Can Writing and Publishing a Book Generate a Vigorous PR ROI?

(If you are considering a PR vehicle with shelf life, writing and releasing a book can help spread the word on your company's activities and solidify the reputation of the

person authoring the text. In this PR News exclusive, the new Research Report "The Business Impact of Writing a Book" details the value of going this route.

Authored by three members of the team - publisher Mike Schultz, chief content officer Andrea Meacham Rosal, editor Rebecca L. Gould - and John Doerr, principal with

the Wellesley Hills Group, this excerpt focuses on the PR ROI a book can have.)

Conventional wisdom dictates: "If you are a professional services provider, write a book. You will get more clients, higher fees, and a thriving practice."

What conventional wisdom fails to tell you is that the act of writing a book is an enormous investment in blood, sweat, and, all too often, tears. Writing and publishing a book

is a time-intensive, laborious process that begins well before the actual writing of the book, and continues through the long editing, publishing, and book marketing process.

Aspiring authors may have to deal with finding agents, marketers, publishers, negotiating contracts, and, ultimately, the marketing and publicity of the book--all while keeping up

with their everyday business activities. This often leaves the professional service provider wondering, "Why bother?"

For our new study, The Business Impact of Writing a Book, we surveyed 200 professionals across industries who have themselves written a book, or books, in order to

answer that all-important question: "Is the investment in blood, sweat, and tears required to write a book worth it to my practice?"

Our conclusion: A definite and resounding "Yes!" While this report does not evaluate the merits or quality of the books the participating authors have written, common sense

tells us that to write a successful book and realize a positive impact on your practice, you must first have an audience and something worthwhile to say. The vast majority of

authors who responded to our survey did realize a significant positive impact on their business or practice as a result of publishing one book or multiple books.

However, the degree to which their book(s) benefited their practices varied widely. Not surprisingly, the decisions that the authors made before they released their books (e.g.

choice of publisher, use of an agent, investment in marketing), and what they did after they published their books (ongoing Internet marketing activities, speaking engagements, PR

campaigns, publishing additional books and articles) played critical roles in the level of benefit their practices received from putting their books out into the world.

Positive Effects

While some authors simply could not get over the pain of trying to write a book, and some were dissatisfied with publishers who didn't actively market their books, 96% of

authors reported that publishing a business book affected their practice either "Positively" (49%) or "Extremely Positively" (47%).

Of course, the more books you sell, the bigger the business impact. This may sound obvious, but those authors who self-published, who didn't use an agent, who didn't speak

often to sell their books, and who didn't hire a marketing or public relations service were, on average, less enthusiastic about the impact they experienced from publishing a

business book.

For example, authors who reported a "Strong" or "Very Strong" improvement on their ability to generate more clients as a result of their book(s) sold slightly more than twice

as many books, through median comparison, as those who reported "Some," "A Little," or "No" improvement in generating new clients.

The median number of books sold by authors who reported a "Very Strong" improvement in their ability to generate better speaking engagements as a result of their book was more

than twice the median number sold by authors who reported "Some" improvement in generating better speaking engagements.

It doesn't stop there. Our authors reported that the median indirect revenue they gained for their practices as a result of publishing their books was three times the median

direct revenue the authors received.

PR /Marketing Services and Book Agents

PR helps to move books. The authors polled for this survey who used a PR/marketing service generated median royalties of $55,000, while authors who didn't use a PR/marketing

service generated median royalties of $25,000. Even first-time authors report similar effects. First-time authors sold 12,000 copies with a book agent, compared to only 5,000

copies without one.

The Internet as a major marketing medium emerged in the survey results as well as the author comments and interviews. Survey respondents use the Internet in different ways -

industry Web sites, their own Web sites, online newsletters, blogs, etc. - to market their books, and we suspect that they'll continue to use it to strong effect. The Internet

provides new opportunities every day for selling books and intellectual capital (and services, too).

Large Publishers Rule

It may seem like you can make more money, and have more control, if you self-publish or work with a less well-known publishing house. Our survey respondents found that they

received much more benefit when they published their books with more established book publishing houses.

For example, one author said, "I got my first book published through McGraw-Hill and it was great. After that, my credibility was established and it didn't matter where I

published next." If you have a major publishing house credit to your name, it's a big benefit.

Publishers will put marketing and PR energy behind the books that they think can really soar. Unfortunately, most books, especially business books, don't have that kind of

"sweep the nation" potential.

Your publisher's efforts alone will most likely not be enough to sell as many copies of your book as you'd like. Expect that the success of your book will depend on your

marketing efforts, whether you employ third-party professional services to help you or not.

So if you're trying to decide whether or not you should write a book, in the words of one of our authors, "Do it now...what are you waiting for?"

Then, for the most benefit, read this study very carefully so you can figure out how your book(s) can be an "Extremely Positive" influence on your practice as other books have

been for 47% of our survey respondents.

Contact: Mike Schultz, [email protected].

PR Benefits of Publishing a Book
Benefit From Publishing Any Influence From


"Strong" or "Very Strong"

Influence From Publishing

Improve My Brand
Generate More Speaking Engagements
Generating More Clients
Generate More Leads
Charge Higher Fees
Generate More Desirable Client Base
Close More Deals