When people talk about promoting your business, writing a book usually doesn't come to mind. And yet, there are few better ways of establishing yourself as an expert in your niche.
Not only that, but a book serves as a valuable sales tool. It establishes your brand clearly in the mind of the reader and shows you know what you're talking about. It's like a 200+ page sales presentation, except that, unlike a sales presentation, your customer will happily read through an entire book, as long as it's informative and entertaining.
While I can't tell you how to write a good book (the techniques required to achieve this vary from niche to niche), I can tell you how to publish and promote your own book, without needing to get a publisher.
And the best part? You can do all this for about $10.
The way to self-publish a book is to use a Print on Demand (POD) service. While there are many such services available, the one I personally recommend is called CreateSpace.com, which is Amazon.com's in-house POD publishing company.
It works like this: Once your book has been written, edited and formatted to meet CreateSpace's publishing guidelines, you submit the book manuscript online (either as a .doc or .pdf file). Once the CreateSpace team approves your book, they send you a proof copy to make sure everything is OK. You pay for the printing cost and shipping and handling, which amounts to about $10. Once you give CreateSpace the green light, they publish your book on their own web store and create a free listing on Amazon.com, if you so wish. Once you sell a copy of your book, Amazon deducts the printing fee and a percentage of the list price from your royalty (which is VERY generous compared to traditional publishers).
CreateSpace offers many useful free tools, such as a book cover creator and a book previewer so you can see what your book will look like before it's published.
On top of that, you can publish on Amazon Kindle (kdp.amazon.com), which is free. I highly recommend creating an ebook edition of your book, since statistics have shown that ebooks outsell print books by a considerable margin. The ebook edition should be priced lower than the print edition, since it costs next to nothing for you to produce or distribute.
If you'd like to reach a wider audience, smashwords.com can help you publish your ebook on different e-reading platforms such as iOS (iPad, iPhone, etc.), Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Kobo, and more. It's also 100 percent free to use.
Once your book is published, you can order several copies at a time and use it as a super-powered business card at networking events, or you can sell your book directly to your customers from your store or website. The possibilities are endless when you self-publish a book.
Not only do you gain an additional revenue stream for your business, but you gain a powerful selling tool as well.