In today’s rapidly changing business and commercial landscape, business cards are becoming passé as many people recognise the benefits of self publishing a book to boost their professional reputation. Without exception, clients are thrilled to be handed a copy of a book you have written and the very fact that you are the author implies that you know what you are talking about.
Writing a book can have a huge impact on your business by helping to position you as a thought-leader and key person of influence within your specialty or field.
A book can actively improve your business in the following ways:-
- Enhanced credibility: Being the author of a book exponentially boosts your level of credibility. After writing a book, clients and potential clients view you as an expert on that subject.
- Increased knowledge: The very act of researching and writing a book will increase your knowledge of a particular field.
- Increased client base: Many business owners claim that becoming a published author helps them to attract more clients and increase their fees. Establishing yourself as an author is a great way to make your talents more visible so that you stand out from others in the same field.
- Additional income stream: Selling the book to clients who may want to share your knowledge helps to create an income stream separate from your actual business.
- Marketing and PR: A book increases your marketing and public relations options. By becoming a published author you have positioned yourself as an expert in your industry. Consequently, people are more likely to seek you out for quotes and to take part in articles and radio and television shows. This in turn has the effect of getting your name ‘out there’.
How to self publish a successful non-fiction book
To produce a book that creates positive leveraging opportunities business owners should ensure that:
- The title of the book grabs readers’ attention by being descriptive, thought-provoking or in some other way attracting the audience’s interest.
- The book is easy to read, well-written and professionally edited with careful attention to spelling, grammar, punctuation and sentence structure.
- It is written in plain English and avoids using scientific or technical terminology or jargon which could alienate readers.
- The layout and design are professional-looking with an eye catching book cover.
Many people are confused about the distinct responsibilities an editor and a proofreader have in reviewing your manuscript. How does each role differ and can’t the same person undertake both tasks?
A proofreader’s task list
A proofreader checks your manuscript for grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes. They should review your manuscript after an editor has finished working on it (and you have made all your changes). A proofreader’s job is not to make revisions but rather to make corrections prior to publication. They look at the final copy as it would print checking such criteria as too many end-of-line hyphens in a row or a blank section break at the top of a page in addition to checking grammar and spelling.
Although many copy editors also offer proofreading as part of their services, proofreading is a specialised type of editorial service.
An editor’s task list
Unlike proofreading which is undertaken when the author has finished writing, an editor may work on a manuscript over long periods of time until it is perfected. Editing (especially structural or developmental editing) is a much more involved process than proofreading that can take months to complete one project. And while editing also refers to finding typos and grammatical errors, editing involves one major factor that proofreading does not: checking the actual written content.
An editor reads a writer’s manuscript and makes corrections to ensure it follows the conventions of good writing. They help to identify flaws in the storyline or flesh out a sub-plot. They refine word choices and make sure that syntax of the writing is smooth. They may suggest reorganisation of content, recommend changes to chapter titles, and highlight lapses in logic or sequential slip-ups. They will check that is continuity is maintained throughout the chapters and ensure dialogue is believable.
My most recent graphic design contract involved creating the branding (logo and brochure) for Manungurra Aboriginal Corporation for their proposed boarding college near Tennant Creek, NT for indigenous secondary school students. It was very satisfying to be involved in promoting such a beneficial initiative for Aboriginal children. Likewise, I was glad that my brochure was to be one of the promotional tools for the directors of the Manungurra Aboriginal Corporation to use in their push to secure government funding for the college building project.
Brochures are a good way to communicate information in a simple, eye-catching design that attracts potential clients or promotes an event, product or service. A well-written and designed brochure is an effective and affordable way of presenting your message to your target audience. It should grab your readers’ attention, inspiring them to take action or learn new information.
Purpose of a brochure
So how to do you create a professional-looking brochure that informs, educates, or persuades your audience? Before launching into writing the content for your brochure, spend some time planning the overall layout design including images, written copy, headings and captions.
Ask yourself the following key questions:
- What is the purpose of your brochure? Is it to persuade or inform your readers?
- What opportunities or problems are you aiming to address?
- What is the best method of communicating your underlying message?
Having one primary purpose or approach is more effective than producing a general brochure that tries to cover a large range of topics and hence lacks focus.
Stand out from the competition
What do you offer that sets you apart from other companies, products and services? What image and character do want your audience to perceive about your business? An effective brochure helps you to stand out from your competition. It should contain content (both written and pictorial) that emphasises unique aspects of your business. Think of your brochure as an appetiser for your business or organisation: it needs to provide a small taste that leaves the reader wanting more.
In any type of print publication (whether it is a simple advertising flyer, a business document or a printed book) such factors as correct grammar, fluent writing style and proper formatting methods help separate the mediocre from the excellent. By paying attention to a few simple details you can do a great deal to ensure that your publication will be articulate and professional-looking.
Five key points you should be aware of in order to create high-quality documents are:
Bolding and italics are useful formatting features for defining different parts of your text; however, you should never underline text (except as a hyperlink). If you format text with an underline that’s not a hyperlink, your readers will think your publication has a dead link.
Hyphenation conventions are constantly changing but violating some basic rules marks your document as inferior. Three main hyphenation rules you should observe are: hyphenate two or more words used as an adjective (e.g. self-catering); hyphenate compound numbers (e.g. fifty-six); and hyphenate only between syllables as specified in the dictionary for end-of-line breaks (e.g. enchant-ment).
Avoid orphans and widows
Orphans occur when the first line of text in a paragraph is separated from the rest of the paragraph on the following page or next column. A widow occurs when the last line of a paragraph appears on the following page or in the next column. Where possible you should avoid widows and orphans in your documents.
Lack of textual guideposts
Use subheadings within your publication to break your writing into sections and help your readers navigate your ideas. Likewise, rather than making your reader trawl through long passages of text, use bulleted lists to highlight what is most important.
Use one space (not two) between sentences
Previously, when documents were composed on manual typewriters, typed characters were the same width so two spaces were considered necessary to separate sentences for visual effect. With the advent of computers, characters are proportionally sized so they fit together more readily. Consequently, it is sufficient to include one space between sentences. Before printing your manuscript, search for all double spaces and replace them with single spaces.