The idea of writing a book has been simmering in the back of your mind for quite a while. Now you’ve decided you’re ready.

Congratulations! A book is the ultimate marketing tool and goes a long way toward enhancing your credibility. You can sell in the back of the room, give it away to potential clients or use it as a lever to get speaking engagements.

Before you settle down and get to work, here are a few things you ought to know:

1. You’ll invest time, energy and money into writing your book, so make sure it’s a good book. Well-written, yes. But more important is choosing your angle – the way you distinguish your book from all other books in your area of expertise. Incorporating your own experiences can set your book apart. Or introduce a new or even a controversial way of looking at things.

2. Take time to organize your material and come up with an outline before you start writing. The time invested upfront will make the process much smoother in the long run.

3. Decide whether you want to self-publish or seek out a traditional publisher. The two processes are very different, and pros and cons exist for each one. For example, if you plan to sell your book at speaking engagements or even give it away to potential clients, self-publishing is a viable option. If you have a book with broad national appeal, you might want to seek a traditional publisher.

If you opt for traditional publishing, you’ll need a formal book proposal, two or three chapters of the book, and an agent to sell your book to the appropriate publisher. If the book is accepted, you’ll receive an advance, and the publisher will cover the costs of editing and producing the book. You’re also more likely to get your book on the shelves in brick and mortar bookstores. The downside is that you lose creative control over your work.

If you opt for self-publishing, you’ll have to front the costs for editing and producing the book, including cover design and interior formatting. But you’ll have complete control over the process and the publication date. You’ll also receive all of the profits.

4. You might get a small marketing boost from a traditional publisher. But no matter which format you choose, the marketing onus will be on you. In fact, a traditional publisher will expect you to have what’s called an “author platform” – which means you want to build a solid fan base eager to buy your book even before you’ve finished writing it.

Writing a book isn’t easy. But if you’re a woman in business, publishing a book in your area of expertise can boost your credibility – and your business.

About Your Columnist

Eve Gumpel

Eve Gumpel is a featured columnist for Women Lead, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence, where she covers topics related to writing and editing. As the owner of Good Writing Matters, she writes and edits marketing content for businesses, and edits and ghostwrites books.

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