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This Book Means Business

Clever ways to plan and write a book that works harder for your business

Alison Jones and foreword by Bernadette Jiwa

A practical, accessible handbook for anyone thinking about writing a book to build their business, with a wide range of tips and techniques to help plan, write, publishing and promote a book that’s integrated with your platform and works to build your reputation, network and credibility from Day 1.

Size: 216 × 140 × 21 mm / 8.5 × 5.5 × 10.77 in288 PagesISBN: 9781910056691
Publication: March 23, 2018


  • £15.99

A practical, accessible handbook for anyone thinking about writing a book to build their business, with a wide range of tips and techniques to help plan, write, publishing and promote a book that’s integrated with your platform and works to build your reputation, network and credibility from Day 1.

In the Extraordinary Business Book Club podcast, Alison Jones goes under the hood of successful business books to discover how they’re put together and how they work for the businesses behind them. This book brings together all those inspiring and effective ideas, giving you a unique insight into how some of the world’s top business authors work and showing how you can make these ideas work for you too.

Alison Jones is founder of Practical Inspiration Publishing, helping businesses with something to say create superb books that are deeply integrated with their wider platform, and host of The Extraordinary Business Book Club. A veteran of the publishing industry, she worked for 25 years with leading companies such as Chambers, Oxford University Press and Macmillan (she was Director of Innovation Strategy at Palgrave Macmillan until she left to set up a pioneering new partnership publishing model in 2014). She also provides executive coaching, consultancy and training services to publishers and regularly speaks and blogs on the publishing industry, is a board member of the board of the IPG and Head Judge of the Business Book Awards. Her weekly podcast, the Extraordinary Business Book Club, is essential listening for writers and readers of extraordinary business books.

Bernadette Jiwa is a global authority on the role of story in business, innovation and marketing and the author of five bestselling books on marketing and brand storytelling. She advises, consults and speaks to entrepreneurs and business leaders who want to build meaningful brands. Her work takes her from Sydney to New York (and everywhere in between).

A note on fear
A note on publishing options
what’s your why? or the 20-year perspective
target reader – who are you writing for?
target reader – the persona
write the right book – Venn diagram
write the right book – SO What?
write the right book – priority quadrants
write the right book – decision grid
position yourself
The Curve
try the buy button test
micro-niche and customize
start with the platform, not the book
plan your content strategy
take a content audit
write your biography
start blogging
blog smarter
build your email list
launch a podcast
map your network
help others to help yourself
create a community
build your street team
create a brain trust
contact hard-to-find people
reach the rockstars
deliver an experience
find your foreword writer
source stories
set up interviews
get feedback on your TOC
bring in the beta readers
write with the crowd
consider crowdfunding
explore JVs and affiliates
rich reading
rapid reading
turn your reading into a conversation
writing as a tool for reflection
Morning Pages
find your meaning and fascination
know thyself – Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies
know thyself – where do you get your energy?
know thyself – tips for extroverts
know thyself – tips for introverts
draw out your book
create distinctive IP
start with a proposal
nail your title and subtitle
write a summary
decide how long your book will be
structure – do the thinking
structure – create a framework
structure – working table of contents
organize your research – the commonplace book
organize your research – index cards
organize your research – online tools
develop your writing habit – find your space
develop your writing habit – piggyback on what’s already there
develop your writing habit – streaking
develop your writing habit – overcoming writer’s block
team up
talk it out
read it out loud
reward yourself
create a writing playlist
use a slide deck
use a timer
the series in disguise
mind your metaphors
build a boneyard
email tips
get your marketing collateral ready to go
create online companion material
write a workbook
from page to stage
The Last Word
A non-exhaustive list of content outputs
Useful tools
About the author

Amazon Reviews:

'I wish this book had been published 10 years ago, but then of course the world was a very different place. If you are wondering if publishing a book can help your business, it is worth taking Alison's advice: build your online profile in tandem with getting your act together with your book. There's tons of great advice, all written elegantly and clearly, with practical guidance that comes through with her personal warmth and enthusiasm. It is a pleasure to read. Getting your book out there, however, is not a walk in the park. if you are aiming to become a successful business entrepreneur and author, you will need to be ready to put in the necessary work so that your book really supports what you want to do. We've done it in our business, years ago, and books really can help you grow. Alison's book will help you get there.'

