Writing a book can do big things for financial professionals. Books reinforce the credibility of the author and can help establish the author as a thought leader and authority figure in the eyes of potential clients, plus it gives you an invaluable marketing and lead generation tool.
Unfortunately, too many people think of writing a book as something they'll never be quite able to do. But the truth is that anybody can write a quality book. Learning to write is just like learning to do anything else: It takes time, patience, practice and the right set of tools.
That's what I learned during a recent conversation I had with author and speaker Don Yaeger. During our time together, Mr. Yaeger laid out a wealth of information for new and aspiring authors. He also shared valuable book promotion strategies for existing authors.
WRITER'S BLOCK: JUST A MYTH?
Mr. Yaeger hasn't had writer's block a day in his life. You're probably thinking it must be because he's incredibly intelligent and naturally gifted, but, while those things are certainly true, his secret to beating writer's block is something anybody can do.
It all comes down to the outline. Mr. Yaeger says with a strong outline, the task of writing the book becomes far simpler.
“I learned many years ago that the most important thing I can do — the most important aspect of my book writing window, from when I'm starting a book to when it's finished — is that first month when I build the outline,” Mr. Yaeger said. “I build an outline that's so thick, sometimes you could argue the outline could be the book.”
Mr. Yaeger's strategy does three important things for the author:
1) It gives you a bird's eye view of how the whole book fits together.
2) It allows you to decide beforehand what you'll write about in every section of the book, which means you never get stuck wondering what to say next.
3) “People read a book for flow,” Mr. Yaeger says. And a thorough outline builds flow like nothing else can.
MAKE YOUR BOOK IMPOSSIBLE TO PUT DOWN
If you had the choice of reading a numbered list of valuable lessons or a single story that explained each lesson in an example, which one do you think you'd pick? You'd pick the story, right?
Yet so many authors fail to realize the fundamental importance of narrative in their work, and they end up rattling off a long list of disjointed ideas instead.
“People want to read or listen to stories,” Mr. Yaeger says. “They don't want to listen to advice. They don't want to be preached at. They want to listen to stories. So be a storyteller.”
Stories don't just make your writing more entertaining and engaging, though. They're the key to making the information and principles outlined in the book relatable to your audience.
“The greatest leaders of all-time are the greatest storytellers,” Mr. Yaeger said. “Those who can actually make you feel like you're part of the tale are those who can bring people along to do things they wouldn't naturally do.”
PROMOTING YOUR FINISHED WORK
Once you've got your book wrapped up, what's the next step? Many authors fall into a rut during this stage of the process, because they directed all their energy on writing and never stopped to think about how they could get the finished product into readers' hands.
Here are three of Mr. Yaeger's most successful strategies from his own book promotion:
1) Reach out to anyone you've quoted in the book and coordinate some joint promotion on social media.
2) Offer a free excerpt from the book on your website in exchange for an email opt-in. This is an insanely easy way to build your audience and acquire prospects.
3) Distill the book down to its three most surprising, fascinating and unexpectedly valuable “nuggets” and use those to pitch local media and other publicity outlets.
If you follow Mr. Yaeger's advice, writing and promoting your book will be much easier than you ever believed possible. For more on my interview with Mr. Yaeger, click here to listen to the entire podcast.
Brad Johnson is vice president of adviser development at Advisors Excel. Follow him on Twitter @Brad_Johnson.