The importance of fitting your book into your business strategy came up again in a recent consultation. Someone who had read my recent blog post “How Live Pain-free Came to Be” wondered if I could help him figure out the best book to write to promote his business.

He told me about his specialty – tribal art – and his idea for writing several books to help promote his gallery and expand his business. 'The_Dhyani_Buddha_Akshobhya',_Tibetan_thangka,_late_13th_century,_Honolulu_Academy_of_Arts.jpg 1820×2048He thought he could easily sell the books at the various fairs and expos he attended through the year, adding a new source of revenue to his business.

As we talked, it became clear that the books were an idea that hadn’t been filtered through the lens of his overall business strategy yet. When I asked what his business intentions were, his answer was – sell the business in three to five years.

We talked about what that meant. Just what IS his business? Is there an ongoing activity that generates profits, and will continue to do so without his presence? Or will the sale of his business be a sale of assets rather than a going concern?   How do strategies differ for positioning for sale? Who are the possible buyers for the going concern? Who are the possible buyers for the assets? Who is the market and what’s the competition in his business?

His business is successful; he is a renowned expert in his field. However, market dynamics are changing dramatically and will continue to do so over the next decade as his traditional buying audience ages and younger buyers aren’t filling in behind them.  He also recognizes a likely increase in competition for his products as older collectors die and their children send collections to auction.

Writing books may or may not be a useful element to his marketing strategy – but the strategy has to be in place before the books are outlined. This business owner might better spend his time over the next few years carefully refining his inventory in anticipation of selling assets, rather than jumping into a new line of business (a new product line of books).

Books take time, energy and money. The time, energy and money consumed by a book project cannot be allocated to other activities. For any business owner, books must be considered an investment and they need to be evaluated just like any other investment the business makes.

If you are considering using books to market your business, ask these questions:

  1. What do I want the book(s) to accomplish for me?
  2. Is this consistent with my overall strategy for my business?
  3. Is a book the best way to reach the goal? Are there other possibilities I haven’t considered?
  4. Who is the audience for my book and how to I intend to reach them?
  5. Are there better ways to reach that audience with my message?

Asking these five questions will help you determine if a book is, in fact, the best tool to further your business goals. Once you’ve concluded that a book is a good idea for your business, then you can start to ask the questions that will lead you to the content, design and distribution decisions for your book. Also, check out our newest online programs, Writer’s Sprint, Memoir Writing Made Easy and Aspiring Author to Published Pro.