Why CEOs Should Write a Book

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Over the years, quite a few business owners, entrepreneurs, and CEOs have come to me asking for help writing a book. Sometimes it's a memoir, other times it can be prescriptive nonfiction, or even inspiration. You may be wondering why this would be a good use of your time—but trust me, there's huge potential to grow your business by writing a book. Here are several different reasons CEOs should write a book.

Often there is more than one reason, but a well-written, professionally produced book can accomplish any and all these goals. It takes time, investment, and assistance from professionals to help you write, edit, produce, print, and distribute your books.

1. Gain Professional Credibility

There have been many highly successful people I have spoken to, who have made millions of dollars in their company, but the one thing they have always wanted to do is write and publish a book. It is not uncommon for someone to say they have been working on a book for years, but they just can’t seem to get it done. Time and skill hold them back.

These successful businesspeople feel that a book will elevate their brand and their platform. And they are correct. To most people, authors are experts. When you hand someone a book, they feel that you have knowledge beyond the common person—they see you as accomplished, educated, talented, and intelligent. That is why writing a great book, one that people will be impressed by, is so important. A bad book can sink your credibility and follow you around like a bad penny.

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2. Book Speaking Engagements

A book can be used two ways for speaking engagements. You can send a copy to a meeting planner, and you can sell them at (or before) an event. I recently had a client launch a book. Within his first month he had booked six speaking engagements. The average fee was $10k. I won’t say this is the norm, but he worked hard to market himself and his book.

In addition to using the book to impress the decision makers, he also is going to sell signed copies at the events.

People ask if they will make money on a book they have written. If you concentrate on selling one book at a time, then it will be hard. The two ways you can make money are 1) selling in bulk and 2) leveraging your book for something larger. In many instances, you can add copies of your book in your speaking contract—a copy for all the participants.

Consider the return on selling a book. It costs $6 to produce. Imagine giving that book away to a meeting planner and it lands you a $10k speaking gig. You just sold one book for $10k. Now that's a return on investment.

3. Generate Leads for Your Business

In addition to speaking engagements, a book can also be used to show credibility that can lead to other work opportunities. This is especially true with companies that provide coaching and consulting services. A book that lays out the process that the author uses can entice a corporate company to want to know more and to hire the author to provide training to their employees.

I once had a client who had provided some workshops for a company, and she had a book that demonstrated the techniques she taught in those classes. The company licensed her book for $1 per ebook copy. The company put their logo on the front of the book and added a foreword from their CEO. The ebook was sent out as a holiday gift for all the employees to the company—all 60,000 of them.

That was a huge holiday bonus for that author.

Some people refer to business books as their $5.00 business card. It provides the reader with an understanding of who you are, what your expertise is, and a bit of your personal brand and style.

4. Spread a Message 

Some business leaders have a particular philosophy or idea that permeates their company’s purpose and culture. A book can tell a story that is inspirational about how a business owner may have started with an idea at their kitchen table and built a Fortune 500 company. It can be a memoir or prescriptive, but it provides hope and a map for others.

With the availability of self-publishing through IngramSpark, you can spread your message and book around the world with the push of a button. People all around the world can buy and read your book any time, day or night.

5. Add Another Stream of Income

Some business owners focus on how to leverage a book to bring them more business, while others use it as a product to sell. There are different strategies around marketing and distribution, but the creation of the book is basically the same.

Writing a book is not a matter of “write it and they will come.” You have to map out a plan for selling the book—getting it into your market’s hands. There are plenty of great books nobody has ever heard of that sit on office shelves and collect dust because there was no marketing strategy in place.

There are a lot a very well-meaning people that say "you need to write a book" or "your life should be a movie," but remember that there's a lot of time, money, and sweat equity involved in producing a book, and passion without skill equals clumsy results.

If you are serious about writing a book and you have a purpose for the book, but don’t have the time or skill in putting it together, there are a lot of professionals that can help you. IngramSpark provides world class assistance in helping writers become book authors. They can help you find the right people you will need along the way, and when you're ready, will provide you the platform for printing and distributing your book worldwide.

There is no better time than right now to get started on your book. It can be one of the greatest accomplishments of your life.


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John Peragine

John Peragine is a published author of 14 books and has ghostwritten more than 100 others. He is contributor for New York Times, Reuters, and Bloomberg News. He has written for Wine Enthusiast, Grapevine Magazine, Acres USA, WineMaker magazine, and Writer’s Digest. He has been writing professionally since 2007, after working 13 years in social work and as the piccolo player for the Western Piedmont Symphony for over 25 years. Peragine is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. His newest book, A History of Iowa Wine: Vines on Prairie (History Press), was released April 2019. He can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter at @johnpwriter.