Experts regarded as top thoughtleaders have all written at least one book -- and while it takes work, it's nowhere near as hard as most people think, says Ken Lizotte, author of the new book, "The Expert's Edge: Become the Go-To Authority People Turn To Every Time" (McGraw Hill).
And you don't even need a publisher anymore.
"Writing a book is the pinnacle of thoughtleading. It separates you from the pack," says Lizotte, who's helped many experts publish books on topics ranging from leadership to investing to personal organization.
-- Write it yourself. "Forget about using a ghostwriter," writes the Concord, Mass.-based Lizotte. That's controversial advice, as it's coming from a successful ghostwriter. Just sit down, write and don't worry, he says. You don't need to be a great writer. Once you've gotten your ideas down on paper, a good editor can convert even a very rough draft into "solid, readable prose."
-- Publish it yourself. If you can find a commercial book publisher to publish your book, you're among the lucky few -- and Lizotte has placed several clients with top publishers. But most experts self-publish their books -- an option that's surprisingly attractive, thanks to new technology. A print-on-demand firm will not only print the book but also design it, register the copyright, place it with online booksellers like Amazon.com, provide royalty payments and arrange for it to be distributed to booksellers. But editing services aren't included, so you'll have to hire an editorial professional to make sure the book is error-free and reads cleanly.
Self-published books can get reviewed by book reviewers and their authors can secure interviews from print journalists and appear on radio and TV programs, Lizotte says. "Oprah won't book you, but you can get on local programs," he says.
Don't expect to make much money from your book directly. While the royalties probably won't amount to much, a book will pay big dividends for your business, practice or career.
"The real value is credibility. Nothing else builds your credibility as a thoughtleader like a book," he says.
More information about "The Expert's Edge" is online at www.thoughtleading.com/book_experts-edge.htm.