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3 Not-So-Obvious Steps to Writing a Successful Business Book A book is the single greatest marketing tool a new or growing business can create.

By Wendy Keller

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Do you dream of writing a business book but don't know where to start?

Are you convinced that you'd skyrocket your business if you got published? You're right.

A book is the single greatest marketing tool a new or growing business can create. It is the supreme permanent lead generator if it is done right. It is also the easiest way to elbow your way high up above your competitors, whether your business is a local dry cleaners or a business consulting firm or you run an information marketing company online (or anything in between).

I first realized the incredible benefit a published book brings to its author back in the 90s. I had sold a book for C. Todd Conover, who had been the Comptroller of the Currency for late U.S. President Ronald Reagan. When I called Mr. Conover a year after its release to suggest he write a second book, he shocked me by saying basically, "Wendy! I don't have time to write another book! This one has grown my business by 300%". From that comment, I began investigating and eventually came to specialize in how entrepreneurs, consultants, speakers, marketers, coaches and service providers can use books to grow their businesses. Your book is not an end in itself -- it is a business transformation device when you use it properly.

Related: So You Want to Write a Business Book

People believe that authors have a higher level of credibility and subject matter expertise than the rest of the world. That's probably why so many people rush out to self-publish their books. But why do that? Why write a check to some stranger for their alleged book distribution or marketing help when it is so much easier -- and much more impressive -- to work with a legitimate traditional publisher? Think HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, McGraw Hill, Entrepreneur Press and Simon & Schuster level success.

There are three major steps to writing a successful business book:

Come up with a few general ideas for your book.

You'll want to sniff around. Who is doing similar things online? Has anyone else written a similar or identical book? What can you say that is New, Different, Better or offers the readers something More than the ways they can consume this information right now?

Ping your idea against the world.

Try a few blog posts. Maybe record a few YouTube.com videos. Is the public really out there waiting for your topic? Build your platform off the early questions and interactions you get.

Write a terrific nonfiction book proposal.

A book proposal explains your idea, proves that it is likely to attract book buyers, and shows your future publisher how you will help sell a lot of copies. (To find out how to write a great proposal, one that will attract quality publishers, click here.) When your proposal is finished, you will snag a literary agent who will place your proposal under the noses of the best publishers and sell it for you for the best terms possible.

Related: 5 Ways Writing a Book Can Help Your Business

Some people find it easier to complete steps one and two if they understand what will be expected of them in Step three. If that's true for you, come to the free webinar on proposal writing for all kinds of tips and insider success strategies.

Once your proposal is sold to a publisher, you'll have ample time to write a great book. With your agent's advice, you will also discover how to prepare to use your book to attract the maximum number of highly qualified new leads into your business. Be sure to ask your agent if s/he provides marketing consulting services as part of her services before you sign.

The good news? You don't have to write any of this yourself if you don't want to or don't have the time. There are quality ghostwriters at all fee levels and you'll earn the money you spend on them back from what the publisher gives you as an advance.

Related: 7.1 Steps to Writing Your Book

There's really nothing stopping you from creating a nonfiction book that catapults you and your company into the limelight. If you have a decent idea or two, you're a third of the way there already. If you're interested in learning more about my method for proposal writing, sign up for a free live webinar on April 16, 19 or 20. Click here to find out more.

Wendy Keller

Literary Agent, Speaker Trainer and Entrepreneur

Wendy Keller is an award-winning former journalist, a respected literary agent, an author, speaker, acclaimed book marketing consultant, and branding expert. She is the author of Ultimate Guide to Platform Building (Entrepreneur Press®, 2016) and got her first job as a newspaper reporter as a 16-year-old college freshman. Since then, Wendy worked for PR Newswire; the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain; as managing editor of Dateline magazine; and as associate publisher of Los Angeles’ then-second-largest Spanish language weekly, La Gaceta. She works with authors, speakers and business experts to help them build and promote their brands. She founded Keller Media, Inc. in 1989.

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