Have you written YOUR book yet?
On December 4, 2011, while riding my motorcycle home from an evening ice dance session, a red Toyota 4Runner that I was never able to find ran a red light. While only going 20 or 30 mph, the vehicle swung wide in their turn, crossing into my lane and striking my left swing arm (rear tire mount) with their bumper.
I was fortunate that it wasn’t a direct impact, because I would have probably lost my left leg entirely. As it was, the resulting crash and skid tore three of the four ligaments around my left knee, shattered my kneecap, and blew the bursa sac.
This hit-and-run, which occurred shortly after returning from my extended trip to Japan, was actually a critical event in the writing of my first book, Tax Resolution Secrets. The reason this is important is because that book went on to generate, on average, about 2 inbound leads per week into my tax resolution practice, and forever changed the way I do marketing.
See, if it hadn’t been for that collision, I would have ridden my trusty Kawasaki KLR-650 all the way from Colorado Springs to Seattle for Christmas. The KLR-650 isn’t exactly a speed demon (they’re affectionately referred to as “thumpers”), so I would have needed to leave Colorado about a week ahead of Christmas.
Since I wasn’t able to ride, I was stuck booking a flight instead (I didn’t own a car, just the bike). This meant I wouldn’t be leaving until immediately before the holiday weekend. However, the weather decided not to cooperate with my flight plans, and to make a long story short… I was stuck in my office for a 4-day Christmas weekend.
When I say “stuck in my office”, I mean that quite literally. The snow was so bad that the city buses quit running. I literally had to sleep on the floor in my office, and survive off the contents of the mini-fridge and supply of office snacks.
Fueled by Red Bull and too much microwave popcorn, I ultimately had too much time on my hands. After all, it’s not like the IRS was open so that I could actually progress on client work.
With nothing better to do, I embarked on a project that had been on my brain for well over a year. I already knew about the importance of writing a book, and I knew the benefits of having it from a purely marketing perspective.
The reality, however, is that writing a book is a daunting task. No matter how much I knew it was something I needed to do, I simply found a constant stream of excuses for not getting it done.
Does this sound familiar to you?
If it hadn’t been for being stuck in Colorado Springs for that long weekend, I doubt I would have ever taken the time to write Tax Resolution Secrets. And quite honestly, without that book it is unlikely that I would have been able to scale back my marketing expenditures in my tax resolution practice and set a course for the lifestyle-based practice I’ve been enjoying for the past couple years.
Over the course of the past year, and this summer in particular, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting face-to-face with hundreds of other tax professionals. Whether they heard it during my presentation, or learned it from somewhere else, one of the most common things that comes up in the side conversations at seminars, workshops, and trade shows is this: I know I need to write a book, but I just don’t know how.
When I wrote my first book, it was a monumental task. Not just psychologically, but technically as well. Sure, I knew what I was talking about, but writing a technical piece like that is time consuming. Even for stuff I knew backwards and forwards, I made sure to fact check everything in the book.
Writing Tax Resolution Secrets, including the research verification time, took approximately 60 hours…And I did it in four days. You can do the math on how long those days were.
Even after writing it, there were several dozen more hours in the following week of editing, proofing, setting up the files publication, cover design, and more. By the time it was all said and done, I had well over 100 hours of production time into the creation of that work.
Was it worth it?
Absolutely! To this day, it’s one of the best marketing moves I ever made.
Sure, there were other consumer tax books on the market. However, mine was new, and it hit at the right time, with the right message for the right group of people. In marketing parlance, this is what we call market to message match.
The book by no means generated wealth from royalties. Far from it. Instead, the book brought me qualified leads. In fact, these leads are better than the leads I get through any other source, including my all-time favorite marketing medium: Direct mail. My conversion rate on these leads is sky-high, and there were enough of them that I suddenly found myself in the position of being able to turn away prospective clients.
Yes, this was when I began to pick and choose whom I wanted to work with.
Through some simple promotion, I managed to get Tax Resolution Secrets into the Amazon bestseller list for its category. It was only for a couple weeks, and it’s a pretty narrow category, but it gave me another element of authority positioning that I’ll forever be able to claim: Bestselling author.
The beauty of having a book didn’t stop there, however. Since I self-published the book, I was able to order copies directly from the printer at an extremely reasonable cost. This meant that I now had something very different and very impressive to include in my prospect inquiry package — aka, my “shock and awe box”.
Think about that for a second…
Somebody gets my direct mail sequence, and they visit a web site or make a phone call. In response to that, they’ll be receiving my inquiry package, consisting of cover letter, info about what an EA is, the special report they requested, and of course the 2848, 8821, etc.
Compare that package, however, to every other package that they receive. Remember, they received multiple telemarketing calls, and multiple letters in the mail.
If your package is indistinguishable from every other package they receive, then you’re no different from your competition.
Differentiation is one of the keys to successfully growing your tax practice. You have to set yourself apart from your competition in order to win a client’s business.
The simple act of inserting a book into my lead response package drastically increased my conversion rate.
I was already using USPS Priority Flate Rate Envelopes to send my packages, so my postage costs did not increase. My other materials stayed the same. The only thing I changed was the inclusion of the book.