'A book about writing a book? It’s so much more than that. Learning how to leverage a book to build your business in bite sized actionable steps. Highly recommended.'

'I found this book highly practical, easily digestible and inspiring. As a publisher and author, I took away many tips that I have already used and intend to use. Alison is a knowledgeable and interesting author and the book is clearly written and entertaining. I'd definitely recommend.'

'As a fan of Alison’s podcast I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her book. It’s a brilliant guide to writing a business book and I’ve been working my way through following her practical advice. For example, I set up a beta-readers list and their insight and feedback has transformed my book position and pitch. And that’s just one of the many tips and tricks explained by Alison and backed up with stories and inspiration from professional authors and publishers. If you want to write a business book – this is the perfect guide on why and how you should go about it.'

'"This Book Means Business" is about planning, writing and marketing a book that links to your business. The book includes many practical suggestions and much inspirational encouragement. It's fair to say that the author knows her stuff and that it shows! I greatly enjoyed TBMB and highly recommend it. How it has impacted me might be seen in due course!'

'Alison Jones is an experienced publisher and has an excellent podcast where she interviews interesting and high profile authors. She draws on this expertise to pack a lot of practical knowledge into this book. Alison emphasises the important of knowing your target market for a business book, and this book is clearly aimed at people who want to write a book as part of a wider business and marketing strategy. As well as useful advice on planning and writing your book, Alison includes plenty of ideas on how to raise your profile and build an audience, to help you market both your book and your business. Given that writing a book is a huge investment in terms of your time, I think this book is very worthwhile read. It will help you think through the reasons why you are writing a book, identify exactly whom you are writing it for, and consider how to reach your ideal readers and clients.'

'Finally, Alison put all of her best knowledge into a book! And did a pretty excellent job at that. Which is not surprising given her credentials and the number of books she's published.

I love Alison's writing style, lighthearted, knowledgeable, fun and interesting. It makes you want to dive into the next chapter and it's fair to say Alison hasn't held back on delivering value.

I think pretty much all of her knowledge bombs are in Thie Book Means Business.

So you can't really go wrong in reading this book if you are new to writing a book, or an experienced author for that matter.' Robin Waite

'I am 17% through this book, and have already had two new solutions to problems I’ve found in writing my book: clearly this book is well worth reading all the way through!' K C

'Alison Jones has produced an outstanding book. It is one of those rare books that does what it says on the cover, and much, much more. Alison writes in a style that is both highly thought provoking and accessible. This is a rare talent, and a huge gift to the reader. Alison deconstructs how to write a book in easily understandable steps. Reading it is like being led through the prose by an amazingly inspirational and expert teacher. She gives you a sense of the enormity of the tasks, whilst giving you the tools to do each one.
I loved the practical exercises, it is like being given a perfect tool kit, and then shown how to use them by a master practitioner. I read hundreds of business books, and have many more stacked by the bed. I read this in a day, and I am now working my way through it again in order to do the exercises. Having done a doctorate, I thought I knew something about writing, but Alison has opened up a whole new possibility.
I would also recommend it for non authors, her extensive overview of building a social media network is thorough, practical and all embracing. She has left nothing to chance. Apart from LinkedIn and my website, I have never engaged in social media. In fact I swore I would never use Facebook for political reasons. This author has convinced me that my book needs a Facebook page, and I am starting a Podcast. I have never met Alison but she has had a profound impact on my life. What more could an author do?' Cathie

'A priceless resource for writers and business people alike. Alison’s knowledge and experience in the publishing industry is outstanding. I’ve learned so much from her. It’s a real privilege that’s she has captured her expertise so thoroughly and practically in this book. If you are in business and know the value of publishing a book, yet feel you don’t know exactly how to go about, this book is the resource for you. It captures all the tricks of the trade and much more. As a skilful coach, Alison guides you through the planning, structuring and production process of a book, as well as the successful marketing of your book. You will also learn how to align your book as a product with your business goals.'

