The business of business books … for the author.

Punch line: “Books aren’t designed for you, the customer. Today, non-fiction books are business cards–for speaking, consulting, and deals.”

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Excerpted from Fast Company

Books are no longer simply books, they are branding devices and credibility signals — not to mention the reason their authors command large speaking or consulting fees.

“Books aren’t designed for you, the customer. Today, non-fiction books are business cards–for speaking, consulting, and deals.”

Faced with declining sales and the disappearance of book retailers like Borders, authors have diversified their income streams, and many make substantially more money through new business generated by a book, rather than from it.

Today, authors are in the idea-making business, not the book business.

In short, this means that publishing a book is less about sales and much more about creating a brand.

The real customers of books are no longer just readers but now include speaking agents, CEOs, investors, and startups.

One author: “I’ve been successful in the speaking market, which is much more lucrative than writing.”

Conferences look to authors with interesting ideas to spice up their events.

“We love to invite writers because they are born storytellers … you get a great show.”

* * * * *
Factoids

A figure commonly thrown around in publishing is that close to half of all books are ghostwritten.

If that seems high to you, consider that a recent survey found that 42% of academic medical papers are ghostwritten.

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