How to Publish a Business Book: Your Complete Guide

POSTED ON Oct 1, 2023

P.J McNulty

Written by P.J McNulty

Home > Blog > Business, Non-Fiction, Publishing > How to Publish a Business Book: Your Complete Guide

In the competitive world of business, finding a way to differentiate yourself is essential.

Publishing your own business book is a powerful way to build credibility and demonstrate expertise in your field.

By becoming an author, you go beyond merely contributing to the conversation to instead position yourself as a go-to resource and thought leader in your industry.


If you want to experience the many benefits of releasing your own book, you're in the right place.

Read on to discover a complete publication process, from start to finish.

This complete guide on how to publish a business book covers:

  1. Why should you learn how to publish a business book?
  2. How to choose the right idea for your business book
  3. How to write and structure a business book
  4. How to maximize your chances of success when finalizing your business book
  5. How to distribute a self-published business book
  6. How to promote your self-published business book
  7. How to strategically monetize your book

Let's start by exploring the reasons you should take time to publish a business book and the benefits you stand to gain by doing so.

Why should you learn how to publish a business book?

We understand that in order to justify devoting your time and other resources to creating and publishing a business book, you need to have a clear idea of the benefits you will receive in return. 

While there are many benefits to having your name on the cover of a quality book, read on to discover three that we consider to be the most appealing. 

1 – Establish your authority

In the realm of business, perception shapes reality. 

Crafting and publishing a well-articulated business book cultivates an image of authority and expertise, signaling your proficiency and depth in your field. 

This is not about inflating your professional ego; it’s about leveraging knowledge to carve out a distinctive identity in a cluttered marketplace, earning respect and acknowledgment from peers and customers alike.

This authoritative positioning is pivotal; it sways business decisions, impacts collaborations, and opens the door to opportunities. 

It transforms your voice into a magnetic force, drawing in audiences and compelling them to listen, consider, and act on your ideas.

2 – Extend your reach

In the often crowded modern business ecosystem, reach is paramount. 

By extending your reach via a book, you can increase your influence, amplify your voice, and elevate your brand above the din of the saturated marketplace.

Here are seven specific ways that self-publishing a business book can extend your reach.

1. Global accessibility: Self-publishing ensures your book’s availability to a global audience, removing geographical limitations.

2. Diverse demographics: Gain the attention of various age groups, professions, and communities.

3. Enhanced online presence: A published book amplifies your digital footprint, improving your online visibility.

4. Networking opportunities: A book opens doors to new business relationships and partnerships.

5. Media exposure: Authoring a book can attract media attention, providing free publicity.

6. Speaking engagements: Published authors are often sought after for speaking events, widening your audience.

7. Brand amplification: A book acts as a multifaceted marketing tool, enhancing your brand recognition and value.

3 – Generate additional revenue

When seeking to minimize your levels of business risk, diversification is a viable source of resilience and growth. 

A published book acts as a dynamic revenue stream, supplementing your income while bolstering your brand. 

It’s not just about the immediate sales revenue; it’s about the cascade of financial opportunities a book unleashes, from speaking engagements to consultancy roles, generating revenue streams both directly and indirectly.

The impact of a book is scalable; as you increasingly invest in strategic marketing and positioning, the snowball effect of new leads and opportunities will expand accordingly. 

By integrating the book into your broader business strategy, leveraging it as a tool for brand elevation and customer acquisition, you can maximize its revenue-generating potential, contributing to your overall financial robustness and business vitality.

Should you self-publish your business book or seek a traditional publishing deal?

In today’s world, self-publishing and traditional publishing are the two most viable routes to write and release a business book.

Let’s take a look at the major pros and cons of each path.