'This has to be the most practical and straightforward book written to help write your own business book. So far I’ve scanned through from cover to cover and I know now the chunks where I can come back and follow the steps in detail as and when I get to that stage in my book writing. Easy and enjoyable to read as a bedside book, too. Thank you for writing this!' Karen Skidmore

'I’ve read lots of books on writing and getting your book out there and I still managed to get lots out of This Book Means Business. And this is the only book I’ve come across which specifically targets the business owner/professional who is writing a book as part of their business development plan.

What the book does particularly well is to lay down the writing process (including idea generation, how it will support your business, how to connect with readers after its publication) in small chunks.

If this is the first time you’re writing a book, TBMB will give you a very clear idea of all the steps involved – you can then identify what specific steps you will need further help or guidance with. And there are still plenty of ideas and inspiration here for the more experienced writer – as well as a reminder of those things we thought of long ago but never got round to…

Having listened to The Excellent Business Book podcast and taken part in one of Alison’s book proposal challenges, I can really hear the author’s voice coming through. It’s an honest book, it’s a clear book. And as Alison has drawn her inspiration from her podcast guests (as well as from her extensive career in publishing!) and knowledge of the business book landscape, you will find plenty of further reading suggestions for a wide range of business books.

I particularly welcomed the introduction to the "forced metaphor" technique and building a "boneyard".

As well as lots of ideas on how to use the book to generate business or complement your business services, Alison’s succinct language generates lots of examples of how to write in your own voice, as well as some great quotes:

“We’re wired to connect to individuals, not concepts.”
“Fear congratulates itself on keeping us safe by keeping us small.”

And the one I need to remember:

“You can do anything but you can’t do everything.”' Pilar

'An excellent resource for writing a book AND planning and thinking about your business, and what you want to achieve from writing a book. It's a realistic how to, that doesn't pretend it's easy but in offering helpful ideas and specific guidance, all in a very easy to read and digest format, it helps you see how you could write a book and avoid many of the pitfalls that other authors have experienced.
It's a pleasure to read and it makes you feel that writing a book is possible and positive, not just for your business but also for yourself in the process. It recognises that everyone is different and works in different ways so it offers a range of ideas that have been tried and tested by the authors that have been interviewed. It's refreshing, uplifting and packed with useful ideas and a good dose of inspiration.' R Byrne

'Given Alison’s experience and background, I knew this book would nail the practical side of writing a business book, and indeed it does with action points in every chapter to help you through that process.

What I was delightfully pleased to see as well is that this is as much a book about creating the vision, messaging and purpose of your business, and how writing a book will help shape that. It’s as much a strategic workshop as it is a book.

It is written with practical common sense, good humour and vulnerability which sums up Alison’s authentic voice as an author. So despite the title, even if you aren’t considering writing a business book, you will get an awful lot out of this gem.' Ruth B

'If your own business book ends up being as well thought through, beautifully written, and inspiring as this one, it will definitely have done its job. It's particularly good for how to use your book to grow your authority as a business owner, and for how to build a supportive community around both your business and your book. I felt a renewed sense of enthusiasm for writing my own book once I'd finished it.' Ginny Carter

'This is a superb book and if you are writing, or even just thinking about writing, a business book then you should have this to hand at all times. Everything you need to know is in here, whether you are new to the game or experienced and just want to have a sense check on what you've been doing this book is ideal. It answered all my questions in an accessible way and introduces you to many of the invaluable resources out there. Alison is open, honest and funny and the book is a pleasure to read as well as useful. I have spent a lot of time researching this subject over the last few months and gained information and guidance from a myriad of different sources, with this book you don't need to , everything you need is in one place.' S K Minchin

