By Bobette Kyle
We’ve all seen books authored by high-profile business leaders and other professionals. We know authoring a book creates or enhances the aura of prestige surrounding such people. But do we really understand how writing and marketing books can help build a business or career?
Ron Kaufman knows. He has built a business around customer service training and motivation, including two book series. Ron has generously agreed to share his thoughts and experience with us.
Bobette: Thank you for the interview, Ron.
Ron: My pleasure! Let’s get started.
Bobette: By my count you have 14 books in the two series. That is quite an accomplishment! What motivates you to keep writing?
Ron: As a consulting professional I speak, teach, write newsletters and articles, and facilitate educational events. Writing books is a natural “next step” to put the experience I have gained over the years into written form.
Book writing also forces me to consolidate and organize my thinking into a coherent body of knowledge. The rigor required to organize each chapter and articulate each page has improved my own thinking, and my ability to serve my clients.
Bobette: Has writing and publishing resulted in an increase in demand for your professional services? In what ways?
Ron: Writing and publishing absolutely increase your credibility. After all, “author” is the foundation of “authority” — when you write (and write well) people take you more seriously.
Also, I now insist that each person in my corporate audiences receive their own copy of at least one of my 14 books. This adds value to the participants — they can “take home” and study my writing after the program. But this also increases the number of very influential “Ron Kaufman business cards” out there in the market — books!
Bobette: The books also create a marketing synergy that works both ways — your books gain you consulting business and the consulting business increases book sales?
Ron: Yes. Books and live sessions support each other towards the common objectives of learning, improvement and commitment. Attending a session allows for interaction with the instructor and colleagues while reading the book gives more time to reflect and consider each of the key learning points.
Bobette: The books and live sessions “feed” off each other to accelerate your business growth. Are there other cross-marketing tips you can share with us?
Ron: Gladly. My free e-mail newsletter keeps me “top of mind” for decision makers around the world. And every issue has plenty of links taking readers into the website where they will find lots of added value. All my books include references to other books, and to the website. On stage I refer to my books and even read small sections to highlight key points.
One guaranteed way to get people’s attention is to give them something free. So I created two special “free gifts” which are now circling the globe as a viral gift, from person to person to person….and back to me.
Bobette: I noticed that in some cases you will customize a book cover and certain pages for an organization. How is this advantageous to marketing your business?
Ron: When you allow a customer to customize for their specific needs, they value your content even more. And they remember where they got it! One unexpected benefit is when someone leaves an organization and brings some of their books and contents along. If your book travels with them, they can introduce you to the new place of work….one step closer to another new client.
Bobette: Another area nonfiction authors often agonize over is whether to approach a traditional, established publisher or publish through their own company. Personally, I like the freedom and control enjoyed through self-publishing. What are your thoughts?
Ron: Self-publishing gives you the freedom and control. It also gives you a tremendous financial advantage. A book in print costs about $2-3 per copy (after the initial editorial and production costs.) When you GIVE a book to a client, it’s worth a LOT more in their eyes — it’s the most credible business card/brochure you can imagine. They NEVER throw it away, and if you sign it for them, it’s a treasure.
Now imagine selling your book in volume to your client — 100 people in the room, everyone receives a copy of your book. Of course you sell the book to your corporate client at a handsome discount of 40 or 50% (which they consider a great investment), but the book only cost you a few dollars to print. See the economics? Over years and years (and books do last that long!) the financial benefits for the speaker/author are tremendous.
The publicity benefits are endless, too, because EVERY COPY of your book takes on a life of its own — passed around, loaned to others, moved from office to office. You never know when someone will see your book, go to your Website and call or write to you for an engagement. But the more you put out there, the more often it will definitely happen.
Bobette: Many people forget that price is part of marketing. Can you share some insight about pricing informational nonfiction books?
Ron: Pricing depends on how you want to position your book. If you do heavy research and publish an annual guide or directory you can charge a lot — and deserve it. If you publish a booklet of simple tips, you may want to charge very low price — and encourage companies to buy from you in volume. I like my books to be accessible, so I choose a reasonable price, and then offer substantial discounts for my clients when they buy a copy for everyone in the company — which they very often do.
Bobette: Are there any other words of wisdom you would like to leave us with?
Ron: Two final points:
1) There is something called “the page experience” that authors must reckon with today. The days of simply words on page are over. Readers want images, graphs, charts, illustrations, photographs, cartoons, interesting layouts, etc. Authors should spend time in the bookstore studying the covers of other books (of course), but also the interior designs. Find several that you like and then study them carefully: how does the design add value to the reader? what elements of design do you find most useful or attractive? how can adding design elements to your book improve the reader’s “page experience”?
2) I have a personal phrase, which reads like this: “I love writing, I hate to write.” What that means is the joy of writing is in the writing. The agony of writing is in knowing that you need to write, but you haven’t gotten started. The hard part is getting to the keyboard. The fun part is in bringing out the words.
Bobette: Thank you so much, Ron, for taking the time today to share your expertise!
Ron: My pleasure! To all aspiring writers, speakers, trainers, coaches and consultants everywhere — you have my encouragement for your efforts, admiration for your passion and respect for your commitment to serving others. Keep it UP!
Bobette Kyle draws upon 15+ years of Marketing/Executive experience, online marketing experience, and a marketing MBA as inspiration for her writing. Bobette is proprietor of the Web Site Marketing Plan Network ( http://www.WebSiteMarketingPlan.com) — to which she recently added a nonfiction book marketing section ( http://www.websitemarketingplan.com/book ). She is also author of the marketing plan and Web promotion book “How Much For Just the Spider? Strategic Website Marketing For Small Budget Business.”
Ron Kaufman is an internationally acclaimed educator and motivator for building superior service culture and delivering quality customer service. He is author of the bestselling series ‘UP Your Service!’ and founder of UP Your Service! College (http://www.UpYourServiceCollege.com).