Book publishing isn’t only for the starving writer, the up-and-coming entrepreneur, or the budding public speaker hoping to get noticed. After all, haven’t we all seen A-rated celebs and political wonks get published en masse, setting the airwaves and the internet abuzz with their tales of triumph, temptation, and triviality?
They all get it. They get that it’s not about the book. Well, it is, but it’s really bigger than the book. It’s about branding. It’s about setting yourself up for the next great opportunity, even while you’re sitting pretty in the C suite. So why, when all is well in your corporate oasis, would you, the leader of a thriving company, invest the time (and perhaps the expense) to write a book? Aren’t there already millions of titles out there that no one reads anyway because they’re all too busy working their 9-to-5 gigs to prove their worth and hoping to some day push you out of your top spot? Hmmm, now that’s food for thought.
Why join the parade of talking heads who think that just because they’ve made it to what most think is the glamorous top ranks, that any and everybody suddenly wants to know how they did it, where they started, who they stepped on to get there, what it cost them, what they learned, and what they think about one thing or another? Why? Because you’re one of them, and these days baring your soul in a book is how to keep yourself among the top ranks of power players.
Here’s what they all know about branding and book publishing that you probably don’t:
It’s one of the best ways to build your brand: Haven’t you noticed the branding that’s happening with corporate leaders these days? They’re not only tied to the brand they lead, but they’re inventing a brand of their own. Think Jobs (black T with blue jeans), Sandberg (no-nonsense anti-chick), Zimmern (mustache, raspy voiced “You’re gonna like the way you look”), Buffett (The Oracle of Wall Street, demure, unassuming, grandpa), Winfrey (every woman’s best girlfriend). Define your personal brand and take it with you wherever you go. Better yet, let it speak for you wherever you are not, meaning give them something to talk about. The “You” brand is the subject of chatter when you’re not in the room (and I don’t mean water-cooler gossip about the boss). I’m talking the big league banter of “Who do we want on our team to help get us to the next level? Who’s done it for some other company? We don’t care how much it costs, just get him/her here!” That’s called you’re hot, in high demand, and can write your own ticket.
It helps establish your expertise: We all want a s/hero. We want to know about The One who came up with that great idea or made the daring decision that changed the way we all look at . . . everything. Leave your phony humility at the elevator door of your penthouse and tell the world (in an honest, yet mildly glorified manner) that you really do add more to the corporate scene than an expensive suit and a product roll-out chart with more diagonal lines and arrows than anyone knows what to do with. You’ve got game, knowledge for the next generation of leaders, so you might as well set yourself up to be the revered leader you secretly want to be known as. That’s called legacy. Speaking of that.
It allows you to leave a legacy: Long after you’re gone, your book will exist. It will tell your side of the story about what X-Y-Z Corporation accomplished during your tenure and what you did to make it happen. You haven’t poured your blood, sweat, tears, ideas, and elbow grease into your company to see it all go down the drain when the latest whiz kid comes along with a hi-tech solution to rescue the industry. What you’ve contributed is worth gold, it’s the foundation on which the company’s early and most recent success was built. On the other side of your humility is your secret desire to have others recognize you for what you’ve done. But not only that, you want to do all you can to make sure that all of your hard work isn’t forgotten by the next generation of leaders. You want to leave a legacy and to share what you know.
It’s a great way to impart knowledge: You know stuff. And after years of doing what you do, the irresistible urge to share what you know becomes stronger than the need to step aside to let others lead. Your knowledge is not just the “what” of your accomplishments, it’s the “how.” Using your book to explain how you know what you know and do what you do seals the juiciness of your grey matter in stone. Not only that, done right, it can inspire and influence those in your sphere today and those who come after you.
Here are just some of the big wigs who get it when it comes to the connection between book publishing and branding. They get the concept of “the new intellectual property” and they’ve brought their A-game to both Wall Street and Main Street.
- Richard Branson, Founder/Chairman of Virgin Group — Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way
- Truett Cathy, Founder of Chick-fil-A — How’d You Do It, Truett?: A Recipe For Success
- Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft — Business @ The Speed of Thought: Succeeding in the Digital Economy
- Lee Iacocca, former President of Ford Motor Company and former CEO of Chrysler — Iacocca: An Autobiography
- John Mackey, Co-CEO of Whole Foods Market — Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business
- Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook — Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
- Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks — Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul
- Martha Stewart, Founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia — The Martha Rules
- Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric — Jack: Straight From the Gut
They’ve done it. So what are you waiting for?
For help in getting started with your book project, contact Anita at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anita Henderson helps entrepreneurs and executives enhance their platforms, and build their brands by becoming pu
blished authors. Through her Write Your Life program, new authors overcome the struggles of writing, publishing, and marketing books, and learn to leverage their books to achieve success.
Anita is the author of three books, including Write Your Life: Create Your Ideal Life And The Book You’ve Been Wanting to Write; and co-author of five books including Write Books That Sell Now and Building a Business, Building a Life: Incredible Stories of Women Entrepreneurs. She owns The Write Image, a boutique book publishing services company that created the proprietary Write Your Life book production process. Her freelance articles have appeared in over 25 publications in the U.S. and Canada. Anita is also co-creator of the Write Books That Sell Now online course for aspiring authors, and co-host of the Write Books That Sell Now weekly podcast.