Building a following on LinkedIn (and/or other platforms)opens you up to a lot of possibilities. To prove this, let me tell you the story of how I almost wrote a book.
A couple years ago, I was approached by a former client toghost-write a book about an important topic that affects nearly all businesses.
She was a C-Level executive at a big global company. She must have appreciated the work I did for her and somehow got the idea that I was qualified to write a book.
I was not, but that's irrelevant.
She had (as far as I can tell), really valuable insights, storiesand anecdotes about this topic. It would have made for a pretty good book, in my estimation.
So, together we went through the process of investigatingwhat we needed to do to get the attention of a publisher. We learned something important.
Publishers look for authors who already have a significantfollowing, on a blog, a podcast, a YouTube channel, on social media, or any combination of those.
In other words, publishers want to know you have a bunch offans who are ready to buy your book on Day One. They want guaranteed sales before they give you a contract.
Of course, there’s an alternative to traditional publishers.You can self-publish. But if you want to sell any copies, you still need that built-in audience.
What Might Have Been
My client didn't have that. She had not been posting onLinkedIn on a regular basis about this topic, or about much of anything. It was clear to me that we were not well-positioned to get a book deal.
I proposed that we start building her LinkedIn reputation ASAP.Her expertise and thought leadership would have certainly garnered a lot of attention and followers, and withing 6-12 months, we might just have that audience that publishers covet.
For a variety of reasons, she didn’t want to do that. Isuspect her main concern was getting unwanted attention from her current employer. So the project was shelved, and my shot at ghost writing for a best-selling business book evaporated.
And that’s fine. Book writing is not my forte.
But had we decided to proceed, here’s what would havehappened:
My client (with my help) would have been able to sharpen herthoughts. The mere act of writing short posts, long-form articles, and podcast scripts would have helped her think through her ideas and how best to present them. In a sense, we would be writing the book a few paragraphs at a time.
She would have also been able to gauge her audiencereaction. Posting on a regular basis lets you see what topics and stories resonate with people, and which ones don’t. That would have allowed her to self-edit and focus on what’s important.
And, of course, she would have built her brand and throngsof loyal followers and fans, eager to buy her book when it was published.
Share Your Ideas
Even if she ultimately decided not to write the book,putting in the work to build her reputation would have paid off in other ways.
A new job or a promotion. Invitations to speaking gigs and podcast appearances. People contacting her out of the blue, wanting to work for or with her. The moral of the story is that if you have ideasand expertise, don’t be afraid to share them with the world (framed in stories, of course). Even if you don’t want to be an author, it will be nice to know you have the option.