Pros of self-sublishing:

1. Speed to market: Direct control over timelines accelerates publication.

2. Creative control: Maintain complete artistic and editorial direction.

3. Higher royalties: Earn more per sale compared to traditional publishing routes.

4. Market flexibility: Quickly adapt to market changes and feedback.

5. Global reach: Accessibility to worldwide audiences through online platforms.

6. Niche publication: Ability to publish for smaller, specific audiences.

Cons of self-publishing:

1. Initial cost: Upfront investment in editing, design, and formatting.

2. Marketing burden: Entire promotional responsibility falls on the author.

So what about the traditional publishing route?

Pros of traditional publishing:

1. Potential advance: Some traditionally published authors receive a financial advance from their publisher, although fewer than many people imagine, and the amount is often less than people anticipate. 

2. Prestige: A traditional publishing deal still carries a level of clout that isn’t matched by self-publishing, although that’s changing as people wise up to the realities of both options.

Cons of traditional publishing:

  1. Slow speed. A lot of authors, even the biggest names, are frustrated by the large amount of time between finishing their book and getting it to market.
  2. Stifled creativity. Even though it's your name on the cover, a traditional book deal means you're far from the only person with a say on how your book is presented, marketed, and sometimes even the direction of the book itself.
  3. Lower royalties. This might sound surprising, but traditional book deals actually pay a far lower percentage royalty rate than self-publishers are able to enjoy.
  4. Lack of ownership. You don't own the rights to your book. If you want to create an audio version, offer it to a foreign market, or negotiate the rights for its adaptation, you're out of luck. The publisher holds all the power.
  5. Not a priority. Even at a really reputable traditional publisher you're just one author of many. The sad truth is they don't really care if you succeed because publishing for them is nothing more than a numbers game – publish enough authors and eventually one will break through. You'll never have a big company care as much about your book as you do.

As you can see, we feel self-publishing is the better option for multiple reasons. 

Why?

The traditional publishing path, laden with bureaucratic hurdles and elongated timelines, can seem like a perpetual waiting game, with your manuscript locked in limbo. 

In contrast, self-publishing happens on a schedule you determine, allowing for a flexible timeline you can adapt to market dynamics and changing consumer preferences.

Simply put, self-published authors have the freedom to change course at any time – traditional authors don’t.

The appeal of self-publishing is further magnified by the unprecedented levels of control and freedom it grants. 

It’s a publishing path where your creative vision remains undiluted and uncompromised, where every word and every graphic in your project is chosen and approved by you and you alone.

Unlike traditional publishing, where your work may be adjusted and altered to fit commercial concerns that aren’t aligned with your book, self-publishing preserves the integrity of your message, ensuring it remains powerful, authentic, and true.

This creative autonomy extends to every facet of the publishing process, from your book's content, to cover design to pricing. 

Opting for the independent publishing path empowers you to craft a book that is a true reflection of your vision and values, allowing you to connect with your readers on a deeper, more meaningful level. 

You get to determine your destiny and leave a legacy you truly believe in.

Would you really sacrifice that for some outdated notion of prestige offered by traditional publishers?

If not, then read on to delve deeper into the power of independent publishing and how it can benefit you.

Section 2 – How to choose the right idea for your business book

Although there’s a lot more to experiencing success as a business author than coming up with a great book idea, you stand almost no chance without one. 

Here are three proven techniques to find the right idea to underpin your business book.

1 – Market research

Before diving into the writing process blindly, thorough market research is the best method of guiding your efforts in the right direction, aligning your future book with market demand and reader pain points.

Effective market research allows you to understand the publishing landscape, identify opportunities, and position your book accordingly.

But where should you focus your market research to give your book the best chance of success?

1. Niche identification: Define the specific segment of the market your book will cater to.

2. Competitor analysis: Study existing books and identify unmet needs or underrepresented perspectives.

3. Audience surveys: Use polls and surveys to understand your audience’s preferences and pain points.

4. Market trend data: Keep abreast of emerging trends and shifts in your industry.

5. Demand evaluation: Assess the market demand for the topics you intend to cover.

6. Keyword research: Leverage SEO tools to find high-ranking keywords related to your subject.

7. Strategic pricing analysis: Examine pricing structures of similar books in your niche.

By carefully carrying out relevant marketing activities such as the above, you can make an informed decision on the book idea that is closest to both your business objectives and the needs of the market. 

