4 ways a book can help a consulting career — and 3 ways it can hurt

Ask any consultant and they’ll tell you that it’s hard to quantify how writing a book changes everything. But it does.

Claudia Gere's "Name Your Book: 94 Nonfiction Title Tips" is available from Amazon.

Claudia Gere’s “Name Your Book: 94 Nonfiction Title Tips” is available from Amazon.

When I ask them to explain, the answers go something like this:

“I don’t know why, but now my prospects don’t question the cost of my services. They used to haggle.”

Or:

“Everyone wants to work with me, and I don’t have to call them — they call me.”

One author who had just landed a hefty government consulting contract, something she had been trying to do for years, called to say, “I didn’t know you needed to have a book to work for the government. They don’t tell you that. They just don’t hire you.”

And the benefit of writing a book go further still.

The author phenomenon brings with it new speaking engagements, corporate training opportunities, online webinars, increased website visits and product purchases, and improvements in all the other ways that consultants and entrepreneurs make a living. Everything is easier for book authors.

For consultants working in the area of virtual world development and other cutting-edge technologies, credibility is vital — and so is having alternate income streams.

How Is Writing a Book a Good Idea?

Here are a few key reasons how a book can benefit your business:

  1. Authors stand out from the crowd because they are seen as experts. 
    When people hire a consultant, they want someone who has something new to say, something important. Often that will be the consultant with the bestseller or most recent book on the topic.
  2. A book provides consultants with a reason for publicity. 
    While it’s never a good idea to lead with “author of [insert your title here],” writing a book gives consultants a myriad of well thought-out topics they can talk and write about.
  3. With more publicity comes greater visibility. 
    Writing articles and blog posts, tweeting events and posts, staying in touch with your fans on Facebook, connecting with all of your new acquaintances on LinkedIn, capturing short videos from presentations and posting them on YouTube all lead to more website traffic, higher ranking in the searches by those looking for the consultant’s skills and knowledge.
  4. Creating a book helps refine a consultant’s ideas. 
    Distilling what you know into a book forces greater clarity, how information is organized and delivered as well as originality. No one wants to write a book that rehashes the same ideas using the same formula. People come up with their own methodology to express ideas, strategies, and how-to’s. Some authors completely rethink their business strategy to align with their book. Others even change the focus of their business because they discover what they are most passionate about as well as exciting ways to deliver these new ideas.

When Is Writing a Book a Bad Idea?

If you’re going to write a book, be sure it’s one that will attract clients and not repel them.

Here are just three of the many ways to turn off prospects:

  1. Writing the wrong book, a book that doesn’t target the right audience or that targets your audience with the wrong message.
  2. Producing a less-than-professional book, one that has the wrong title, amateur cover or interior design or is poorly edited.
  3. Publishing a book without a marketing strategy and allocating enough time for promoting it.

Many people have great writing skills, but there’s more to writing a book than pulling together a bunch of articles or blog posts. There’s more to publishing a book than having something important to say.

It’s the difference between cooking a meal for yourself and trying to run a restaurant kitchen.

Be sure your value as a consultant isn’t tarnished but shines through with a professional book. In order for you to stand out as an author, your book needs to stand out as well.

Claudia Gere

Claudia Gere envisions a world where all consultants can write a great book to build their business, visibility, and credibility. There are so many different ways to write a great book, and as an author consultant, speaker, literary agent, and author, she is committed to helping consultants find their best way. Find out more here.