When I was a senior in high school, my English teacher assigned the class a story to write. A week later, the teacher stood in front of the class, held up my paper and used it as an example of what not to do. I already lacked confidence in my writing before that teacher did such a humiliating thing to me, but I was determined not to let that stop me from my goals. Now I write a blog, numerous articles for prominent websites, and I have published five books – three of which were best-selling Kindle books—and I’m busy working on my next book!
I first realized in April 2014 that I had to write a book while I was working for a client helping them get speakers for a yearlong series. All the speakers in high demand had written books. That’s when I realized that to be recognized as an expert in my field as a company culture consultant and to gain the visibility I craved, I needed a book, so I wrote one. If you are in a service-related business, you probably could benefit from one, as well.
The benefits from writing and publishing my books have been tremendous. In addition to enhancing my credibility as a thought leader and bringing clarity to my audience about my core message, my books have resulted in new clients and keynote speaking engagements. And perhaps most importantly, I have an added confidence in myself and in the value I bring to clients. Because of the growth in my business and my increased confidence, I’ve decided to release a certification training program.
How: Self Published
All of my books were self-published on Amazon as Kindle e-books and all but one are also available in paperback. I looked for a publisher initially, but I decided I didn’t want to be stalled. I wanted my books out now. While it would be nice to have that additional confirmation by a big publishing house, my books have never been about making money as an author, but rather about validating my work, research, thoughts, stories and process. Amazon makes the publishing process democratic, so that anyone can bring their ideas to life.
Writers no longer have to go through years of pitching their ideas to agents only to be rejected, then writing books that their agents may or may not be able to get published. And even if a book is accepted by a publishing house, the author is still responsible for most of the marketing and receives only a pittance of the cover price. Why not set your own price and keep most of the cover price! I’m happy to maintain control of my own book, and self-publishing no longer is looked down on as it once was.
My writing process differed greatly from book to book, and rarely was it painful. If I got stuck, I did research or interviews. I hired editors to help with clarity, proofreading, and to push me to supply stories when they were needed. I feel inspired every time I write.
My first book, What Senior Executives Should Know About Employee Engagement, was a compilation of blogs I had written, workshops I had taught and videos I had made. I organized them and filled the blanks, and in 90 days I had a rough draft.
The process for my next book, The Connection: The Playbook for Business Owners & Executives – Learn How to Make all of Your Connections Count + The Ones You Haven’t Connected to Yet, was different from the first. I “talked” my book on tape and had it transcribed within two weeks.
My third and fourth books, Brass Ovaries Own Your: Master the Mindset, Change the Game and the workbook, The Companion: Brass Ovaries Own Yours, was yet a different process. I wrote the books with a co-author over a period of two years, conducting research and interviews, starting a chapter and passing it to her for her input, then to an editor for revisions.
I wrote my fifth book, How to Avoid Culture Big Fat Failures (BFF), as a sales book in about 60 days. It is shorter than some of the previous books, so this project was not as difficult or long. The book I’m currently writing, How to Shift Workplace Culture, will also be available as a hard cover.
If you are a consultant or small business owner in a B2B service field, consider writing your own book and turning it into the best calling card your business could ever have. You can do it!
Shelley Smith is a workplace culture consultant, the CEO of Premier Rapport and the author of six books. For more information, visit www.premierrapport.com. Down load your copy of How to Avoid Big Fat Culture Failures (BFF)