Donna Satchell, an Atlanta-based speaker, writer and trainer, knew from the start, after leaving her corporate position at Clairol, that as a trainer she had to develop a marketing strategy that would work for her. Whether it worked for others was not a concern of hers – she was out to build her own business, not anyone else’s.
Writing and publishing became important tools right off the bat. In the past six years, she has co-authored seven books, in addition to numerous articles, which she has used effectively to build a business that has made her a popular speaker and trainer and routinely takes her around the country, interacting with diverse audiences, many consisting of employed women who dream of someday owning businesses of their own.
Donna’s initial decision to publish led her to join with others to self-publish books in her areas of focus: leadership, time management and communications. Selling books is not, however, her main motive for writing. She uses her books as door openers for her speaking and training business.
This is what Jody Gabourie (see February 28, 2010 post) had in mind when she identified “writing” as one of the three vehicles we should consider using when, as small business owners, we go out to explore new markets.
Purists will advocate against self-publishing, and I will not quibble with them, but keep your goal in sight. If it is your goal to become a well-known author, self-publishing is not the recommended tactic. But, as is the case with Donna Satchell, writings that are meant to blaze a path to one’s core business can be self-published. On blogs, they may or may not be found, but in books they are tangible evidence of a person’s expertise. And, when they sell well, they compensate for the “free speech” many consultants seek and accept.
Other examples of self-publishing women who have successfully used writing as a marketing tool include Tricia Molloy (Divine Wisdom at Work), Naomi Tickle (You Can Read a Face Like a Book, Closing the Sale, and What Makes People Tick and Why), and Jeanne A. Heinzer (Living Your Best Life Abroad).
Writing is not everyone’s favorite marketing tool. But if you have a story to tell, and if getting some titles on the market fits into your business plan, consider hiring a co-author or a ghostwriter. It’s more expensive that being a sole author, but if the potential revenue makes it attractive, it should not be overlooked.