Writing a business book is one of the best ways you can promote your company and position yourself as a thought leader. But if you’ve never written a book, how do you write it to truly reflect your expertise?

In this article, you’ll learn how to start your author journey with confidence, before you even begin writing.

Laying the Foundation for Your Business Book

Like anything of substance or structure, your book will only come together if it has a solid foundation. No matter the type of book, you should identify two important factors before you choose your business book topic:

  1. Your goals and objectives in writing the book
  2. The audience you must attract to accomplish your goals

Don’t write the book you think your audience should read. Instead, write the book your audience wants to read. Will readers learn something new or gain a new perspective? Perhaps readers will be drawn to your book because you’re helping them solve a problem. Maybe your book will empower or motivate them.

Readers are attracted to business books that offer a unique angle or perspective, even if the topic has been covered extensively. If your topic, for instance, is leadership, what makes your philosophy or approach unique? What do you have to offer?

Your offering to readers could be your own experience. If you’ve overcome a problem or situation, your perspective makes you the
expert. Think of both the solutions and pitfalls you encountered. Chances are, your problem is something others struggle with too. Learning how you navigated it and came out on top may pique the interest of readers seeking solutions.

Finally, ask yourself how your ideal reader would describe your book. This is a good way to test your book idea. What would your reader tell their friends? If you can’t imagine readers bringing up your book at a cocktail party, you may want to pivot and try a different topic (or at least refine the one you’re working on).

Research and Planning: The Pillars of a Great Business Book

Once you’ve figured out your objectives, audience, and topic, you’ve laid a solid foundation for the next step: planning and structuring your business book.

An outline will help you create the structure of your book. If you jump into writing without an outline, completing the book will take forever, and the final product will be haphazard and incomplete. Even worse, without an outline, you may not finish your book at all.

Outlines should be detailed. In addition to each chapter, you should also outline introductions and conclusions. At Scribe, our outlining process differs greatly from what most people teach. We help authors use the outline to trigger ideas and concepts for each chapter, enabling a narrower focus when it’s time to write.

The outline is also your best defense against fear, anxiety, procrastination, and writer’s block. With good positioning and a solid outline, writing becomes fairly easy.

Creating this structure for your book is also important because it reveals sections of the book in which you may want to include researched facts. Once you see your insights and arguments laid out, it’s easier to identify where you need some backup.

There are two scenarios in which research will be beneficial for your business book:

  1. You know enough to write the book, but you want to add sources and citations to make it more persuasive for a specific audience.
  2. You don’t know enough, and you need to learn more to make the book complete.

The bottom line with research? Ask yourself this: what evidence does a reader need to believe your argument is credible and trustworthy?

Don’t jump into research blindly. Treat it like any other goal. Plan. Set a schedule. And follow through.

Writing Strategies for Busy Professionals

You’ve established your foundation and formed a structure, and now you’re ready to write. Well, you’re almost ready. First, you’ll need a writing schedule.

Never wait for inspiration to start writing. A schedule is mandatory to keep you focused and disciplined. Inspiration may help you start the book, but discipline will help you finish it.

Figure out a writing plan based on five factors:

  1. The time of day that you want to write
  2. Where you want to write
  3. How much you will write each session
  4. When you have deadlines
  5. Your accountability in the process

At Scribe, we recommend a goal of 250 words per hour of writing. Why 250? This is approximately the number of words per page in a printed book, which ultimately equals a page a day.

This is a low goal, but most importantly, it’s achievable, and that’s what you need to keep your momentum.

Once you’ve made a writing plan, you’ll need to focus on your voice. Let’s address that.

Many authors think they need to “find their voice” in the writing process, but you don’t need to find anything—you just need to get out of the way and let it out.

Above all, never try to mimic a voice or writing style. Don’t try to be anyone other than exactly who you are. Don’t try to sound smart, and don’t worry about grammar (that comes later). Don’t edit yourself or try to make it perfect.

What you should do is start talking.

