Way back in 2010, I started a small struggling business called “Aleweb Social Marketing.” It had started out as a consulting firm teaching small businesses how to get ahead by using social marketing. The problem was, many small businesses were still trying to figure out whether they even needed to incorporate social media into their businesses. (Can you believe it?)
But one segment of my client base was growing organically: speakers who were authors.
It took me a year and a half to clue into the fact that working with small businesses wasn’t getting me anywhere, fast! But when I finally did, the focus of my company shifted to figuring out the best ways to help authors and speakers market their books and presentations.
Knowing that I needed a unique way to reach this target market and convince them that I was the best resource for them, I decided to write a book.
Within three months, I wrote and published my first eBook, The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books, in May 2012.
It took a lot of hard work to pull together the content, get a cover designed, and figure out exactly just how to create and publish an eBook, but I did it. And I was proud of the results! (Although I’m a little embarrassed by the 1st edition of the book these days…)
My primary goal with the eBook was to use it to establish a relationship with my readers–all of whom were potential future clients for me.
I held nothing back. I gave them the best ideas and resources I had at that time, knowing that it would either:
- Convince them of the hard work necessary so that they’d hire me to do it instead, or
- Help those who couldn’t afford me to make enough progress with their marketing to send the rest of it to me once they’d raised some funds.
And it was actually quite good for that. I started receiving emails and phone calls from readers all over the world who were getting a lot out of my book, and who wanted more.
What I didn’t bank on was the fact that my methods and resources are continually changing, just as the technology and publishing industries are. And some of the recommendations I made in the book were outdated two short years later. So, I updated the book and published it as both an eBook and paperback this time.
What a huge difference that made! Little did I realize at the time, but eBooks would eventually account for only 29% of our sales. The paperback was where it was at!
And my business continued to grow. I’d learned my lesson well though and I listened to what my peers and clients needed.
More and more, I heard that they wanted help not just promoting their books and creating websites, but also with publishing their books. So, I started a second company to supplement the first, and Emerald Lake Books was born.
Little did I know that in the space of twelve months, Emerald Lake Books would become my primary business, and Aleweb Social Marketing would be absorbed into it.
Yet all of this came from writing a book that served the basic needs of the type of person I wanted to work with most. (I actually went to a couple of my favorite clients and asked them what they needed!)
If I’d never written The Plan and established myself as an expert in book marketing, Emerald Lake Books wouldn’t exist. And one of the most satisfying parts of my life would be missing.
This is how I discovered the power of a strategically written book.
The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books has gone on to win numerous awards, it’s built my mailing list, garnered me speaking engagements, and justified increasing my consulting fees. It’s established my expertise in a way that is genuine and authentic, and that came from a position of service and giving. If a reader was inclined to do all the work themselves, they had enough information in the book to be able to do that. And that made me feel good!
It meant that the readers who contacted me were those I truly had something to offer. I wasn’t keeping the magic ingredient to my awesomesauce secret. Anyone could pick up the book and follow the instructions. But those who felt their time was better spent elsewhere and could afford to work with me contacted me about working together.
I wasn’t out there chasing leads. I was giving back, and feeling good about it, all while building a business that could support my family.
Two years later, I was able to bring in my best friend, Mark Gerber, as my business partner, and Emerald Lake Books has grown even more since then.
We’ve defined a unique process that combines business coaching with publishing so that we can help others do exactly the same thing that I was able to do with my book.
We’ve hired people to help us, both as coaches to help us grow and as team members to support our increased workload. While Mark and I are the only full-time permanent people in the company, we have a team of ten other hand-selected people who work with us regularly on our projects.
Our six-figure business grew from one little book idea that was strategically written, carefully crafted, impeccably designed, and properly positioned.
Just as important, I knew exactly what I wanted my readers to get out of the book and what I wanted the book to accomplish for my business. And I was clear about the overall impact I wanted the book to have.
These three factors have become crucial elements of our Publish with a Purpose framework, which we use with all of our authors as part of helping them create books that get results.
If you have been wondering whether a book is right for you or how to write a book that serves a specific purpose, I invite you to schedule a call with us.