My closing rate when selling tax resolution services has always been pretty good. In excess of 20% when working with outbound prospects, in fact, which is double the industry average. Working with inbound prospects generated through smart marketing results in an even higher closing percentage. But ALL those conversion rates went up simply by including a copy of my book in the prospect packet.
Okay, Jassen, I get it. I need to write a book. But I don’t have TIME…
I totally understand. I never had time either. Well, until time was all that I had. Then it became easy!
If you don’t have time to write a book, or simply don’t feel that you could actually produce one, then you still have options:
- Hire a ghostwriter. There are plenty of writers out there that will write you a book. The quality is generally going to be proportional to the price tag. You can hire a writer for whom English is there second (or third…) language and have a full-length book written for less than $1,000. You can find such writers on sites like Elance, Guru, and Odesk. At the other end of the spectrum, you can easily spend north of $30,000 to have a highly experienced US writer thoroughly research and write a high quality book for you. Of course, publication and promotion would still be up to you.
- License a book. I know of at least three book content licensing programs within the tax profession, and there may be more. I have no problem with such programs, and they can be an excellent and expedient way to get your name onto a book cover and use it for marketing and publicity. Many tax professionals I’ve spoken with over the past few months in particular, however, are very hesitant about such programs, and they do have limitations. Since the book content is the same for all licensees, you can’t pop it up onto Amazon as your own, and this has been a good source of new clients for me. Most of these licensing programs also have a limited duration, usually annual, with a $4,000 to $6,000 licensing fee. The book content isn’t truly yours to do with as you please (my book content has been “recycled” in a variety of ways for marketing purposes — press releases, special reports, webinar presentations, etc).
- Collaborate with others. I’ve seen one example of this within our profession as well, and it works well. What you do is work with 10 to 15 other tax and accounting professionals to create a book. Each of you writes a chapter, and you all get full rights to publish the entire book. This allows for unique content compared to a licensing program, and you have some assurance regarding the quality of the chapters that were written by other professionals. The biggest downside to this approach, of course, is that the entire book isn’t yours: You’re listed as a contributor, but for one chapter only. While this is definitely better than not having a book at all, it doesn’t carry as much value in the form of social proof and authority positioning as being the only author. The investment to participate in such a book project is usually in the $2,000 to $3,000 range.
All of these common options yield the same end result: You’ll have a book.
But each of them also has some downsides associated with it. Some things to consider:
- Will you have full control over the publication?
- Will you be able to use the written content in other ways as you wish?
- What assurances do you have regarding the accuracy of the content and the quality of the writing?
- Will you be able to generate leads merely from having authorship of a book?
- Are you going to have to keep paying in future years?
After receiving numerous requests to aid other tax professionals in getting their book done, I embarked on a mission to create a way to help YOU create a book that provided all the benefits I enjoyed as a result of writing my own book, but without having to do ALL of it yourself….while also keeping it within an affordable range for most tax professionals. Ideally, I wanted to set this up such that a tax resolution professional only needed two new tax resolution case to earn back their investment in creating a book.
In short, here’s what I wanted do for you: Work with you to create an original chapter for your new book, plus license you some of my chapters, then help you edit, publish, promote, and capture leads using the book.
To that end, I’d like to introduce to you the first ever turnkey, Done For You book creation system for tax and accounting professionals. Here’s exactly how this program will work:
- Taking less than one hour of your time, we will work together to create at least one chapter that YOU wrote. (Value: Over $3,000 for a ghostwriter.)
- I will provide keyword research and title testing data to help choose a title. (Value: $275)
- I will license to you between 5 and 8 chapters from my own book, with a perpetual rather than annual license. It would cost you around $15,000 to $30,000 to have this ghostwritten.
- Your manuscript will be professionally proofed and edited.(Value: $2,220.)
- A professional graphic artist that I’ve worked with for several years will create a custom book cover for both print and Kindle editions of your book. Value: $549.
- I will publish your book to Amazon, in both paperback and Kindle formats. After publication, you will receive the login/password to these accounts, giving you full control over future publication options. Most tax/accounting book licensing programs don’t give you these accounts.
- I will write and distribute a press release announcing the publication of your book. You will receive nationwide publicity on major news sites such as CNN, USA Today, Fox Business, and more. We will also endeavor to have your book announcement appear on the web sites for local news outlets and broadcast affiliates (NBC, CBS, ABC, etc), where they will also be available to program managers that have the power to put you on the air. Value: $575.
- You will receive the first 100 copies of your paperback. (Value: $350.)
So, in short, I will help you write your book, edit it, and publish it, as well as get you started with using it as a promotional item for yourself and your business.
The total value of this book creation service is well over $21,000. But I promised earlier that the objective was to enable you to earn back your investment in your book with just a couple resolution cases. So, I’m going to offer this book creation service for only $9,500. There are turnkey book creation services out there that use the audio interview to transcript to edited book approach that are quite literally priced at the full $20,000 (do a Google search, you’ll find them) — and these aren’t even written with a tax professional at your side. So for just $9,500, you’re getting quite the bargain indeed. Click here to order.
Bonus: To add to your “shock and awe” package, you’re also going to receive a CD of you being interviewed. This extra item (including 100 copies of the CD itself) is important because not all of your prospects will take the time to read the book — some will prefer to listen to something. Either way, you obtain similar authority positioning, plus the CD adds bulk to your lead response package.