Has digital content demolished print books? No more than elevators replaced stairs, points out British comedian Stephen Fry.
While it’s true that more people are engaging with online content, print books are far from dead. Just because people stream movies and scroll through social media doesn’t stop them from enjoying offline content and physical books.
In fact, physical books still outsell digital books. In 2018, the Association of American Publishers recorded sales of 1.8 billion books, including hardbacks, softbacks, mass-market books, instructional manuals and other printed materials. Of all the books sold in 2018, just 19% were audio or digital books. While 72% of U.S. adults read a book in any format, the AAP found, 39% only read print books.
The wealthy, in particular, continue to read print books. Alon Braun, strategic consultant and creator of Agetech.com and NeuroTech Analytics, suggests digital-only content may not reach this valuable audience. “Most highly influential people prefer paper books because they view this material as more meaningful than what they read online. I advise entrepreneurs who work with them to take this into account. For example, I’m sending a physical copy of my new book, The Entrepreneur’s Journey, to key members of my network.”
Beyond reaching certain audiences, there are other reasons why writing a print book is worth business leaders’ time. Entrepreneur James Altucher argues self-publishing a book is a smart idea for every entrepreneur because a book is the new business card. Publishing a print book demonstrates credibility and builds trust with readers. It’s not just throwing some thoughts into a blog post; it’s an event. Writing your own book lets you deliver polished thought leadership to customers, friends, investors, and all manner of other brand fans.
The good news is, publishing a print book doesn’t have to be a hassle. Here are ten trips to drive your success:
1. Have a purpose.
Your purpose should tie to your passion as an entrepreneur. Know your goal: Who do you want to help accomplish what and, most importantly, why?
2. Back your purpose up with a plan.
Whatever your “why” for writing a book, you need a plan. Structuring your purpose helps keep you focused and committed. This structured plan should include a plan for when, where, and how long you will write each day. Have both a time and monetary budget in mind, including time to research, publish, and market your book.
3. Check out the competition.
It’s critical that your book offers something new to its audience. How is it different than what’s already out there?
Before you start writing, read related books and offline content. You will gain a better understanding of how others approach your subject, letting you focus on what makes your perspective and solution unique.
4. Have a hook for your book.
To capture an audience for your book, there has to be something central in the book’s theme and content that is only about the reader. The hook should be specific and be part of the title so it immediately catches the potential reader’s attention.
5. Get a writing partner.
Not everyone is born a gifted writer. In this case, it helps to find a writing partner, such as a freelance copywriter or ghostwriter who can guide the book-writing process. It’s still your ideas and thought leadership; your skilled writer can add the polish and organization.
6. Ask for feedback.
It’s easy to get caught up in what you are writing about because it’s your passion. But the better strategy is to get others who you trust to be your sounding board: Is your book relevant and compelling to its audience?
Another option is to get a writing coach, who can provide feedback, specific direction, and assistance through the development of an outline. The feedback and emotional support from your circle and writing coach can sustain you through the roller coaster of emotions involved in writing a book.
7. Build an author website.
It’s important to start developing a following long before your book is ready for print. If you don’t already have a website as an entrepreneur, or if you want to feature print books and articles as a career, it’s time to give your offline writing a digital presence.
8. Publish other content.
As an incentive to buy your book, you want to give your readers a taste of your style, perspective, and value. Use both digital and offline channels to share a book excerpt or related content. Your social media profiles and blog are smart places to start.
9. Explore publishing opportunities.
It’s important not to get hung up on the idea of getting a huge advance to write your book from a major publishing house. Today’s publishing environment offers a range of options, including on-demand publication, which gives you more control over the content itself.
Take the time to research self-publishing houses. What marketing programs do they have? How might they be willing to assist you in getting publicity for your book?
10. Include your circle.
Recall that Braun creates a book list of people in his circle to ensure they each get a copy of what he publishes. Think of your own circle as a built-in influencer network. Each member is capable of sharing your book with hundreds of people, enabling you to get the word out via trusted sources.
What are you waiting for? Now is the time to start writing your book. When it comes to sharing your experience, offline thought leadership opportunities can be every bit as valuable as online ones.