The BS-Free Guide to Writing a Business Book (now with more bacon)

how to write a business bookIf I could give you a few tips that guaranteed that you’d be able to write a best-selling business book, would you keep reading?

Jesus, I hope not. Not only would I be full of shit, but follow me and let me show you my Tony Little Gazelle and how it helped me lose 83 pounds. I also hope you’d unsubscribe.

So…trying to figure out how to write a business book? You and a gazillion other people. I wish I’d written THIS book.

What pisses me off (and saddens me) is that people look at the process of writing a business book as an instant ticket to fame and riches. Even moreso, they think that their job ends when the last word goes on the last page.

Lemme tell ya — all that’s bullpucky.

Writing a business book will, however, guarantee you a few things:

  • Spending money you never budgeted
  • Frustration
  • Late-night sadness spent in the company of shitty sheet cake and diet cola, stroking your hairless cat like a reject from the cast of extras from an Austin Powers flick.

That is, if you don’t know what to expect when you go into the process.

And sure — self-publishing is on the rise. I’m not talking about self-publishing. I’m not qualified to. What I’m talking about is getting your business book idea heard, picked up for publication by a traditional publisher, and working FOR you long after it hits the shelves.

YOUR job is to write a business book that doesn’t suck. But your job is also to look at the book writing process like you’re launching a new business. Because you are.

In my latest column over on American Express OPEN Forum, I tackled the issue of writing a business book head-on. Combining my experiences with the traditional publishing process with my two books, I went out and got insights from my literary agent, 2 different publishers, and a book publicist.

These are all people who get paid when your book sells. Their motivation? Long-term relationships and earning a living doing what they love.

Just like you.

Now, you can hop over and read How to Publish a Business Book: The Essential Guide now, or you can read on for a few additional tips.

You want the tips, eh? I thought you might.

I started a series called The Road to Publication. I will continue it, but if you’re new to the site, here are the pieces I’ve written about getting my books published this far:

The Road to Publication: The Nonfiction Book Proposal

The Road to Publication: The Query Letter

Next, if you have a book out there in the ether or soon expect to, don’t miss out on a critical marketing opportunity like I did last year. When you book speaking engagements, no matter how small, make your book a part of the deal. I don’t care if it’s 10 copies that you bring along with you or it’s 500 copies purchased by the conference — make the book part of the deal. Carry a Square reader with you and sell, sell, sell. When I travel to speaking engagements and I’m able to sell books, I order mine from Amazon and drop ship direct to my hotel. Amazon Prime means free shipping. Mmmmhmmm.

And get a partner. I love the guys over at 800CEOread. They’re fantastic for processing bulk orders for speaking engagements (Amazon IS NOT) and can arrange to keep signed copies on-hand. They’ll work with authors if you have multiple events coming up to bundle your orders for more favorable pricing to your clients, too. Nothing bad about that at all.

Since we’re on the topic of bestseller lists, change your thinking on those. My book was #1 on Amazon in Marketing books for a few days after release. WOO HOO! I HAVE A BESTSELLER! You can BUY the New York Times Bestseller list — there are services that will do that for you (hope you got an advance north of $50,000). I’m not full of shit. The Wall Street Journal wrote about it. See if you recognize some of those “bestselling” titles.

Finally — if you get an advance, DO NOT TOUCH THAT MONEY. That is the marketing budget for your book. Sure, you can pull a Sheen and spend it on hookers and blow. I just wish someone had told me this with my two books. It would have helped a lot more than paying off some bills. When you get the check, put it in a time-lock CD that matures 3 months prior to your book hitting the shelves.

Now, hop on over and read How to Publish a Business Book: The Essential Guide on American Express OPEN Forum. And if you have questions about the process of writing a business book, ask me. I’m happy to help in any way I can. You can also leave a comment on the article on OPEN Forum.

Or instead of reading the article, you could buy my book 🙂


Jen Havice
Jen Havice

Most people don't realize that just because a book has been picked up by a publisher doesn't mean that the publisher will actually promote the book. It's up to the author to not only pay for it but do all the work. This has ushered in the rise of self-publishing. Either way, it's really hard work.

Andrea T.H.W.
Andrea T.H.W.

You can pull a Sheen? :D, that's fabulous. And clearly exemplifies the concept making it to stick like a nail on a wall. Not touching that money is definitely right and your use of Amazon for books doing speeches wise.

Very interesting article.

Happy Easter!


What a novel idea Erika "DO NOT TOUCH THAT MONEY".

Congratulations on your book - The Power of UN-Popular - Theresa