In a crowded network of personal, social, and commercial interactions, businesses and non-profits struggle for attention to attract prospects, clients, sales – and investors. To succeed, they need to tell their story to the larger world – called “positioning” – to set themselves apart from the competition. Common tools for branding themselves are websites, social media, advertising, media relations, and word-of-mouth. However, when such an organization labors to stand out from the crowd, there is one venue that can truly make a difference: the ghostwritten book.
Such a book can be about an individual – usually the CEO – or about the team of founders who have collectively sparked a revolution in their market space. Or the book could be about a process leading to success that is intended to inspire others. Whatever the book’s focus, it becomes the unforgettable business card, the tool that inevitably leads to better and more effective positioning for the organization and its most closely held goals.
Some entrepreneurs believe they need to “be somebody” before a ghostwritten book could work for them. Not necessarily. One of the most successful business advocates who scored big with a series of books is a man named Harvey Mackay, the owner and CEO of a Midwestern manufacturing company that makes…wait for it…cardboard boxes and envelopes. Yet his book, Swim with the Sharks, and its sequels put Mackay and his business in the spotlight. Partly a focused memoir on how he built his business, most of the book focuses on a sales process so logical and powerful that other entrepreneurs quickly made this book “required reading” for their own sales forces.
Other entrepreneurs use ghostwritten books as calling cards. Recently, one of our clients attended an introductory business meeting that clearly wasn’t going anywhere. However, before he left, he pulled out a copy of a book he’d just ghostwritten – a book relevant to the prospect’s line of work –and presented it to that prospect. As feared, the business deal the meeting focused on proved a non-starter, but, just a week later, the prospect called back. “That venture isn’t going anywhere, but we have another and want you to help us launch it.” That call led to a 24-month, $150,000 business agreement, all because of the left-behind ghostwritten book.
What can such a book do for you?
First, having a book written in your name makes you – in the eyes of the media and literally millions of individuals – a subject matter expert, and often a thought-leader as well.
Second, because it’s memorable, having written a book stays in the memory. The average American sees 3,600 commercial messages a day. Breaking through that “ad clutter” is a challenge, but a book in your name can do that.
Third, it showcases your expertise in one or more aspects of entrepreneurship, again helping you to stand out from the crowd.
Here is the process for creating, publishing and capitalizing on a ghostwritten book for your business or non-profit organization. df
Determine the focus of the book – what it is going to say, who it is going to reach, the impact it is going to create among the readers
Create a chapter-by-chapter table of contents – strive for a book with ten to fifteen chapters with twenty to thirty pages per chapter
One chapter at a time, interview the source or sources – the name(s) which will appear on the cover of the book – for the content of a given chapter
Draft the chapter, striving to capture and hold the named author(s)’ unique voice or voices, and share this chapter draft with the named author(s) for their review and input
Review the now-edited chapter with the named author, discussing what works, what needs help or revision, and what doesn’t work
Rewrite chapter reflecting the requested edits
Turn the chapter over to an editor who will review it without the emotional ties the ghostwriter and the named author(s) will naturally have
Start with the next chapter, repeating steps three through seven, until the book is completed and ready to publish
Conduct final editing to ensure the book flows well and has no redundancy or any “holes” in the manuscript
Turn the book over to a typographer/content designer to prepare it for publication
Design and approve the cover art. This can begin immediately after Step One above, but it isn’t needed until the book is ready for publication
Decide if the book is to be self-published or traditionally published
If self-publishing, use a graphic artist to create the design of the front cover, the back cover, and the book’s spine. In self-publishing, you’ll want to create at least an eBook version as well as a trade paperback version. Additional options include a premium hardcover edition and an audiobook
Develop a detailed book-launch and sustaining marketing plan
Use the book’s credibility to position yourself as an expert in the eyes of the news and business news media, generating press coverage that will add to your positioning efforts
Use the book to position yourself to address business trade meetings as an expert
Use the book to create opportunities such as TED talks to further enhance your impact in the marketplace
A ghostwritten book can be developed at a pace ranging from one to three or even four chapters per month, depending on the timing, budget, and priority in terms of getting it out there into the marketplace. As we say here at Path To Publishing: You don’t have to be a writer to be the author of your own story. If you have a story you want to tell or a message you want to deliver but need help crafting it, don’t know how to craft it, or simply do not have the time to do it on your own, email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a no-fee consulting call with one of our expert ghostwriters. Or feel free to visit our scheduling link at https://app.10to8.com/book/gmerivvtrtwgsyuezivgt-free/ and choose the free 15-minute literary consulting call option.