Stay Committed to Your Book, Even if it Takes Years, Author Says
Non-profit organizations may have different goals than for-profit companies, but they still have a brand that is either working for or against them. Michele Levy works with these groups to understand their brand and how to define, refine and promote it to support their mission.
She also wrote the book on how to do it right. In Building Your Brand, A Practical Guide for Nonprofit Organizations, Levy, a consultant and speaker, guides nonprofit leaders through the process of creating a brand that will help them reach their organizational goals more efficiently and effectively.
Why did you decide to write a book?
I had a lot of content based on my work with clients and people seemed hungry for it. I found that nonprofit leaders and boards didn’t always understand the concept of a brand or how they could take control and use their brand. There wasn’t anything quite like this guide out there. Personally, it’s an opportunity to introduce myself and build on my reputation.
By far the hardest part was finding the time to write. I had a good sense of the structure and what I wanted to say, but I took a full-time job shortly after I decided to write it, I have an active volunteer life, and I have a family. This book was actually written over several years.
How did you overcome that challenge?
My solution was binge writing. I’m not someone who can get up at 5 a.m. and bang out a few pages. I needed to seclude myself for hours and write chapters at a time. Even though I wasn’t able to do it as quickly as I had initially expected, I remained committed to getting it done.
How did you decide on the structure of the book?
Setting up the book was relatively easy. There is a process to how I work with my clients and I followed that. I kept it simple and basically explained things the way I do to the people with whom I work. That way, it answers questions the reader may have and provides a succinct guide for them to use.
How has the book been successful?
It has been challenging to market the book given my current time constraints. However, it has been useful to have to show potential clients what I do. It’s really a validation of my expertise. And people are finding it, reading it and reaching out to me. The reviews have been terrific, and people have found it helpful…which was one of my key goals.
How did you publish the book?
I worked with a company that publishes business books for a fee. They provided the design and layout of the book and handled making it available on Amazon, getting it into bookstores, etc. It was a convenient alternative to completely publishing it on my own.
What’s your advice to someone contemplating writing a book?
Be sure you want to do it… it’s a lot of work!! Also, be clear about what you hope to get out of it; that will help you stay motivated. You also need to surround yourself with a good support system. It really helps to have a good editor and a good proofreader, and a couple of friends who continue to ask you how it’s going. That’s quite the motivator!
Learn more about Michele Levy’s approach to brand building at brand-strat.com.