'I LOVED THIS BOOK! If you are thinking of, or writing a book then this is an ESSENTIAL read. It will help you strategically plan, write and promote your book leaving no stone unturned! It will enable you to create a rock solid foundation for a successful book. I especially loved the chapter about extroverts and introverts....and I really connected with ‘streaking’, that concept really works for me. This whole book is about the ‘back end’ of writing a book. It contains all of the knowledge that we often lack when starting to write. This is a fantastic resource that I will be referring to time and time again! Thank you Alison Jones for a spectacular read!' M. Hocking

'I would have posted my review earlier, but I kept being prompted into action – which, after all, is the purpose of this book. I found myself not just making notes, but planning out specific ideas that I can see working for my book and my business. I loved using the questions at the end of each short section to prompt my own ideas.

If writing is part of your business strategy – or if you want it to be – you’ll find specific, practical tips here, which will help you to make your book and your business grow together. Thoroughly recommended.' Clare Painter

'Unlike many people in business, I generally have an aversion to business books other than Dilbert or Lucy Kellaway. What I can't bear - and don't believe - is the idea that any one author has all the answers, or at least enough to hold my attention for 200 or so pages. This Book Means Business is a much better recipe for success, and has extracted top tips from over 100 people with a veritable salmagundi of experience and talent. Alison Jones is a master compiler and curator of case studies and, as a result, this book about business has fantastic practical and pragmatic value for anyone in the business of books, and beyond.' David L. Redmond-Roche

'Alison Jones nails the issue of how difficult it can be to write a book alone, when she says : “Writing alone is like drinking alone: it’s OK, but you don’t want to be doing too much of it."

Her book ‘This books means Business’ is an essential read for anyone wanting to write a business book and is unsure of how to start and complete the journey. Like a trusted friend she guides you through the whole process from start to finish and beyond, with expert authority, wisdom and above all humour! I devoured the book in one sitting as the structure is so devour-able and I sense I will be stealing the ‘street team’ idea for the launch of my own book this year!' Elaine Halligan

'A really accessible, practical read for anyone who wants to write their own business book. I love the way it is divided up into manageable chunks. I particularly liked how Alison looked at the different ways an extravert might approach writing a book as opposed to an introvert. A mine of useful information and insight.' Angelcoach

'I'm in the process of writing a business book at the moment and wish I'd had this book sooner! It contains a huge variety of ideas and tips meaning that while not everything is right for me, I'm sure that every budding business author will take away real value from its content.

The book is clearly divided up into 'before you start' and 'how to write' and the tips are easy to action with lots of useful exercises to make sure you write the right book and then squeeze every last drop of value out of it. There are brilliant suggestions for this and I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into my book again.

I wish I'd got the paper copy, rather than Kindle, as I wanted to be able to put post-its on the things I wanted to action and flick back and forth.' Alice Jennings

'Alison is a treasure trove of information for people who want to write a book that will build their business. Alison is a woman who walks the walk and talks the talk and I love this book. It is my handy go-to bible as I finish writing my book and she's got me thinking about things I haven't considered yet.

Want to write a business building book? Get this one!!' Yas

'I really like books that are pragmatic and helpful. Not just great ideas, but great practice. This book gives me exactly what I need to take me step by step to getting my book finished and out there. An excellent resource.

And any book that gets a joke about ‘premature articulation’ into the first chapter gets my attention.' Bluecraig99

'I really like books that are pragmatic and helpful. Not just great ideas, but great practice. This book gives me exactly what I need to take me step by step to getting my book finished and out there. An excellent resource.

And any book that gets a joke about ‘premature articulation’ into the first chapter gets my attention.' Richard Hall

'I really wasn't expecting to read this book in one go...