Or at least, imagine you’re talking to a friend when you sit down to write. This mindset helps relieve anxiety about writing and keep your focus on the listener’s perspective. You can also envision yourself helping a stranger solve a painful problem. It may sound strange, but addressing someone’s painful situation forces you to focus on the pain and specific, actionable information to alleviate it.

The Role of Professional Help

Let’s say that all this sounds great, but it’s still overwhelming, and you feel like hiring a professional might be the way to go.

With this route, you have options. Do you want to work with a ghostwriter, editor, or book coach?

Do you want someone who can organize your book and write the copy for you? In this case, you’ll want a ghostwriter.

Maybe you’re looking for help with the emotional journey of writing a book, hoping someone can jump in and ensure your book is authentic and engaging. This is when you’ll need a book coach.

A book coach, or writing coach, supports you in the process of writing your book. They help you figure out your objectives, your book’s positioning, your target audience, your daily or weekly writing goals, and a mindset that is right for you as an author. Think of everything an athletic coach does, and apply these attributes to writing.

Editors edit your work, whether that’s line-by-line editing or the way the book reads. Plain and simple, every author needs an editor—and proofreader—to ensure quality and professionalism.

The only way to ensure professionalism and an honest opinion is to work with professionals. Our team of professionals at Scribe includes editors, book coaches, ghostwriters, copywriters, and cover designers. From finance and business books to memoirs and self-help books, we work on projects from a wide array of nonfiction genres. Authors of business books find our ghostwriting services through Scribe Professional very beneficial.

Navigating the Publishing Landscape

We know how daunting it can feel to publish a book. Even if you understand the structuring and writing process, the actual printing and distribution of your ideas can still be a mystery.

There are two main categories in publishing: traditional publishing and self-publishing. Most authors self-publish their book or choose a hybrid option.

In traditional publishing, the publisher must make the authors an offer to publish their book. These offers are typically made to A-list celebrities, famous athletes, professional novelists, and well-known CEOs.

Self-published authors usually include entrepreneurs, C-level executives, lawyers, doctors, coaches, and first-time authors. This is the publishing option in which authors keep their book rights and royalties.

Launching—and Marketing—Your Business Book Successfully

When you’ve selected a publisher, chosen a writing process, and written your book, you get to prepare for the big day: Book Launch Day.

Before it launches, though, you’ll want to build an audience for your book. It’s vital to remember that your book launch is for readers who will benefit the most from your book. Your readers will be the people who review your book, talk about it, and share it. They are your best marketing tool because they can earn your book the attention it deserves. Paid advertising has its place, but you can’t beat word-of-mouth publicity from your readers.

Your audience should consist of readers in three different categories:

  1. A list of thirty to fifty friends and family you can count on to review your book
  2. Your most avid fans/friends/clients/supporters who will go above and beyond for you and your book
  3. Potential readers who will buy and hopefully review your book

Now let’s talk marketing and promotions.

When you’re marketing a business book, it’s so important to frame your thinking around three core tenets:

  1. Your book is a marketing tool, not the product you’re marketing.
  2. Book marketing is a long-term process.
  3. No one cares about your book, but they do care about what your book gets them.

Authors of business books have connections. Now is the time to use them.

Connections don’t need to be celebrities. They can be podcast hosts, members of the media, influencers, or event organizers. The one requirement is that their audience overlaps with your book audience.

For each connection, ask them for one specific thing they can do to effectively share your book with their audience. Once you have a finished PDF of the book, send each connection an email with the finished book, and request their support. Consider engaging your network by posting on social media, emailing your LinkedIn connections, and messaging each connection individually. Social media can reach far and wide, but some of the most successful authors began their book launch journey by sending personalized messages to the people in their network with the biggest potential impact.

These tactics are simple and straightforward, but they’ll bring your book the attention it deserves in the first week of publication. Most importantly, they’ll bring you the attention you deserve.

Publishing a business book is your chance to shed light on your experience and expertise. Maximize this opportunity by devising a plan, establishing a solid foundation, and hiring the right support when you need it. This is how to make your book a success.