How to Involve your Employer…

Guest post from Jessica James, author of  Handbook of Exchange Rates.

Why involve your employer in your book?  Hey, they might interfere!  It may seem a little counter-intuitive to connect your writing and your job, which may often be quite separate career streams, but under certain circumstances it can work very well.  Of course, your day job and your book need to be related.  It’s no good asking your boss to sponsor your literary ambitions if you work for a respectable legal firm and you want to write a book about internet dating.  But if your work and your writing overlap, there can be benefits for all in a little networking.

First of all, sort out the book with the publisher.  The book should be effectively independent and able to stand on its own two feet without help.  Though some co-published books have worked fairly well, in general they tend to get viewed like the advertorial genre – ie, not independent or free from company bias.

Then, you will need to get permission from your company to write the book.  Be very clear that it’s to be done in your own time; your boss won’t take kindly to the idea of you sitting at your desk typing deathless prose when you need to be sorting out a board presentation.  Once your boss and your compliance and regulatory departments are happy, you can go on to the next stage.

Talk to your boss and the communication or media relations folk within your company.  Would your customers be pleased if they got a copy of the book?  Would the fact that you have written the book help raise the profile of your company?  Would folk in your company want a copy?  If all of these can be answered with a ‘yes’ then sponsorship is probably a great option.

At this point it’s time to get back to your publisher.  They will probably be quite pleased!  This is because they will sell a lot more copies.  Sponsorship deals vary but usually involve a payment from the company to the publisher, and a number of books being made available at a discount to the company for their clients.  Other features of the deal can include joint marketing, a special cover for the book with company branding, a launch event, discount schemes for company and clients, and joint press statements.

After this, there is little downside.  Your customers will like to have the book, your boss will be happy, and your publisher will be beaming.  So to get you to this happy state, here’s a few things to be careful of along the way.  A little planning avoids a lot of stress…

  • Stick to your writing schedule.  If you are late, not only will the publisher be annoyed, so will your boss and the comms department!
  • Allow plenty of slack in the publication/launch/client presentation schedule.  Some of it is always late.
  • Make sure there is more than enough time to agree and finalise a jacket design, if you are doing one.  A change can take a week or more, especially if the important person is away.
  • Be aware that ‘publication date’ does not mean ‘book in your hands date’.  It will have to print and get shipped after that.  Again, allow lots of time.  Overseas shipping will take a lot longer.  And if you have a special cover, that will need wrapping time as well.
  • When calculating how many copies you will need, allow for some of them to be appropriated by folk in the company.  They will be in demand!

Jessica James

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One response to “How to Involve your Employer…”

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