When people talk to me about writing a book, one of the first questions they ask is, “How much can I earn from my book?”
My answer is, “Assume you will earn nothing.”
Money and income are not good reasons to write and publish. While some authors do have breakthroughs, most books earn very little. Most new authors aren’t ready for the amount of marketing and publicity they will need to do – not to mention the out-of-pocket costs that come with that. Even if they go all-out on book promotional efforts, they are unlikely to see good returns.
While money is not a good motivation to write a book, there is a business advantage – if you are writing about the business you are in. A book is one of the best business cards you can give a potential client. Will it cost you money to give away your books? Yes, of course. But if you are willing to invest in your business, a book is a wonderful business card.
When you give your book to a prospect, they learn a lot about you. They will see that you
- Take initiative.
- Are a thought leader in your industry.
- Have wisdom and experience to share – and are willing to share it.
- Are able to complete a significant project (a book is not a small thing to put together).
- Are generous with information – after all, you’ve given this person one of your books.
Books are a better conversation starter than a business card. When you give someone a book, they will find plenty to talk about with you.
You can also give your books as gifts or prizes at events you host or at venues where you are a guest speaker.
If you remember to put your business contact information in the front and back of your book before you print it, that information will be handed to more than the person you give it to. People like to give, lend, and recommend good books to others.
Obviously, you want to use some finesse in giving out your book. You probably don’t want to walk up to a stranger and hand him a copy – although I have a friend who would. But if you keep several copies with you, you’ll be surprised at the openings in conversations that lead naturally to, “Here’s a book you might enjoy reading. I wrote it.”
So, if you are in business and thinking about writing a book, be sure to have the right perspective. Don’t expect a sudden boost in your income – if that happens, it will be a pleasant surprise. But do expect to get a great business card and conversation starter for the next event you attend or lead.