2 – Unique selling proposition

In a market saturated with voices and choices, having a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for your book is not just important — it’s non-negotiable. 

It’s about crystallizing what makes your book different, what makes it stand out, and why potential buyers should choose it over other options.

Your USP is your signature, your statement of intent and value, influencing every aspect of your book, from writing to marketing. 

By defining and articulating your USP effectively, you create a compelling reason for your audience to invest their time and money into your book.

3 – Validation

Validating your book idea is a process that aims to ensure your finished book will perform as anticipated.

There’s nothing worse than getting too caught up in what seems like a great idea, only to eventually learn the hard way it wasn’t what people were looking for.

So how can you gain confidence that your book is likely to perform well?

Try this seven-step book validation process.

Step 1 – Create a prototype

Develop a sample chapter or outline and share it with a select audience.

Step 2 – Gather feedback

Seek constructive criticism and insights from your target demographic.

Step 3 – Run social media polls

Leverage your platforms to gauge interest and gather opinions on your book idea.

Step 4 – Analyze market response

Study the reactions and feedback from your market tests.

Step 5 – Adjust based on feedback

Refine your idea according to the received insights and suggestions.

Step 6 – Test again

Re-run your validation processes until you achieve a book-market fit.

Step 7 – Finalize your book idea

Once validated, finalize your book idea and proceed with confidence.

Section 3 – How to write and structure a business book

Ready to get hands-on and turn your idea into a real, tangible book?

Here are three methods for doing precisely that.

1 – Develop a consistent writing routine

Within the craft of writing, consistency is the fuel, propelling your words from conception to completion. 

Establishing a robust, non-negotiable writing routine is crucial, transforming writing from a sporadic endeavor to a structured, focused pursuit. 

You'll find yourself creating a rhythm, a momentum that transforms your thoughts into tangible words, pages, and chapters.

The routine is not just about discipline; it’s about creating an environment conducive to creativity and productivity, minimizing distractions, and maximizing focus. 

It’s about honoring your commitment to your book and your ideas, cultivating a sense of mission and dedication. 

By adhering to a consistent routine, you ensure steady, measurable progress.

You maintain clarity and cohesion in your writing, crafting your book section by section until completion.

 2 – Strategic book outlining

Outlining is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal.

It not only eases the book writing process itself, but helps with your launch and subsequent marketing efforts.

Here’s how to outline a book the right way – 

Step 1. Define your purpose

Clearly articulate the goal and the message of your book.

Step 2. Identify your audience

Define who your book is for and what they are looking to gain from it.

Step 3. Create chapter headings

Break your book into manageable sections, each with a specific focus.

Step 4. Detail sub-topics

Under each chapter, list out the subtopics or points you intend to cover.

Step 5. Arrange logically

Order your chapters and subtopics in a logical, coherent flow.

Step 6. Allocate word count

Decide the approximate length for each chapter and subtopic.

Step 7. Review & refine

Go through your outline repeatedly, tweaking and refining until it feels solid and coherent.

Combining the outlining process described above with the writing routine creation mentioned earlier drastically increases your chances of producing a high-quality book on schedule. 

3 – Use feedback loops to create a better book

During the book creation process, feedback is an ongoing method of ensuring things are on track, allowing you to confidently move from a rough draft to a finished book ready for the world.

To get effective feedback, you must be willing to open your work to input from diverse but relevant perspectives. 

You can then use these trusted sources of feedback and absorb their insights, consider their criticisms, and evaluate their suggestions to enhance the quality and impact of the business book you are working on. 

It’s not about being automatically influenced by every opinion that comes your way — but instead being open to valuable insights that align with your vision and enrich your message.

