When I started my business back in 2009, I had no road map. I was also twenty-four, with limited experience, teaching high school language arts in the Dominican Republic. While I had been steadily developing my knowledge and expertise most of my life, including extra writing classes in high school, a bachelor’s in writing, a marketing role during college, and work at a magazine, let’s be honest: I had no clue what I was doing as a business owner.
Fast forward to today: thirteen years in business, seventeen books personally ghostwritten or authored, and hundreds of authors supported on their journeys via coaching, workshops, and programs, and I now know the one thing that can provide extra fuel to a business launch: a book.
I often wonder what it would be like to launch a business at an older age, with an actual business plan and clear strategy. I didn’t have any of that. But luckily for my clients and students—and for you, reading this—it can be an easier, faster path to profitability and scalability.
As you consider writing a book to launch a business of any kind (especially a consulting, coaching, speaking, or service-based business), here’s my top advice for success.
Understand how the book fits into your bigger vision.
First, get crystal clear about the book’s role in your broader vision for impact. Many aspiring authors have several book ideas or a single, way-too-broad idea that would result in a tome rather than a compelling, engaging book.
Spend time clarifying your vision using my visioning guide. Then, chart out the steps to get there. For example, if your goal is to build a consulting business, consider how the book could bring readers (and potential clients) into your ecosystem, offer them value, and inspire them to reach out to you.
Consider the “right fit” book for your business launch.
There are three core types of nonfiction books: big idea, how to, and narrative.
For illustration purposes only, since there is no hard-and-fast rule to book writing: If you are launching a consulting or speaking business, you might write a big-idea book. If you’re launching a coaching or service-based business, you might write a how-to book.
And for any of these, you might write a blend: storytelling, big idea, and a touch of practicality. (There is a lot more to say about book structure—I teach an entire module just on the three types in my accelerated author program, Nonfiction Book School, but a deeper discussion is outside the scope of this article.)
As you think through the right structure for your book, ask: What’s the number-one thing I want my reader to experience, feel, and do after finishing this book?
This question can often provide important information as you outline, write, and launch your book.
Don’t worry about giving away too much.
Generous authors win fans for life. Hold back too much, or make readers access additional steps to get value (i.e., visiting your website), and they’ll quickly abandon your book for another one. Instead, ensure that you provide great value in the pages of your book—and do offer additional value beyond the scope of your book, but be sure it’s extra value and so juicy they have to take you up on the offer.
Here’s the thing: yes, you can google anything. But when people hire someone to consult for their business, coach them on something, speak at an event, or provide a done-for-you service, it’s because they don’t have the time, energy, or interest to cobble together Google searches or execute every point in your book themselves.
To be fair, if you create an 800-page guide that walks them through day by day on what to do and how to do it, that might be too much. But if you have a clear view of the job your book is doing for them (transformation, how to, inspiration, etc.), and where your customer is on their journey, you almost can’t provide too much.
“Seed” your business as you go. But don’t hit the reader over the head.
There is nuance to effectively mentioning your business, speaking, programs, or website. I suggest actively avoiding reader-centric language, such as “if we were to work together” or “if you hired me to.” Rather, a subtle way to show the value of your work is through case studies and stories of past clients (with their permission, of course!). I find that mentioning your site or service directly more than a couple of times per chapter can be overkill and feel salesy.
But the right balance depends on the book. For example, if you’re writing a how-to book that provides a lot of value but has all the editable templates available on your website, you might mention your site multiple times as a value-add to the reader.
All that said: don’t leave out your work or site entirely! If you don’t let readers know you can help them, they won’t know.
My advice: write what feels natural and then turn it over to your (highly qualified) editor to provide guidance on whether you’re striking the right balance.
Be sure your platform is ready to go at launch time.
“Write it and they will read” is a myth. And I’ll add “write it and they will hire you” is an even bigger myth.
As you write and publish your book, be sure to develop your platform as you write. A platform, in the simplest terms, is how you show up online and in person. It includes your website, social media, interviews you do, emails you send your list, and everything in between.
Here’s a helpful guide to get you started. Start early and begin building your audience well before the launch date of your book and/or business. That way, you’ll have an already nurtured audience who is hopefully ready to buy your book—and hire you!
Utilize your asset to grow your business!
A book is not just a launch tool—it’s a business sustainability tool. Gift it to new clients. Reference it in speaking engagements, presentations, or during potential client calls. Utilize portions of it in programs. Place it on a shelf in the background of video calls. Create opportunities for subsequent “launches,” such as an audiobook, bookstore or airport features, awards, and other notable accomplishments. Long-term success takes effort and requires a thoughtful, ongoing marketing and PR plan, and a book is one of the best tickets to credibility you can have. A true asset for your business and brand.
Of course, there is much more to this discussion. But these high-level points should get you going and provide strong guidance as you write a book to launch your business. And if you’re stuck on your journey and need support, guidance, and accountability, send me a message—I’d love to connect.
Questions? Drop them in the comments—I’ll be happy to answer them.