I always encourage speakers to publish a book, whether it’s to approach a commercial publishing house with their non-fiction book proposal or to self-publish. Either way, having a book is an essential component for your speaking business. It establishes you as an expert, gives you a product you can sell at events and most importantly, it establishes copyright on your methodology.

To Publish or Self Publish?

Choosing whether to pursue a publishing deal or to self-publish requires careful consideration of your marketing plan, your current platform, and your goals. In general, if you’re just getting started as a speaker and you don’t have thousands of people following you on Twitter or your own television show, you’ll want to consider self-publishing.

It is so much easier now to have your work professionally printed, marketed, and distributed using self-publishing services. They use a process called Print-On-Demand (POD) publishing which allows books to be quickly printed and shipped as they’re ordered. Just remember: not all companies are created equal.

There are a wide range of services that are offered by the companies including ghostwriting, editing, book covers, photos, marketing, distribution, and your favorite, royalties. They all have different fee structures. I highly recommend that you do your research and find the right fit for you. Ask to interview a few of their authors about their experience BEFORE you sign any contracts and make sure you read the fine print.


The Non-Fiction Proposal

If however, you know for certain that you want to pursue a commercial publishing advance, it’s best to begin with a non-fiction book proposal rather than writing your book in its entirety.

If you’ve completed all of the exercises in The Message Of You or you have a finished speech, you basically have all the raw materials you need to create a non-fiction proposal. What you may not have is the time to transform those pages into a sellable proposal.

A book proposal is a big project that includes more than a few chapters of your writing and your headshot. You must put together a package that includes your bio, the market trends related to your book, your current platform, your promotional plans, a competitive title analysis, three sample chapters and if possible, advance praise for a book that isn’t even written yet!

That’s where a ghostwriter can come in. A good ghostwriter can take the material you’ve already created and shape it into a finished proposal. It’s very important you find a ghostwriter who can mimic your diction, tone, cadence, and sense of humor. When an audience member buys your book, it’s because they want to hear your voice over and over again. They want to share your message with their friends and family. Your voice MUST come across on the page.

If you’re still not sure whether you should self-publish or pursue a commercial publishing contract, you can schedule a consultation with our publishing experts, SJ Hodges and Vanessa Mickan.