If you automatically have a negative reaction to this level of scrutiny, try and reframe your perspective as follows.

Constructive feedback is more than a tool for improvement; it’s a method for connection and understanding, a bridge between your words and your intended audience’s preferences and needs. 

It enables you to better align your book with your readers’ expectations. This enhances both its resonance and relevance. 

By embracing feedback and integrating it effectively, you elevate your book from a solitary endeavor to a collaborative creation, refined by relevant voices and honed for maximum impact.

After all, if your ultimate aim is to create a book that your readers truly value, why would you not want their help along the way?

Section 4 – How to maximize your chances of success when finalizing your book

Much like in the world of enterprise, it’s often the small details that separate a successful book from a failure.

Here are three ways to finalize your book in the most effective way possible.

1 – How to edit and proofread a book

In the process of book creation, editing and proofreading are the ways to trim the fat and mitigate your book’s weak points while maximizing its strengths.

It’s about scrutinizing every word, every sentence, to ensure clarity, coherence, and impact, presenting your ideas in the most compelling manner possible.

So what are some practical steps you can take to edit your book effectively?

Hire a professional

A skilled editor can elevate your book, refining its structure and expression.

Review multiple times

Repeated reviews catch different errors; go through your draft several times.

Use editing software

Leverage tools like Grammarly to catch grammatical and spelling errors.

Seek peer reviews

Fresh eyes can catch mistakes and provide different insights.

Read aloud

Hearing your words can help identify awkward phrasing and rhythm issues.

Focus on structure

Ensure your book flows logically, with clear transitions between ideas.

Refine your style and tone

Maintain a consistent voice throughout your book, refining for clarity and impact.

2 – How to format and design a successful business book

A well-designed and meticulously formatted book is a finished product to convey your ideas to your intended audience. 

It’s essential to create a visually appealing, readable book that enhances the reader’s experience and complements your content, matching the quality of your written ideas with the package they are presented in.

Here are five essential elements of a high-quality book readers will love.

1 – Professional cover design: 

A compelling book cover is crucial; invest in professional design services.

2 – Suitable typography: 

Choose fonts that are easy to read and aesthetically pleasing.

3 – Consistent layout: 

Maintain uniform margins, spacing, and headings throughout your book.

4 – High-resolution images: 

Use sharp, clear images to enhance your content.

5 – Format for different platforms: 

Ensure your book is adaptable to various reading devices and platforms.

3 – How to evaluate your book printing plan

In the world of self-publishing, printing options are a way to reach people outside of the ebook space. 

By reaching people who will only buy your book if a physical copy is available, you stand to gain more revenue, leads, and influence — whatever your main objective happens to be. 

So how should you go about evaluating your book printing options?

Ask yourself the following four questions:

  1. Would I prefer to print on demand, or have a batch of my books?
  2. What print quality do I need to meet my reader’s expectations and equal or exceed the quality of competing books?
  3. How do the available printing options align with my distribution strategy?
  4. What are the financial implications of my approach to book printing in terms of my project budget and desired profitability? 

Whether opting for Print on Demand (POD) or a batch print run, each option has its merits and considerations, impacting your inventory, investment, and pricing strategy.

Everyone reading this guide will have a different objective for their book, not to mention a unique budget. 

So rather than make a clumsy, one size fits all recommendation for book printing, we’d rather give you the questions you need to make the right choice for your unique situation. 

Section 5 – How to distribute a self-published business book

Achieving the milestone of a finalized book is a huge deal and one which should be celebrated. 

However, it’s far from the end of the process.

For your book to have the impact and influence you desire, you need to be intentional about your approach to distribution.

Read on to discover three essential elements of book distribution.

1 – The right book sales platform

Selecting the right publishing platform is an important part of getting it in front of your intended audience.

Here are some of the major book publishing platforms to consider.

1. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

2. Barnes & Noble Press

3. Apple Books

4. Kobo Writing Life

5. Draft2Digital

6. Smashwords

7. Lulu

8. BookBaby

9. IngramSpark

10. Blurb

12. Scribd

13. Wattpad

Again, there’s no universal answer.

You might decide it’s easiest to simply sell on Amazon, confident they have the widest reach.

Or you might prefer to upload your book to multiple platforms, having decided that their increased reach justified the extra logistics and admin.

However you get there, make a decision that is logical for your aims, objectives, and resources, and don’t be afraid to pivot if you eventually determine a better approach exists.

2 – Library and small bookstore placement

For self-published authors, small retailers and libraries are potentially valuable channels, expanding your book’s reach and accessibility. 

These avenues are not just about sales; they are about building relationships, creating a presence in local communities, and establishing your book in the public consciousness.

Navigating the retailer and library landscapes requires strategy, persistence, and adaptability.

It’s about understanding the dynamics of each platform, tailoring your approach to maximize your book’s appeal and penetration. 

By strategically positioning your book in these places, you could enhance its exposure, credibility, and market traction, fostering connections with readers and cultivating a diverse, engaged readership.

Then again, you might find the effort needed to get your book into libraries and small stores isn’t justified by the anticipated return you’d receive.

Evaluate your options carefully and make a rational choice for your book. 

3 – A plan for digital distribution

The digital world is full of opportunities, featuring numerous platforms and channels that help expose your book to the world.

Here are seven ways to leverage the world of digital distribution to get your book in front of more people. 

1. Prepare for diverse digital formats 

Never make the mistake of only having your book prepared in a limited number of formats. Ideally, you want master copies that can be converted into a wide range of file types. 

You should also keep ‘ready to go’ versions of your book in popular digital formats should you need them at short notice.

2. Use aggregator services

Platforms like Smashwords or Draft2Digital can distribute your book to multiple retailers. Just weigh up any costs and consider whether multiple retailers is the right model for your book.

3. Social media excitement

Utilize platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and X to promote your book.

4. Create a website or landing page

A dedicated online home for your book can enhance its visibility and credibility. It also ensures you aren’t at the mercy of a third-party service removing your book on a whim. 

5. Utilize email marketing

Leverage your mailing list to promote your book and engage with your readers.

6. Engage with online communities

Participate in forums, discussion groups, and other online communities related to your book’s genre or subject.

7. Offer promotional deals

Use discounts, giveaways, and other promotional strategies to boost your book’s visibility and sales.

Section 6 – How to promote your self-published business book

At this point in the process, you not only have a high-quality business book to share with the world, but an approach to distribution that enables people to buy it. 

The next step is to increase awareness and interest in your book.

You can do that by pursuing any or all of these proven marketing pathways.

1 – Build anticipation for your book

Creating a buzz before your book hits the shelves is about building anticipation and a sense of excitement among your audience. 

This leads to a far superior launch performance, granting your book the momentum it needs to be a long-term hit.

Here are seven ways to ensure your book is hotly anticipated.

1. Tease your audience: Share snippets, quotes, or behind-the-scenes content periodically.

2. Release a trailer: Create a compelling video trailer to spark interest.

3. Host a pre-launch webinar: Engage with your audience, discuss your book’s value, and answer questions.

4. Leverage email marketing: Send exclusive previews or offers to your mailing list.

5. Create a landing page: Dedicate a space for book teasers, launch date, and other relevant information.

6. Utilize countdown timers: Build excitement with a visible countdown to your book’s release.

7. Run early-bird promotions: Offer exclusive deals or bonuses to those who pre-order your book.

Take the time to evaluate which methods are most likely to move the needle for your book. If in doubt, look to competitors. 

Try to strike a balance between too little activity and spreading yourself too thin. It’s better to focus on a couple of activities and go all in on them to get the best results. 

2 – Promote your book on social media 

In the digital age, social media is your megaphone, amplifying your message to the masses, converting followers into readers. 