I bought it as I have been following Alison Jones's work for a while. It didn't disappoint - it was jam packed with really good ideas, tools, tips and inspiring stories of real people grappling with and succeeding at the book writing process. All this I expected. But I found that I just couldn't put it down! The short, bite-sized nuggets (it seems too much to call them chapters) were so interesting and easy to read that I found myself reading and reading, enjoying myself all the way to the end, when I should have been going to lunch. I ended up eating my sandwich at nearly 2pm, hungry because of the late lunch, but really full of ideas and inspiration!

I could have done with this book in 2011 when I wrote my first book. It's going to come in handy for book no 4. Thank you Alison. It's marvellous. If you're a potential reader, then do yourself a favour and grab a copy.' Dr Penny Pullen

'I've done plenty of professional writing, but creating a business book that works is a whole other challenge. I read this terrific book in one sitting, and it's sending me straight back to my own manuscript with ideas to move it forwards, improve it and get unstuck in difficult places. I'll be keeping it by my desk to return to again and again.

Alison Jones combines her decades of experience in bringing business books to life with compelling stories from writers and publishers. It's full of practical, usable advice as well as well-framed questions. She has a beautifully judged light yet knowledgeable style.

I'd highly recommend it for anyone who wants to frame and present their own specialist professional knowledge in book form. It won't tell you exactly how to structure it, or the details of how to build your email list, but it will give you an excellent understanding of what you need to consider and how to go about finding the answers that work for you. It's a good starting point, but it's also packed with of wise advice for anyone already down the road of writing or publishing.' Jo81

'Alison's book is full of practical help and advice to plan, write, publish and market your book. It is written in a clear and engaging voice and Alison's knowledge and intellect shine through. You are getting a taste of the magic of what it is like to work with Alison 1:1 in book form. She is there to hold your hand every step of the way and that is just what she is like in real life too! Highly recommended.' Lyn Bromley

'Full of practical advice to help people to write, publish and then market their business book. An invaluable resource. Highly recommended.' GoodReader

'If you are considering writing a book, and writing one to help you promote you and your business, look no further. Get a copy of this book today. Whether you are a seasoned writer or just starting out, you'll find loads of practical tips and wisdom here.

What I think I like the most is how half the book is devoted to planning and preparation. While you might be a little daunted at how much thinking has to go into a book, I can testify that it's an investment worth making and there are many baby steps to be taken. Every suggestion is well explained and simple to implement. This is a masterpiece that will help many an author. My only complaint is that it wasn't written ten years ago when I started!' Tom Evans


‘A worthy primer, a great place to start on your journey to make a business book that matters.’ – Seth Godin, author and blogger

‘In this comprehensive, well-researched and immensely helpful book, Alison Jones lays out everything you need to know about how to write the right book, in the right way, to drive business results. Whether you've toyed with the idea of writing a book for years, and never gotten off the starting line, or you've already written several books, but want to do it in a more pleasant, purposeful and high-impact way next time, this book is for you.’ – Amanda Setili, president, Setili & Associates business consulting, and author of Fearless Growth

‘Practical, insightful and incredibly useful. Alison Jones is the trusted friend everyone should have when writing a business book. Combining her unique connections and expertise in the worlds of writing, publishing and business-building, she writes with clarity, generosity and wit, distilling the best of her experience - and that of a whole host of successful business authors - into an incredibly useful guide for anyone looking to write a book that really works for their business.’ – Grace Marshall, Head coach, chief encourager and productivity ninja, author of How To Be Really Productive

‘What Alison Jones doesn't know about writing, publishing and marketing business books probably isn't worth knowing. Even if the cover price of this book were £100, you'd still be getting a bargain: the sheer volume of advice it contains will prove priceless to anyone thinking of writing a business book. It contains everything you need to know, and then some.’ – Scott Pack, author of How to Perfect Your Submission: Tips from a publisher

