Most of time, we focus on the book as communication device and what the book has to do to be effective. It’s the answering of What?, So What?, Now What? that every great business book must do.
What continues to need more emphasize is that fact that books are also entrepreneurial endeavors and entrepreneurs are successful when they can find customers willing to separate themselves from their hard earned money. Authors need to think more in these terms.
Business book authors are normally supported by some other work whether it be consulting, speaking, or running a organization and the book is a way to further their existing goals. This means higher fees, more events, or a substantial promotion.
If someone proposed that you spend a year developing a new product and then get paid $2.50 for each one you sold, few would pursue that option, while that is exactly what you are signing on for as an author. As Ray Bard at Bard Press says, “You don’t make money from the book, you make money as a result of the book.”
What I want to push on a little is the idea that authors should act more like entrepreneurs and I mean this in your role as an author. You need to already have customers for whatever idea you plan on selling as a book. If someone isn’t paying you to speak, consulting, or lead using your idea, you shouldn’t write a book about it. You can certainly start a blog and lead a tribe as a route to writing a book as well.
When you take the audience from some nebulous group of people you think you can help to a set of individuals who are already paying you for the same help, the audience you are writing for becomes clear. The problems they experience appear. The language they use surfaces. And if you provide the right inspiration, they lead you to others with the same hopes for their future.
The following is a quote from the research Saras Saravathy who has been doing into the ways entrepreneurs make decisions. This is from an actual entrepreneur:
“People chase investors, but your best investor is the first real customer. And your customers are also your best salesmen.”
What if we changed a couple of words to put a publishing spin on this:
“Authors chase publishers, but your best investor is your first person you buys your book. And your readers are also your best salespeople.”
Whether we like it or not, every book is a start-up.