In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Josh Bernoff. He is the bestselling author or ghostwriter of eight business books and contributed to 50 book projects that have generated over $20 million for their authors. Josh was formerly Senior Vice President, Idea Development at Forrester, where he spent 20 years analyzing technology and business.
His most recent book Build a Better Business Book: How to Plan, Write, and Promote a Book That Matters, is a guide for authors who want to create impact in their business books. Josh teaches them how to refine their idea, choose a publishing model, and research, write, publish, and promote their books.
A good business book should have a unique idea that solves a specific problem for a targeted audience, incorporating real-life stories and a narrative structure that engages readers. It should follow a natural progression from presenting a problem to providing a solution and explaining the details of that solution, using case studies to support their ideas. It is vital for authors to understand the continuum between big-idea books and how-to books, as both can be problem-solving.
The promotion plan of the book is crucial, and authors must not assume people will find their books without proper promotion and by building a platform. Josh shares a five-step process called “PQRST” which involves: Positioning, answering the Question, Reaching the target audience, Spreading the book encouraging word-of-mouth, and Timing the book launch.
Questions I ask Josh Bernoff:
- [01:59] What are the essential elements that a business book needs to be good?
- [02:49] Can a business book have a similar narrative to a fiction book?
- [04:03] Some business books are terrible. What are they doing wrong?
- [04:59] There are two types of business books: the ones that stay in the big idea category and others that are perspective. Are there different approaches that need to be taken for those two different kinds of books?
- [06:43] Can you explain the different kinds of authors?
- [08:59] Do publishers care about ideas or do they care about the platform or do you have to have both?
- [11:16] There are two book approaches, the ones that include research and case studies, and the ones that talk from the author’s daily knowledge and experiences. What do you think of that?
- [15:09] You have been a ghostwriter on some projects. What are some reasons somebody who has a good idea might use a ghostwriter?
- [16:01] Let’s talk about editors. In a business book, are they qualified to give much input and help you get your ideas down?
- [17:16] What role does the design of the interior pages as well as the cover play in the success of a book?
- [19:36] If you’re going to write a book today, how important is having audio done?
- [20:54] Can you explain the promotion plan of the book?
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This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network.
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