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How to Break into the World of Experts with Your Book

Many successful information product businesses started off with a book. A book is today’s business card and it’s one of the fastest, most effective and most affordable ways to instantly build credibility and your tribe. If you are starting from scratch, trying to make a name for yourself in a crowded market, if you’re “late to the party”, stop worrying and start writing.

Are you making these mistakes when it comes to writing a book?

  1. Writing for the wrong reasons. If you’re hoping to make money writing a book, that’s possible but it’s unlikely to be a life-changing amount. That’s not to say you shouldn’t do it – it can be a personal goal that will bring you joy – and that could be reason enough. But since we are here to help experts market and monetize their knowledge, we suggest you see your book as a tool for building authority, credibility, your fan base and to build your personal brand rather than writing for personal enjoyment (although it can be great fun);
  2. Writing a book that no one wants to read. Your book is a product. It needs to compete in the marketplace. As with any marketplace, don’t create something no one wants. Before you commit to writing you need to test if the market is interested in the final product;
  3. Writing a book without back-end promotion in place. “If you build it, they will come”. Terrible advice from a terrible film (yeah, we said it). The vast majority of experts create a book, post it to Amazon and do nothing else. They’re then disappointed by the sales figures and conclude “books don’t work”.

How to pre-sell your book idea

Here’s how to use a book to build your audience; establish your authority and elevate you to the world of gurus and experts:

  1. Choose a topic that has an identifiable, reachable target market. No marketing strategy can save a book that no one wants to read. Make sure you identify your target market before deciding on your topic/idea.
  2. Build a squeeze page. Before you write your book, test market demand by building a squeeze page. A squeeze page is a one-page website promoting your upcoming book with the sole purpose of persuading a visitor to give you their email in exchange for a free gift (e.g. a free chapter, an actionable checklist etc.) Whilst you can offer any related download as an incentive for users to leave you their email, we recommend in this case to keep the offer directly related to your book as you are trying to gauge potential interest for before you start writing. A squeeze page is not selling anything, its goal is to collect information, e.g. first name, email. Your goal is to collect 50-100 emails.

A squeeze page template example from www.contentsparks.com. A squeeze page can feature an image or a short video presentation for your upcoming book

  1. Promote your squeeze page. Create a Facebook ad; send the link to existing clients; tweet it; add it to your email signature; write articles for other sites with a link in the bio. Your goal is to drive as much traffic as possible to your squeeze page to see how many emails you can collect. This will give you a clear idea whether there is demand for your book idea. Don’t get diverted into running a social marketing campaign: all you want to do is assess the interest for your book. To save time, we suggest just running a short Facebook ad campaign. For around $50 you can get a good idea whether your book idea is go or no-go (in which case, don’t give up – just choose a different topic).
  2. Assess interest. If the number of emails you’re receiving is strong, that’s a great sign – there is sufficient interest in your book – start writing. If you are not seeing sufficient emails, chances are your idea is a no-go. Consider changing the topic or targeting a different market.
  3. Write. Once your book idea has been validated, i.e. the number of emails from your squeeze page is encouraging, start writing. It’s quite possible to create something great in a month or less. Commission a professional cover; sharpen up your writing; edit and re-edit.
  4. Write incredibly useful, standalone long-form contentTake one proposed chapter of your book and create an incredibly useful standalone resource for your target market. It’s important to do this step properly or not at all. The content has to be outstandingly useful because you need it to be shared; to be published on related authority sites; to catch the attention of your target market; to drive traffic back to your squeeze page. Mediocre content is not going to do that, you need to create great content. Think long-form, 10-15 pages. The content should be “evergreen”, i.e. 2-3 years from now it should still be useful to your target audience.
  5. Repeat until you have collected 100+ emails – the more the better. Create a virtuous circle: (i) create great long-form content, (ii) promote that content on Facebook and related authority sites, (iii) drive traffic back to your squeeze page to collect emails, (iii) repeat until you have 100+ emails. If you have collected a nice number of emails, congratulations, you have started building your tribe of potential fans.
  6. Give away your book free (without losing your shirt). Yes, you read that correctly – give away your baby! (Your book, not your actual baby, that would be terrible). Why and how? The purpose of your goal is to establish yourself as an authority; to build your fan-base; and to establish your credibility – all this is vastly more important than making a few hundred bucks from sales. Your book is the price of admission to the world of gurus and experts. Once you have a bestseller, your authority and credentials are automatically assumed. So, give away your book (the right way) to build social proof.
  7. Create a 3-day email countdown. The subject line could be “I want to buy you a copy of my book“. “I have 100 free copies of my new book to give away. All you need to do is buy a copy and email me proof of purchase. I’ll then refund your money (excluding postage and packing so I don’t lose my shirt). Does that sound fair? The book goes live in three days – don’t miss out. It’s the same information that I share with my $1,000/day clients so I know you’ll get huge value from it. This promotion lasts until Thursday, so snap it up!“. This is just off the top of our heads – you need to give it more time. Craft each of the emails like a sales letter with an engaging headline, bullet points of benefits and a call to action.
  8. On launch day, promote more. Amazon’s sales ranking algorithm is shrouded in mystery but one important factor may be how many copies are sold over a short period of time – a day or even just hours. On launch day, continue to offer your book “free” (except for postage and packing) to your email list. They buy your book, you refund them on proof of purchase (minus postage and packing). Tell friends, family, colleagues, clients, other bloggers. Your job on this day is to maximise the number of sales. Keep an eye on the Amazon rankings page throughout the day. The moment you see your book listed as a bestseller, screen capture that sucker. Congratulations, you’re a bestselling author!

Takeaway points

  1. Your book is your business card. It’s your foot in the door to high-value consulting; profitable product launches; sponsorship/joint venture deals; five-figure speaking gigs. Your primary goal is not to make money with your book, it’s to use it to establish you as an expert in your industry. (It should more or less break-even).
  2. There is a definite strategy and methodology to using a book to propel your status as an expert. It’s not complex but you need to have various mechanisms in place first.
  3. A good book will:
    – build your tribe;
    – establish your expert credentials/authority;
    – give you legitimacy;
    – kickstart your know-how monetization business.

Action steps

  1. Make it your goal to write a potential bestseller in your industry. It’s possible if you follow the above strategy. (Also, what constitutes a bestseller is fluid; this is down to Amazon. Sometimes, selling 5-10 Kindle/audio books per day is enough to be a bestseller in those formats and depending on your niche.)
  2. Build a squeeze page for your book.
  3. Promote that squeeze page on Facebook ads to start building your email list.

Photo credit: theilr via Foter.com / CC BY-SA




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