Paris Hilton has one. Rob Lowe has one too. Even Sharon Osbourne’s got one.
Get your mind out of the gutter people — I’m talking about books.
Even with all their money, fame and extreme overexposure, these people (or, their people) went to the effort to become published authors. Why?
These celebrities already have more money than they know what to do with and dead tree book publishing is supposed to be dead.
So why do these celebrities bother to write (or hire a ghostwriter to write) a book?
I can’t answer for Paris, but Seth Godin has stated that the reason to write a book versus a blog post, ebook, or PDF is to “make change happen.”
Yes, the Emperor of Content Marketing, Godin has published books for years.
Not just ebooks, but real dead-tree printed books with covers.
He says the reason he wrote Linchpin is because, “If you want to change people, you must create enough leverage to encourage the change to happen.”
A book gives you that kind of leverage.
Books change lives
Celebrities usually write books to “set the record straight” or explain the twisted story of their rise to stardom.
They can’t do that with a magazine article or tweet. It takes more than 140 characters to explain why Paris does what she does, after all.
Changing a reader’s opinion requires space — whether it’s transforming your attitude toward Paris Hilton or changing your thinking about how you do business.
A tweet doesn’t often change someone’s life. But books can and do — all the time.
I’ve written my books to help people. Although my books don’t sell quite as well as Seth’s or Paris Hilton’s, I have received countless emails from readers thanking me for the information.
In a small way, my books have changed people’s lives.
A book is something tangible you can point to as a repository of your knowledge. Unlike a series of blog posts, a book is organized and works as a cohesive unit. People take books more seriously than almost any other form of writing.
Being a book author gives you a level of credibility like almost nothing else.
Let’s face it, saying you’re a book author has a lot more cachet than saying you’re a blogger.
Where’s your book?
If you’re reading Copyblogger, you’re undoubtedly a writer, content marketer, or some other type of wizard of words.
You’re a writer. Why haven’t you written a book?
Maybe the idea is too big and scary. I’m living proof that it’s not as hard as you might think to face those fears, move forward, and get your book out into the world.
Here are seven secrets Paris and Seth know that you may not know about getting a book written and published:
1. You don’t have to accept rejection
Many people never write their Great American Novel because they think someone might not like it.
We writers are sensitive souls and fear of rejection is real. The secret is you don’t have to accept rejection.
Have you ever heard of Mark Victor Hansen?
He’s one of the guys who wrote Chicken Soup for the Soul — a book that has made millions of dollars and spawned countless spin-off products. Yet, that book was rejected 140 times. Mark believed in his book, refused to accept the rejections, and kept going.
Another secret is that rejection often has nothing to do with the quality of your book or your ideas.
Many rejections relate to a publisher’s business decisions and have nothing to do with you or your writing at all.
2. You can learn everything you need to know
Many authors take a peek at the book-publishing business, get completely overwhelmed, and run away.
It’s a lot like when you started your own business or your blog.
The secret is to realize that although writing is a creative process, publishing is a business. Publishing a book is going to require work and a bit of education on your part.
For less than $100 worth of books about publishing before you get started, you can save an enormous amount of time, money and aggravation in the long run.
3. You have to market the book
Even if an enormous New York City publishing house publishes your book, you will have to market it.
A first-time author rarely gets help from the publisher. Accept that you will be on your own when it comes to marketing — a fact I’ve discovered first-hand, the hard way.
When you know that you — and only you — will be responsible for marketing your book, you won’t be disappointed.
4. You don’t have to sell your soul to “The Man” (unless you want to)
It used to be that you had to beg a Big Publishing Company to give your book idea the time of day.
You needed an agent and preferably a lot of money. And as noted, the Big Publishing Company could still reject your book on a whim.
You can publish a book yourself. In the past, self-publishing was often equated to vanity publishing. (In other words, a self-published book was often considered crap.)
But now that idea has been turned on its head. Some people argue that being published by a Big Company is more for “vanity” reasons than anything else. It’s certainly not because of all the great marketing support you’ll receive.
You get to say, “My book was published by Big Company.”
Of course, almost no one outside of New York actually cares about that.
Have you ever looked at a book to check and see which company published it? Me neither.
Your readers don’t care who published the book. They care whether or not the book is good.
In the past, I had a couple of books published by a big company. I started self-publishing my books because it made it possible to release books I wanted to write and make a lot more money.
It’s not just me. Even Seth Godin ditched his publisher and started The Domino Project so he can have more control over his books.
5. Your online presence and knowledge give you an advantage
If you’re here reading Copyblogger, I bet you have a blog.
Or if you don’t, you’re thinking about starting one. Your blog is the beginning of the “author platform” every publisher requires (even if the publisher is you).
Today most books — whether paper or pixels — are sold online.
All the online marketing techniques you use to market your blog or digital products work for a book too. You can leverage what you already know.
A blog also gives you a way to do market research.
Chris Anderson said he wrote many parts of The Long Tail based on comments from his blog.
6. You need to spend time and money on your book
As noted above, publishing is a business.
If you opt to try and get a traditional book publishing deal, it will take time to find an agent, write a proposal, and send out queries.
If you opt to publish yourself, you’ll need to pay for editorial services, ISBNs, and designers.
You need to accept that these investments are part of the business of your book.
7. You will feel resistance at many points during the publishing process
Every writer experiences some level of anxiety about putting a book “out there.”
In his book, The War of Art, author Steven Pressfield talks about the concept of “resistance.” Often authors struggle to get a book out the door.
I’ve written 12 books and worried about each one.
As a bit of an introvert, I worry about putting too much of myself out there on public display or worse, being completely ignored.
The secret is to know that resistance happens; it’s part of the process.
So what’s stopping you?
As a good content marketer, you’re probably churning out articles, blog posts, and ebooks.
So, why not publish a real print book too?
It worked out nicely for Seth and Paris, after all. There’s no reason it can’t work for you.
A book is your legacy.
Why haven’t you written it yet? If you’re stuck, what stopped you? Tell me about it in the comments.