The value of the book in you

Periodically people inform me that I should write a book about… well whatever it was I was talking about that they’d probably heard enough of. I dare say this happens to a lot of us.

I find this suggestion easy to resist because I know how hard it is to write just one chapter of a book. I rationalise that writing books is a waste of time, based on purely anecdotal evidence from one or two disillusioned authors I know.

But I have been given pause for thought by this survey: The Business Impact of Writing a Book. This is based on a survey of 200 authors of business books. Here are a few fab facts. I always take these sorts of percentages with a generous pinch (huh?) of salt, but looking at the whole report, a coherent picture emerges.

39% of authors reported a strong or very strong influence on improving relationship with current clients

84% of authors reported a strong or very strong influence on brand improvement

74% of authors reported a strong or very strong influence on publicity and PR

53% of authors reported a strong or very strong influence on their ability to charge higher fees

As for the discontent, I was not surprised that authors were underwhelmed by their publishers. Many find they invest their own money in promotion, and it’s clear that there’s a lot more to this than the writing and hoping for sales. A great deal more revenue comes indirectly to authors rather than in book sales.

Some of the best parts are the verbatims from authors, which I think make fascinating and provocative reading. The full report is not cheap at $175 so most of you will find the highlights quite enough. But if you are giving serious thought to writing a book, it could be a very good investment, considering the vast amount of time you are about to devote to the project. There’s a lot of experience there to draw upon.

Disclosure: Mike Schultz sent me a completely free preview copy of the report so be warned that this post is influenced by The Hawthorne Effect. (I’ve been reading about that in the book Connected Marketing, on which I’ll post more another time.)

6 thoughts on “The value of the book in you

  1. David Burn

    Why write a book that I might spend a few hours with, or days, if it’s compelling through and through? Your blog provides the aforementioned benefits and I visit it everyday.

    I guess doing both wouldn’t hurt.

  2. MarketingMonger

    The Business of Impact of a Book vs a Blog

    Johnnie Moore points out some interesting stats about the business impact of writing a book. 39% of authors reported a strong or very strong influence on improving relationship with current clients 84% of authors reported a strong or very strong…

  3. Earl Mardle

    Thanks for the pointer to the Hawthorne effect. I’m sure the effect is valid, I’m equally sure that the mechanism is wrong.

    It’s not that “By singling out a small group of employees to participate in an exclusive trial, participants felt valued, special and important. The special attention they received gratified their ego and created a positive emotional bond with what they were trialing.”

    That’s BS, its about being able to make a difference, to influence the outcome, maybe even to modify the process; in short its about power and control.

    THAT is why the net works, because it deliberately shares control and distributes power over knowledge and information.

    Taken to its logical conclusion, you get Eric von Hippel at MIT with his research into the increased profitability of businesses that enable their best customers to design and develop and test and market their products.

    Profitability that increases by orders of magnitude.

    Wen you engage your clients, or your staff in a genuine dialogue, if you share the power to make decisions and if their experience helps you modify the outcomes, it will almost always work.

  4. Johnnie Moore

    Yes Earl, I meant to blog more about Hawthorne later and you’ve added a good caveat to how it’s being interpreted in some places. Like so many things, it doesn’t gain in perception if it’s just turned into a thing that is done to people in a purely instrumental way.

  5. Jack Yan

    There are some publishers out there for whom publishing is merely ensuring cogs in a wheel turn. And there are some publishers for whom it is a real passion—I’d go with the latter any day.


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