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3 Strategies to Using Your Book as a Calling Card There are hundreds of ways to use your book to build your business. Here are three to get you started.

By Wendy Keller

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Are you an author or do you plan to become one? As entrepreneurs,we tend to write books with a specific purpose in mind: to grow our businesses.

You may have heard, "A book is a calling card." You have been misinformed. A book is only a calling card if you use it to call upon people. The fact of the book's existence, whether it was self-published or published by Harper Collins, is not where the magic lies.

There are hundreds of ways to use your book to build your business. My specialty as a literary agent is helping my author-clients do just that. I've picked up some great strategies along the way and I'll share three of the smartest ones in this article. For more, attend my live webinar by clicking here.

Strategy One: Get Your Book in the Door.

While you are writing your book, you will be thinking of great examples to color the principles you are espousing. This is a golden opportunity! Are there C-level execs or companies where you just wish you could get your foot in the door? Now you can! Call and say, "I'd like to interview Mr. Executive for my new book, "Title". Can we find even 10-15 minutes so I can ask him a few questions?"

This works great if you already have a contract from a known publishing house, but I've seen even self-published authors pull it off, too. Why? Because those executives think they're pretty smart. By offering one more way for them to prove to the world that they're clever, they'll be more inclined to like you, to be willing to meet you and to invite you into their offices.

Show up live and in person – and on time – for that interview. (Much better than just a phone call!) Make friends. Be your most charming self. Be prepared with your interview questions. Get the exec to sign a release allowing you to use the quotes in your book. And make certain to send a thank you note right after the interview and another one with a signed copy when the book is published.

This is one of the most ingenious ways to get your foot in the door with any C-level exec you desire. Find out more at the "Platform Building for Authors" webinar. Click here for details.

Strategy Two: Buddy Up for Business

If you book is not yet published, you have an extraordinary opportunity to build your brand by piggybacking on someone else's name or credentials.

I often recommend this to the hundreds of people writing books about mental or physical health issues. If you don't have the most amazing network or credentials, approach a few people – even strangers – who have the distribution system or degree you do not and ask them to "co-author" it with you. Perhaps they'd write just the foreword. Maybe they'll promote your book to their clients/customers/fan base. They may have been hoping to do a book but not have had the time. They may be thrilled to get 50% author credit when you'll do all the hard work. Example:

You want to write a diet book based on your own results so you get a doctor to "co-author" it with you, since you're not a doctor. The doctor gets new patients, and you get a "free" medical degree – which brings you more weight loss mindset coaching clients.

You are a business consultant but most of your clients have been small companies. You approach the CEO of the biggest company you can get your hands on. He declines to co-author with you, but he's thrilled to write the foreword because he agrees with your principles. You get new clients, he gets a few more of his fifteen minutes of fame.

You want to write a book on sales, so you can merge into becoming a speaker. (One of my specialties is people entering the speaking business!) You research who the top sales people are in various industries on LinkedIn and approach them. Several agree to be interviewed but one of them, the top sales person for 16 years at Remax, would love to become your co-author. By sharing your by-line with her, you just gave yourself access to the entire real estate industry for speaking and training opportunities.

Strategy Three: Book as Bonus

I am in the rare position of representing and/or consulting primarily business book authors who want to leverage their books into paid speaking, consulting or customer attraction. It boggles my mind how this super simple strategy is not evident to everyone.

  • Use your book as a bonus.
  • Give it away when someone buys your product or service
  • Mail a free copy to anyone who fills out a form on your website, like a survey
  • Run a contest and let your book be the prize awarded to every participant, even if they don't win (implies the book has great value)
  • Give it away in return for business cards in the fishbowl at the next trade show
  • Host your own un-book signing by doing your signing in a non-traditional place. (A café, a sporting goods store, your local office supply shop – anywhere that would like to co-promote you)
  • Excerpt your own best chapter (ask permission from your publisher if you have one!), bind it with the same cover as the book, and give just that away digitally or physically to your entire prospect list.

No, you won't make money off the book itself if you do these things. But even if your profit percentage on a self-published book is $20 per unit, what greater value is there in a new customer?

Your book can be the single greatest marketing tool you ever create. I have many clients who can trace their success to the moment we sold their book to a reputable publisher. That's because I repeatedly reminded them that the book is a tool, not a destination in itself. Used properly, your book can change your business, your life, your career and even your destiny.

To find out more about leveraging your book – before or after publication – come to the free webinar "Platform Building for Authors". 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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