Publishing and Writing – basics business experts need to know (from The Media Coach podcast with Alan Stevens)

Listen in as Richard (MD of Immersive Publishing and mPowr Publishing) was interviewed by international speaker, Alan Stevens (the Media Coach), for his podcast.

They explore the basics required for business books—and how to make sure business experts come across as experts when they write.

Enjoy!

You can find out lots more about Alan’s work here, subscribe to Alan’s weekly e-zine or listen to further editions of his terrific podcast.

A portfolio of businesses or a portfolio business?

There is enormous upheaval ahead.

All of us are at risk.

There are also exciting possibilities for those who can ride the wave of change carefully.

Automation, ageing and the changing shape of globalisation and de-globalisation will lead to significant shifts in the coming years.

At a recent event, I was intrigued by a conversation that revolved around this rapidly shifting terrain for workers, both corporate and freelance.

Do the changes ahead mean we need to shift focus?

One successful freelance trainer I spoke with was struggling with the implications for his own business and was beginning to explore his options for creating a portfolio of businesses. This might mean him training online on one topic, doing coaching locally in a completely different area and doing project-based work on whatever he could get hold of.

His emerging strategy was to look at training in and developing some basic skills in lots of different areas. Then he hoped to be able to at least keep something going if the other areas dried up…

It was quite a challenging conversation. I could see the threat/challenges. I just wasn’t sure about the strategy, indeed whether it was strategic or merely desperation.

The trainer in question was highly experienced, one of the top experts in his field in the UK. Yet he didn’t really see how this expertise could survive as a business on its own.

This isn’t an unusual situation, lots of people are struggling with similar options, questions and tempting solutions (that may not be solutions at all).

I was puzzled, the skills he had acquired over the years, the insights into organisations, individuals and team dynamics were extensive and unique. Yet the live training arena was his current context and he couldn’t really see anything beyond this with his current skillset. Hence the search for something else to do…

Is your plan strategic or panic?

When we work with business authors we are encouraging them to think about the future of their business and how books, audio or online programmes can help them navigate and structure a future for their business. This isn’t a random foray into other areas that they don’t really know about, but a focused use of the insight and expertise in new contexts that can benefit from their wisdom.

For example, the HR consultant who has many years of experience in hospitality settings can begin to pull out the underlying principles of excellent customer experience and translate these for other business sectors in high-value books/products/training.

The creation of a product-range business that sits alongside and complements an expert’s current business maintains the centre of gravity around their expertise. Attempting to start lots of new stuff or offer lots of very different services will lead to a disintegration and loss of quality.

We never resolved the situation for the freelance trainer during our chat, however, my instinct is that our expertise is our strongest asset and delivers the greatest results.

Do we want to create a range of different businesses that are unconnected and risk poorer results for the client?

Or should we look to the future with a product-range business that maintains our quality in different contexts?

There is enormous upheaval ahead.

How will you ride the wave of change?

You Know You Want To…

transmedia

…but can’t find the time, money or energy to Write Your Book!

Authority publishing is an essential aspect of any modern SME business.

Every serious, savvy and trustworthy business needs to get its message out in the most powerful way possible. Amongst the marketing mix there is a way of demonstrating your authority that is more compelling and persuasive than any other.

The book is where an expert in their field reveals their authority; not only demonstrating their expertise and offering guidance to the reader, but also forming a relationship with your audience over many hours of interaction. This level of trust-building is of immense value to your business—it transforms your role from an expert in your field, to the leader in your field.

Overcome the challenge of less-competent competitors

Yet, your authority book is not simply about you and your reader; it is a powerful solution to the challenge of competitors who know less than you in your field, but are more willing to employ slick, usually slimy, sales and marketing techniques.

This not only loses you potential business, but damages the reputation of everybody in your field—when the sleek-marketeer-and-professional-novice doesn’t deliver.

Writing your authority title takes time, a lot of time and real commitment… and the frightening, yet absolutely vital, need to be bold in your narrative choices. Bland and generic business books are everywhere, saturating an already overcrowded arena.

To stand out you need to author something that is unlike anything else… something uniquely you!

This takes time and a commitment to learning how you match your authoring skills with your professional expertise.

Do you really want any weaknesses in your writing abilities to undermine the reader’s perception of your professional expertise? Yet, most wannabe business authors ignore this danger, forgetting that when the reader sees poor quality or boring text they also think that your expertise is of poor quality or uninteresting.

Yet, take the time to begin to match your writing skills with your field of expertise and you’ll stand out powerfully, for all the right reasons!

Your book… Your business!

With such a high commitment of effort, time and money, developing and writing your authority book is daunting and often perceived as an impossible goal. Thus, many well-meaning and excellent professionals regard authoring their authority book as second in line to running their business. Your book is not an addition to your business… it IS your business.

Every day you do not have a book to offer your potential clients is a day your business is gradually diverting away from success.

However, there is an alternative in the short term. This other option does not negate the need for an authority title, but it will buy you time, whilst you learn your new craft and get your authority title written.

If you are daunted… start with a little step, a little book…

The answer is a little book that demonstrates your expertise in a quick, easy to read and highly transportable way. As an introduction for your audience (and for yourself into the realm of authoring), the pocket-sized wealth of wisdom does something the authority book does not…

The little book becomes a daily pickup and delve, rather than a large time commitment for your reader. The power of the authority title exists with your reader investing a large amount of time reading it… they explore the many themes and stories within; they walk with you and learn to like you, trust you, learn lots more from you.

However, if someone is cold and unprepared, this hefty commitment of time can be a challenge and cause them to disconnect. If this happens, the authority book will never be read.

Pitch your little book just right and your new audience will get into the habit of taking it with them as a quick-fix reference and inspirational tool. As this habit forms and sticks with them, they will become desperate to read your next book… the authority title… and will be much more enthusiastic about spending time exploring your meatier efforts.

The empty promise: ‘Write your book in thirty days…’

The little book is so powerful as a temporary solution that many book coaches and media content gurus actually sell programmes that create little books that pretend to be authority titles. These are padded with extra pages, large font sizes and lots and lots of white space—something that makes the author appear to be overreaching and content-light.

Crafting a little book with finesse and an appreciation for what the book needs to achieve is a very different goal than writing a little book disguised as a bigger book!

One is intended to be a portable, quick win… The other is a temporary fix hidden behind the promise of a lasting solution… Are you prepared to stake your brand, your business and your livelihood on a bland, safe and throwaway Band-Aid?

The big idea behind the little book

Writing a little book brings great rewards. When you know how to sculpt and develop your book it can also be completed very quickly. So, if you are planning to write a book, make that book part of a longer-term, bolder strategy—a series of books that will achieve so much more for you and your business.