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Everyone's a Publisher

Remember the days when budding authors shopped their great American novel from publisher to publisher and in return received a stack of rejection letters for their efforts? Or the more enterprising writers turned to the vanity presses and spent thousands of dollars self-publishing their works?

Those days are over. The Internet did it again. It's changing another long and stuffy tradition—book publishing—with a not-so-new technology called publishing on demand. Companies like iUniverse and Xlibris are radically revising the way books are published. For as little as $99 at iUniverse, you can produce a quality paperback like those you see in stores without having to worry about minimum print runs or retail shelf space. You can print one book or a thousand, any time you like.

So how can this strategy help market your e-business? You can publish as many web sites, white papers, or PDF files as you want, but nothing impresses a person like a printed, published work. And by a person, I'm referring to prospects. Call it a sophisticated calling card. It works like this. First, write a manuscript about your industry. Keep it very objective. Its purpose is to teach prospective clients about the ins and outs of your industry—not yourself. You're an authority on your industry, right? (If not, you should be.) That's part of your competitive edge. At the very end of your manuscript, you can then promote your product or service as a solution to the problems facing your industry, as discussed in your manuscript.

Here's how you do it. Once your manuscript is finished, contact one of the print-on-demand companies, follow their instructions, and publish your book. Since I too consider myself a budding great American writer, I used the print-on-demand services of iUniverse to publish a book to my son, called To Christopher: From a Father to His Son. The total cost was $99 and I received a free copy for myself. One of the benefits of going with iUniverse is that your book is listed at both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble's online bookstore.

When you have your published work in hand, you can present it as a gift to sales prospects to open doors and get appointments, or as a leave-behind to educate and impress.

But why stop at books to help market your e-business? Using the technology of Internet radio, Howard Stern has nothing on you.

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