If you want to get somewhere, you need a map. That’s why when my wife Laurie (yes, that’s right, she’s Laurie Lauria) suggested that I publish an eBook on my experiences getting money back from big companies, I immediately turned to Mindjet’s MindManager to map the project. My relationship with Mindjet began in 1999 when Laurie showed me an article about mind mapping software she found in an airline magazine. She had seen me hand-drawing mind maps that I used to enhance my creativity for problem solving. She recognized that since I was both an engineer and a writer, a software tool that would allow me to use both my left brain and right brain would be quite beneficial.
So with her encouragement, I began my journey to publish How to Get Your Money Back From Big Companies. And as Simon says (Simon Sinek that is), it starts with why. Why do you want to publish an eBook? Here are some of the reasons I believe a person should take that route.
1. You Have Something of Value to Say
For me, as an experienced business executive, I wanted to provide a guide to average consumers on how to get their money back for poor products and botched customer service. The first step was to map who my audience might be, a.k.a. the potential customers for my book. And as with any value proposition, if you don’t answer the question most customers ask themselves — “What’s in it for me?” (WIIIFM) — they’ll simply tune you out.
2. To Have an Outlet for Your Creative Expression
A mind map starts you on the path of creativity. It allows you to fill in the blanks (“map the gap” if you will) in a non-linear fashion, providing a living document of ideas for future development. I have used mind maps to develop content for multiple media outlets. For example, a blog post turned into an article, which became a PowerPoint presentation, which spawned a video, that ended up inspiring a radio interview, which is now an eBook.
3. To Become a Recognized Subject Matter Expert (Dare I Say Thought Leader?)
It is often said that the best way to learn something is to prepare to teach it. By mapping the trends in your field and what other experts are saying, you can synthesize these ideas and create your own view of the subject. Mind maps are powerful tools to deconstruct and re-engineer the other books in your genre. Who is their audience? What do they say that makes the same points as you? How are they different? How is your message unique?
4. To Build Your Brand as an Author
As a writer you are a storyteller, a mind map will help you list the points you need to make in order to tell your story so it will spread. One of the most important parts of this is to leverage platforms, like Mindjet’s Maps For That, that you can use to promote your book. I will cover the use of mind mapping around platforms more extensively in a future blog post.
5. To Learn How to Publish Multiple Titles
When I mapped ideas presented by other eBook publishers, I heard time and again that the way to make money publishing was to have as many titles available as possible. The maps I created during the process have become the source material for other books. And if you want to know what your next book should be about, engage your readers and map what they say they want to see from you next.
6. To Generate Income
If this is your intent, you have to treat your publishing like a business: setting sales goals, tracking expenses, and using analytics to understand what marketing tactics are working and which ones are not. Of course eBook sales may only be part of the revenue you can derive from publishing. Map other income streams like consulting opportunities, speaking engagements, apps, and anything else a subject matter expert might provide. And don’t underestimate the value of the email list you build that can be used to sell other people’s products and services.
In future blog posts, I will discuss how mind mapping can be used to actually write the eBook, for cover design, choosing the right distribution, retail and other strategic partners, and using various platforms to get the word out about your eBook. In the meantime, please feel free to download the map version of this post.
Jim Lauria is a senior executive in the water technology field with a proven track record of revenue growth, profit improvement and new business development. He is an avid mind mapper who uses maps to navigate his way throughout life. He has just released his latest book “How to Get Your Money Back From Big Companies”, a guide to getting restitution for botched customer service and defective products. If you would like to contact Jim, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org