The path to business success is often one of personal change.
Jacqui Pretty, the founder of The Grammar Factory, did not set out to start a business offering an editing service. Pretty planned to start a copywriting company. There was just one problem with that idea: she quickly discovered she hated copywriting. Despite her background in the publishing sector, she found writing draining.
“What I found difficult was constantly producing new content,” Pretty says. “I could do that on a short term basis, but it was creatively draining to do that constantly. I didn’t want that to be my business.”
Discovering a new love
Fortunately, fate intervened. Pretty had joined a 40-week branding program called ‘Key Person of Influence’. As part of her course, she had to write a book, as did her fellows. As soon as discovered her publishing background, they turned to Pretty to help edit their books.
Pretty discovered a love for editing she didn’t know she had. “As we edit, we do a lot of writing, shuffling and cutting, but there is something to get you started. We are not creating new ideas from scratch; the knowledge is there. What we do is change the way it is presented. I love seeing the transformation from the first draft to the published product.”
Why write a book
Pretty’s clients are established entrepreneurs, with revenue in the high five or six figures. “Business is steady but it isn’t providing the lifestyle,” she says. “They are trading time for money, competing on price, and no one knows who they are and why they should work with them.”
Two problems lead to this kind of plateau for entrepreneurs: firstly, they are seen as commodities. Their market is not clear on the key differentiating factors that would allow them to charge higher rates than others in their field. The second issue is that they lack an audience, “One of the mistakes made by marketing and branding providers is that marketing makes the difference. It doesn’t. It is about audience. Even differentiating doesn’t work if no one knows about you.”
Publishing a book has cache. The author is instantly differentiated and established as an expert, says Pretty. Clients immediately understand why they should work with you and pay a higher rate.
Becoming differentiated leads to speaking engagements and media opportunities and to relationships with strategic partners. Now the entrepreneur is no longer building their own list, they are getting in front of other people’s audiences. Now they can start to charge more, and pick and choose the work they do. “It doesn’t matter if you say no to low priced work.”
The self-publishing sweet spot
In the past, self-publishing was seen as a vanity (it was called vanity publishing). Once self-published, authors were struck off the traditional publishers’ prospect list.
That has shifted. Traditional publishers regularly pick up authors who have self-published. Readers usually cannot distinguish between self-published and traditionally published work. Amazon sells books from all sources. “I think we are at a sweet spot, there has never been a better time,” Pretty says. “Self-publishing authors today have all the same resources that traditional publishers have, unlike 10 to 15 years ago.”
Pretty compares the trend to the emergence of websites. Ten years ago, a website was not seen as essential. Today, it is. “And not just having a website, a good one. I can see publishing going the same way,” Pretty says.
What makes a good book
Not every good book is successful. In fact, sometimes bad books are successful books. But Pretty offers three tips for making a great business book that is successful.
- Choose the right idea. If authors start with the ‘wrong’ idea, the rest of the process is difficult. By wrong, Pretty means that the author doesn’t have the knowledge, isn’t interested in the topic and hasn’t tested the market to see if the book will deliver a return on investment.
- Professional production. The book you hand out should look like a premium book, with a great cover, high-quality paper, excellent content, well edited and structured logically, easy to navigate and with no large gaps in the information.
- Supported by a marketing plan. Great books that don’t get in front of the market don’t achieve success. Have a plan for when the book comes out. Which influencers do you want to be reading and talking about it?
Why The Grammar Factory and I are not rivals (exactly)
Many of you are aware of my mentoring program: Step-by-Step Guide to Write your Business Book in 90 days. So, aren’t Jacqui Pretty and I rivals? Well, kind of.
Jacqui will work with you once your manuscript is done. So, if you have already written your manuscript, Jacqui is the gal for you.
I work with you to get your manuscript done. If you haven’t started, or you haven’t got all that far, I will help you get refocused and re-energised, create your manuscript and deliver it to your market (either self-publishing or with a publisher).
And I don’t subscribe to old business models of rivalry. I subscribe a model of generosity and abundance in business.
Pretty and I take different approaches based on our own thought leadership. There’s room for us both, and more besides. And, our world needs great ideas and plenty of them. The more people out there helping great ideas get published, the better our world will be.
PS: Want More. Read ‘Structure your book without sacrificing creativity‘