so that it can help you extend that brand to a whole new audience.
Here are three ways to leverage ghostwriting to add rocket fuel to your business:
Build instant credibility and authority
Nothing says “I know what I’m talking about” better than a book. For starters, it encapsulates everything you want to say on a topic, so that nothing gets left out. It’s a reference for both you and your audience, a tangible and concrete form of what you have to offer. It’s also a shortcut. Our culture places a strange sort of value on books, holding them in reverence, and valuing them for the expertise they embody. Essentially, people know by instinct that writing a book is hard. So if you’ve written one, you must know what you’re talking about. You must be an expert. They should listen to what you have to say.
Books are easy to pass around. Either print books or ebooks can be handed from one reader to another, usually with the words “you should read this” tacked on with a bit of enthusiasm. People value something they can hand to their friends and coworkers, to illustrate a concept or act as a reference. Having a book structured around your expertise and experience gives you a way to broaden your audience and your market. It’s the original viral marketing, and it’s still going strong to this day.
In addition, as we said earlier, books are the ultimate business card. In fact, they’re better. Because business cards tend to end up in the round file pretty quickly. But the natural reverence we have for books makes us hesitate over tossing them away. Instead, if they aren’t really for us, we give them to someone else. When was the last time someone handed your business card to someone else, just because they couldn’t bear throwing it away?
Define, refine, and strengthen your brand and your business
Writing a book is an exercise in hyper organization and clarity. You’ll find, as you develop the outline and the manuscript, that you will discover things about your business, your profession, and yourself that you may never have known. Having trouble defining your brand? Producing a book is the fastest and easiest way to do that. Need to refine and simplify your business so you can scale up later? A book helps you identify what is crucial and critical to your work, and lets you cut the excess fat. You’ll never be more lean than you are after you’ve had to decide what needs to go into a book, and what needs to be cut.
Ghostwriters are professionals who know how a book needs to be structured and organized. If you’re considering a book, but can’t quite commit to it, think about getting a ghostwriter on your team. Give them a slice of your time and all the materials you can spare, and let them take that load from your shoulders. The cost will pay a huge ROI as you leverage the book for everything from restructuring your business to building your brand to extending your reach and even tapping all new markets.
Need advice on finding and working with a ghostwriter? GlobalWrites has experts on this stuff right on tap — professional authors and ghostwriters at the ready, for advice and for action. Contact us today and we’ll start talking about what you need most, and the best way to build it for you.
Kevin Tumlinson is the Wordslinger | Author, Speaker, and Entrepreneur. He has written dozens of books, and has helped hundreds of clients to build their own authority businesses using writing and publishing. He is the host of the Wordslinger Podcast, as well as co-host of the Self Publishing Answers Podcast. You can learn more about Kevin and his work at www.kevintumlinson.com