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Publishing can do more harm than good

Company owners should think twice about publishing a book as it can prove to be detrimental to their business, according to Sue Richardson.

Many company chiefs view putting pen to paper as a way of building credibility for their brand as well as bolstering the profile and visibility of their business. However, Sue Richardson, managing director of SRA Books, says there are five common mistakes that published authors make that can damage their business.

The first is the absence of a clear publishing strategy. Individuals should consider what they wish to achieve by writing the book, how it would affect their business, and how much to spend on the project to produce a professional result.

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Other key considerations include the best publishing route to take: traditional, independent or self-publish, the sales and marketing approach, and how to achieve a return on the investment in the project.

There is a misconception that self-publishing is a cheap, and therefore favourable option, according to Ms Richardson. “Most self-publishers, by definition, are not professional publishers so do not have the knowledge, skills or expertise required to compete with traditionally published books,” she said. This is the third mistake.

“I’ve lost count of how many disappointed authors have told me that they self-published, spent much more money than they had anticipated and still did not end up with a book that did what they wanted it to do.”

The fourth mistake is having a poor cover and title. Titles should say, in a nutshell, what the book is going to do for its reader. The title and subtitle are crucially important in the marketing for non-fiction books. They should gauge the reader’s interest and ultimately entice them to purchase the book.

Not using professional editors and proofreaders is the fifth mistake, according to Ms Richardson.

She said: “Be mindful of your reputation – if you produce a sloppily written book, it may come back to bite you. Using professionals to help you get it right will pay you back many times over. Working with someone whose job it is to know what is and isn’t correct takes the headache out of all of those uncertainties.

“Don’t expect to know it all, but pay for and expect a professional to guide you. That way you will be sure to produce a book that will be read, understood and, with any luck, acted upon.”

Adviser view

Ian Brown, director and chartered financial planner at Swansea-based Cosgrove Brown Financial Planning, said: “If a book is badly written, it is obviously going to go against you. It goes without saying that people should carefully source their facts and information, or just leave it to the professionals.”

Mr Brown added: “I do not personally know any financial advisers who have written a book. I’m guessing that the reason for this is because we are all simply too busy to take the time out of our day to pen a novel.”