The book-as-business-card crowd already includes consultants, speakers and trainers who know that a book boosts their credibility and yields more media attention and higher fees. Dentists, CPAs and attorneys are learning to use books to leverage themselves as experts, creating more visibility, prestige and business. Executives changing career direction count on a book to establish their new positioning.

Maybe your business or organization could benefit from having a book as a marketing tool but wonder about the cost and difficulty of writing and publishing on your own.

A multi-author book could be the answer. Through shared costs and writing, a multi-author book becomes a manageable and practical alternative, especially with the help of a good publishing partner. Here are five potential groups who are well positioned to use this cost-effective marketing tool.

Specialty retailers

If you are a specialty retailer, you are in a unique position to enjoy the marketing benefits of a book at potentially no cost. Done right, your book becomes a product you can sell to customers eager for a souvenir of their unique shopping experience with you.

A multi-author book featuring several similar retailers in different geographic, tourism-oriented areas is a worthwhile cooperative approach for this type of business. Chocolatiers of the Southwest, anyone?

Franchisers, advisors

Are you a franchiser or established industry advisor? You might offer a multi-author book opportunity to your franchisees or clients. These can be collaborative, content-based or might focus on the unique story of each participating author, or both.

For example, a home decorating franchiser invites her franchisees to participate in a multi-author book about key design topics that will interest and educate prospects and clients. Each designer is featured in a chapter.

Each participating author uses the book to market herself in her geographic area. She uses the book as a conversation starter with prospective clients or as an opening to media for free publicity. It’s a perfect give-away at seminars, talks and other marketing events.

Health and wellness

Teaming up with peers in related areas of health and wellness can lead to a mutually beneficial book that can be geographically diverse or regionally focused. Each author presents their expertise yet benefits from exposure to the broader audience offered by the book’s co-authors.

All the benefits of having a book as a multi-dimensional business card accrue to you.


Books about your staunchest supporters or happiest successes can become fundraising tools. Veterans’ organizations sponsor multi-author memoirs of aging veterans and then sell the books to family, friends and community members. Organizations that help people improve their lives might highlight a selection of recent inspiring stories and sell the resulting book.

A book that honors your key contributors can be part of a celebratory fundraiser – as an incentive or gift. Proper planning with your publishing partner ensures a quality product and achievable revenue goals.

Local business organizations

Cooperative book programs sponsored by local business organizations make it possible for small business owners to enjoy the benefits of having a book and can generate non-membership fee revenue for the sponsoring organization at the same time.

A key to making multi-author books viable is an easy process for writing the content. We like the idea of interviews that yield question-and-answer formatted chapters or ghost-written narratives. Busy professionals and business owners need only talk to the interviewer for an hour or two and approve the chapter when it’s done. Your publishing partner takes care of the rest.

Whether your book is a solo effort or a cooperative, multi-author project, be sure to allocate sufficient time and funds to produce a quality project. Don’t go it alone.

It takes almost as much effort to produce an amateurish book as it does to create one of professional quality. The returns, both economic and psychological, will reflect your investment and industry knowledge. You don’t get a do-over once the book is out, so be sure to get the best book possible to help you achieve your marketing goals.

Contact Gail Woodard, owner of Dudley Court Press, at Woodard wrote her own “Your Book as a Marketing Tool. “She is a member of the Greater Tucson Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), whose members contribute this column.