Writing Your First Business Book – 5 Tips for a Better Product (And Higher Sales)

The phrase, “writing a book,” is more than enough to trigger existential horror in vast swathes of the population. Many people, no matter how successful or productive in other endeavors, simply cannot imagine themselves writing a book. To them, it seems like a herculean task.

To others, of course, writing books comes as easily as running an errand. It’s what they do.

On what side of the book-writing divide do you fall? And, if you currently live in the first camp, is there any hope for your literary aspirations?

There is. Above all else, you must write about what you know — everyone that follows will be easier. Business books sell particularly well, so for our purposes we’ll assume that “what you know” has a business case. 

Then, implement these tips for better, more lucrative business writing. Like writing itself, they’re not as difficult as they sound.

1. Focus on Your Audience First

All writers need an audience. If you’re planning to self-publish, you don’t need to worry as much about hitting specific audience metrics before putting pen to paper, although these self-publishing tips from expert Jeff Goins will help you maximize your potential readership. If you’re angling for a publishing deal, you’ll need to demonstrate your reach: social media follower and engagement stats, website traffic, prior sales (if any).

2. Sell Your Book on Amazon

You’ll sacrifice some margin, but the extra exposure will be worthwhile, and not just in terms of sales. An Amazon author page does wonders for your search visibility and overall online credibility. You need only one Amazon-listed book to earn your author page, as this Amazon author page for entrepreneur Kris Duggan shows.

3. Set a Strict Writing Schedule

If you can’t afford to write as a full-time job, carve out time outside regular business hours to work through your manuscript. An hour per day goes a long way when you work efficiently.

4. Transcribe Your First Draft

This controversial tip is not for every aspiring business writer. If you find it easy to translate your thoughts to prose without prompting, and have found that you can produce a workable finished product after no more than two drafts, transcribing your first draft from lengthy audio notes could cause more trouble than it saves.

On the other hand, if you’re a naturally slow writer or struggle to self-edit, working off a spoken manuscript is the way to go. You’ll save yourself a great deal of editing and may end up producing a clearer, more concise finished product. 

5. Optimize Your Title, Subtitle, and Jacket Description for Search

People really do judge books by their covers, especially in a post-digital world. Your book’s title, subtitle, and jacket description (which will appear in digital listings, naturally) need to communicate your product’s value not only to human readers themselves, but to the search algorithms they rely on to find digital content. Use Google Keyword Planner to find high-interest search terms related to your topic. Word your copy accordingly.

The Gift That Keeps Giving?

A successful business volume could very well be the gift that keeps giving for your career, reputation, and finances. Your book won’t live on the bestseller lists forever, and sales will eventually tail off, but you’ll always have it — and the next one will surely come more easily.

Adam Hansen