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Coach’s Diary: The Write Way to Boost Your Credibility


Olivia Stefanino advises a client to get into print.

Being successful in business – especially in the consultancy business – is far easier if you can find a way to set yourself apart from the crowd. One of the fastest ways to do this is to write a book – as Paul was to discover…

Formerly an officer in Marines, Paul had been enjoying a second career in the personal development industry. While he’d been enjoying moderate success, he now felt ready to push himself further – which is how he came to be sitting in my office on a rainy Thursday afternoon.

Asking what he needed to do to give his career a boost, I suggested that he consider writing a book. “When you’re the author of a book, you’re automatically perceived as an ‘authority’ – which means that not only does your credibility go up, but so can your prices.”

Paul had immediately looked interested – not least because English had been his favourite subject at school.

First of all, I explained, Paul needed to decide whether he wanted to publish for credibility – or for profit. Taking his raised eyebrow as a sign that he wanted me to clarify the difference, I said that getting into print nowadays was a fairly straight forward proposition as there are so many self-publishing companies aroud.

“With new technology, you can even get your book printed on demand, which means that you don’t have to risk your house on getting thousands of books printed in one go. Do you have any idea how ‘big’ 3,000 books is?” I asked. Laughing, he shook his head.

I continued: Self-publishing is probably the best route if you want to maximise the amount of money you earn for each book sold. For example, as an author with an established publishing house, you’re likely to earn in the region of a 10% royalty for every book sold. With self-publishing, you can pocket as much as 60%, which means that you can easily double or treble your earnings through back-of-the-room sales every time you give a talk or seminar.”

“So, why wouldn’t I want to go down the self-publishing route?” Paul asked.

“Well,” I replied, “if you’re taken on by an established publisher, you instantly gain credibility. Someone else has chosen your book from thousands of hopefuls and believes that it’s worth taking a gamble on – and even paying you an advance. That gives you a lot of kudos.

“And if your book is taken on by a 'proper' publisher, you’ll also get a lot of help with distribution, promotion and sales. And if you’re lucky, your publisher will even manage to sell the translation rights too! Now, you could of course do this yourself – but would you seriously know where to begin?”

Paul admitted that he’d rather go the traditional route – so after he’d outlined his thoughts about the editorial treatment he’d give the book, we spent some time considering how he could best put together a winning proposal.

“When you’re writing a proposal for a book publisher, it’s similar to writing good copy for a new product. Above all, you need to show how your book in particular will appeal to your target audience – and what most budding writers don’t realise is that publishing houses also want to know what you can do to help them promote your book. Think of your book as a product and that you’re going into a joint business venture with the publisher!”

As our session was coming to a close, Paul knew that he had a lot of work ahead of him. Realising that there was far more to it than simply writing the book itself seemed to have given him an even stronger challenge – and judging by the glint in his eye, he had the dedication and determination it would require to become an author.

* Olivia Stefanino is a leadership development consultant and executive coach, who works with blue chip organisations, SMEs and individuals. Download your free e-booklet “128 ways to harness your personal power” at


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