You need to craft engaging, value-driven content, fostering interaction and connection with your audience. 

The power of social media is not just in its reach but in its ability to create communities and turn your book into a shared experience.

Creating a robust social media presence is more than just random posts; it’s a calculated effort requiring consistency, quality, and engagement. 

You need to understand the nuances of each platform, and tailor your content to resonate with that platform’s users in particular, while maintaining a steady, dynamic flow of interaction. 

Social media is one of the best ways to create a diehard group of readers that eventually become your most dedicated fans.  

3 – Leverage your network to promote your book

In the field of book promotion, networking and partnerships are the bridges connecting you to new audiences and untapped markets. 

This approach focused on forging alliances and creating win/win synergies that amplify your book’s visibility and reach.

So what practical steps should you take?

1. Attend industry events

Network with professionals, authors, and influencers in your niche at relevant conferences.

2. Collaborate with influencers

Leverage their reach to promote your book to a wider audience.

3. Build relationships with bloggers

Guest posts or features can drive traffic to your book.

4. Partner with other authors

Cross-promotions can be mutually beneficial.

5. Engage with book clubs: 

Presenting your book to clubs can spike interest and discussions.

6. Leverage local businesses: 

Collaborate with local stores or cafes for promotional events or displays.

7. Connect with podcasts: 

Appearances on podcasts can boost your book’s exposure and credibility.

Section 7 – How to strategically monetize your book

Whether or not revenue is the primary objective for publishing your book, it isn’t something you can afford to overlook. 

Here are three ways to increase the revenue generated by your book and align its monetization strategy with your wider business objectives. 

1 – How to find a strategic price point for your book

The art of pricing is a strategic calculation, a balance between perceived value and accessibility. 

It’s about setting a price point that reflects your book’s worth, attracts your target audience, and optimizes your revenue. 

The right pricing strategy is not just about numbers; it’s a statement of value, a psychological trigger influencing perception and purchase decisions.

In crafting your pricing strategy, market research is your guide. Focus on researching competitive pricing, audience willingness to pay, and optimal price points. 

It’s about understanding the financial dynamics of your niche, analyzing the pricing landscape, and positioning your book effectively within it. 

By aligning your pricing with market realities and your book’s value proposition, you optimize your sales potential, profitability, and market competitiveness.

2 – How to upsell and cross-sell via your book

Mastering the art of upselling and cross-selling is about maximizing the value of every reader who buys your book.

If possible, sell additional, complementary offerings that enhance your reader’s experience and value perception.

Here are five possible avenues to get more value from each book reader you attract.

1. Bundle offers

Package your book with related products or services.

2. Exclusive content

Offer additional, premium content at a higher price point.

3. Webinars and workshops

Provide deeper insights or learning opportunities related to your book’s content.

4. Consultation services

Offer your expertise and advice for an additional fee.

5. Subscription services

Create a membership or subscription service offering exclusive content, insights, or benefits.

3 – How to land speaking gigs and run workshops based on your book

Transforming your book into a platform for speaking engagements and workshops is a process of leveraging your expertise. 

This allows you to extend your book’s value proposition into interactive, experiential learning opportunities. 

Speaking engagements and workshops elevate your book’s value, influence, and reach. 

They also position you as a thought leader and your book as a credible source of insight and inspiration.

Are you ready to publish a business book?

You now have everything you need to successfully publish a business book; now it’s time to embark on your journey. 

Publishing your a book is not just about sharing your knowledge; it’s about creating impact, influencing minds, and leaving a lasting legacy. 

Don’t just let your ideas simmer in your mind; give them a viable and sustainable way to reach the world. If you're still feeling unsure about where to begin crafting your own business narrative, explore how these successful authors have structured their arguments and ignited their readers' imaginations:

Use the strategies, tips, insights, and examples provided here to navigate through the publishing process with confidence, and get ready for the incredible ripple effect your book will have on the world around you.


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