‘Alison’s book club is indeed extraordinary – in style, practical how-tos and sheer entertainment. I love it.’ – David Taylor, author of The Naked Leader

‘At last! The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook has a companion. Read them both. Do what they say. And be lucky.’ – Dr Andy Cope, author of Now That’s What I Call Leadership and The Art of Being Brilliant

‘Writing a book helps you share your ideas with the world - and become recognized for them in the marketplace. Alison Jones's informative new guide enables you to craft a meaningful work that will have a lasting impact on your business success.’ – Dorie Clark, author of Entrepreneurial You and Stand Out, and adjunct professor, Duke University Fuqua School of Business

‘Unlike many people in business, I generally have an aversion to business books other than Dilbert. What I can't bear - and don't believe - is the idea that any one author has all the answers, or at least enough to hold my attention for 200 plus pages. This Book Means Business is a much better recipe for success, and has extracted top tips from over 100 people with a veritable salmagundi of experience and talent. Alison Jones is a master compiler and curator of case studies and, as a result, this book about business has fantastic practical and pragmatic value for anyone in the business of books, and beyond.’ – David Roche, author, former President of the Booksellers Association, Chair of New Writing North and non-executive director of The London Book Fair

‘Writing a book is a big deal, but it’s not rocket science. In her podcast and in this book Alison has demystified the process by revealing exactly how dozens of successful authors have gone about it. This book is full of ideas that work: open it at any page and you’ll find something you can use.' – Patrick Vlaskovits, New York Times bestselling author of Hustle and The Lean Entrepreneur

‘Alison Jones brings her in-depth knowledge of business strategy to the topic of writing a business book, delving deep into the psychology of writing as well as providing tips and tactics on the practical side. A fantastic guide for those who want to take their business – and writing – to the next level.’ – Joanna Penn, bestselling author, podcaster, and award-winning creative entrepreneur,

‘Bad news: there are a lot of books on self-publishing. Great news: Alison's book is brilliant because it's not just about publishing your book - it's about growing yourself, your platform, your network, and your business around your book. Buy This Book Means Business right now and follow Alison's wise and detailed advice at every step. The book - and the business - you build will thank you for it!’ – David Newman, author of Do It! Marketing

‘Every now and then a new book gets released, and you find yourself facepalming while saying aloud, “Now, why couldn’t the author have written this 5 years ago?!” This is exactly the reaction I had to Alison’s This Book Means Business. It’s so jam-packed full of such vital information, any number of tips would have influenced my writing and publishing journey. Not only that, but Alison has built upon this with some incredible business insights from business giants across the globe. I can’t change the past, but this book will change my future writing career, that’s for sure.’ Robin Waite, author of Online Business Startup and Take Your Shot

‘This book is the total package! It's really not easy to find a book that covers both the "why" and the "how" of writing a business book – usually it's one or the other, and very often only the "how" in fact. Alison Jones's book covers both. The guidance she gives each step of the way is so detailed, it's amazing the amount of things you would overlook if you didn't have this book handy to support you on your writing journey. Indispensable!’ – Melissa Romo, Director of Global Content at Sage, author and publisher

'A business book needs to be valuable to the reader AND to the creator. In This Books Means Business, Alison Jones shows aspiring writers and entrepreneurs how to harness their knowledge to grow their business while also making something that readers will care about. A practical, valuable read.' – Nicholas Lovell,, author of The Curve

'This Book Means Business is the ideal read for anyone that has ever dreamt of writing a business book but didn't know where to start. By leveraging her extensive experience in the book publishing business with the insights and expertise provided by the guests of her weekly "Extraordinary Business Book Club" podcast, Alison has created a book that is not only highly inspirational, but the perfect blueprint for those looking for guidance along their journey.' - Barbara Gray, BradyCap


Format: Paperback

Size: 216 × 140 × 21 mm / 8.5 × 5.5 × 10.77 in

288 Pages

Copyright: © 2018

ISBN: 9781910056691

Publication: March 23, 2018

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