Mickie Kennedy has an interesting post this morning about writing books for their media-relations value. To summarize his thesis, even in a digital age the printed work can give you credibility and a reputation as an expert in your field. I learned that first-hand when the company now known as Sanofi Pasteur US hired me to write a book about the organization’s rise from horse farmers to suppliers of vaccines to the world.
While the company paid for the first printing of The Spirit of Swiftwater we arranged the second printing with a university press just itching to publish a business book. That attracted the interest of several thought-leaders in the industry. I knew we’d struck gold when one of the world’s most influential virologists, a doctor who’d been working with WHO to contain bird flu in Asia, visited the company and accepted an autographed book.
Those of you who know me know that I live to write large-scale works that appeal to a wide audience. I think there are several reasons why an executive or an individual would hire a writer or a ghostwriter to create one of these: to promote the organization or the person, or to be more altruistic, to leave a legacy. I often tell the story of Marco Polo and his travels along the Silk Road. His father and uncle made the journey years before they took the young explorer yet few people know their names. Every kid who’s splashed in a pool knows about Marco. The reason is simple: Marco wrote about the journey.
If you’re fascinated with an elegant tool for marketing, or just a fleeting moment of fame, I have a few resources for you, including two documents that detail the rationale, project scope and budgetary outlines of a book-length project. You can download Brand New Day and Making History from this website.
Good luck on the journey.