Building Your Personal Brand Without A Blog – 2 of 3

Yesterday I started a post about personal branding without a blog and realized that it was going to be too long… so I turned it into a three-part series 🙂 Yesterday’s post was on writing articles. Today’s is to…

Write a Book

Stop laughing… I’m serious! This is entirely possible, even for you (I’m saying that for the people that are disregarding this idea and saying “no way, not me!”)

I’m not just saying this because I’m wrapping up my book I’m on LinkedIn – Now What??? As I’ve spent time with authors over the last year I’ve been amazed that these are just regular people with a passion. You just need to have an idea (I’m sure you have one), the discipline and a publisher.

The Idea: I’m sure you have a dozen ideas, and have probably even said once “I’m going to write a book on … ” So, what do you know about? What can you be passionate about?

The Discipline: In January I was dining with Thom Singer (and some other bloggers). He was working on his second book and he gave me excellent advice, something like “spend 45 minutes every day writing something. By the end of three months you’ll have your book.” I started my book a few months later and regretted not following that advice right when he said it… I felt that if I would have followed it I would have been able to get my book out a lot earlier. I’ll tell you right now, if you have an idea, sit down and start writing, each day, and you’ll make progress!

The Publisher: This is actually the easy part. There are four ways that I know about doing this.

  • The hard way, where you write a proposal, need an agent, and probably get an advance. I’ve been totally intrigued by my friends Penelope Trunk, Alexandra Levit, Susan Strayer, Anita Bruzzese and others who have gone this route. What I have learned about their trek with a publisher is that the process is hard, seemingly impossible for someone like me. But it works, and it works out. Each of these four ladies have benefited greatly, I’m sure because they had a big-name publisher.
  • The too-easy way, by self-publishing. You can write your book, go to or, and have your book in print on demand. I’m not sure but I think that this is just a step up from an eBook (more on that in a second), and I’m not sure how traditional channels view this type of published book. I won’t think any less of you if you go this route but for some reason I have in my mind that this isn’t the best route if your are serious about having your brand reinforced.
  • The almost book, the eBook. I love the eBook idea, but I’ve had a hard time with it because I like to read away from the computer (and mark up my book). If it’s long I want to put a bookmark in it… and reading a big paper on my screen just bugs me. I thought I was unique, and then I read a post from famous blogmaster Liz Strauss wrote 7 Reasons eBooks Are Losing Readers. Now, I’m certainly not knocking ebooks… my book is available in ebook format. And there are other excellent ebooks out there (Liz Handlin has one on Interview Tips and another on Ultimate Cover Letters, and Career Hub has put out three awesome free ebooks on interviewing, resume writing and the job search)
  • What I chose, the “Happy About” publisher. Many have asked me who is publishing my book, and what my experiences have been. My experiences have been excellent so far. It’s not over yet, and it is a HUGE job doing what I’m doing. My publisher keeps reminding me that the hard part is marketing, which we really haven’t started yet. If you have a book idea, I strongly encourage you to reach out to Mitchell at Happy About and pitch your idea. You don’t need an agent, and I don’t know what the details of your agreement will be, but it seems to be an extremely fair (and out of the box) relationship compared to other publishers that I’ve heard about.

Now let me clarify one thing here… I am most certainly not knocking any of the methods above. I’ve come to some of these conclusions based on information I got at dinner with Scott Allen and Thom Singer (so blame them :p). Here are two things to consider:

  1. When I asked them whether I should do an ebook, self-publish or go with a publisher they said, hands down, go with the publisher. They said that the Harvard Business Review (or whoever those folks are) will not do a book review on an ebook or self-published book… I’m not sure if that’s entirely accurate but it sounded logical to me. While I doubt my book will be reviewed by them, it seems to add more validity by having it published by a publisher.
  2. The purpose of this post is to share ideas on how to build your personal brand without blogging. Even though there are better and less-better ways of going the book route, I think that anything along these lines is excellent. In other words, if all you can do, because of time or energy, is to put out one (or more) ebooks, then GO FOR IT! You can still say you are “author of.” Check out my new e-mail signature:

Jason Alba
:: Owner
:: Blog
:: Author – I’m on LinkedIn – Now What???
:: pre-order it here:
:: Career Management || Personal Relationship Management

Wouldn’t it be cool to put “author” in your e-mail signature? What would that do for your personal brand? What’s your book going to be on, and when can I review it on my blog???

Update: Part I is here, Part III is here 🙂

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16 thoughts on “Building Your Personal Brand Without A Blog – 2 of 3”

  1. Hi Jason

    I’m very cool 😉 On my personal sig it does say: author of….
    (Went the POD way, it is a real book – paperback – and not very easy as you make it out to be, plus also the E-book way)

    Karin H. (Author of “The Kiss Business, The ‘Keep It Simple Sweetheart’ principle in business”)

  2. Jason, it must have been Scott who said “definately” go with a publisher….as I created my own publishing company (along with a couple of friends). I prefer this method, as since I am not a celebrity who gets a huge advance and a lot of immediate media attention, I make the money/profit (not the publisher). If done well, you can create a great book by publishing it yourself.

    I just needed to clarify on your above #1 quote about when you asked us…cuz I would not have said it like that. Although, I would have told you not to only do an ebook, as I think a real book still is the standard.

    That being said, I think that all the methods are good depending on your individual situation and the deal you can get with the publisher. I know people who have got their books done one way, then switched for a future book (or sold their self-published book to a big publisher later). I would gladly work with a New York Publishing house for a fair deal. I will certainly create more books via my own company. I think I could see using LuLu or other online publishing and ebooks for smaller projects in the future. And I would happily write for “Happy About” on a project.

    Your message about just writing (oh that was my message)….is correct. Do not worry if it is perfect, that is what the editing process is all about. Just get your vision out of your brain and onto paper (or in the computer!).


  3. Great series. I’m loving it. It’s been really interesting to read some different ideas about publishing a book lately. Seth Godin says, do an eBook. You and others say, go with a publisher. I think, in the end, a lot of your decision will have to do with 1) your network 2) your work ethic 3) your idea and 4) your audience, but it seems to differ among authors which one of these is the biggest deciding factor.

  4. Karin – yes, you are very cool 🙂 By no means do I want my thoughts to degrade anyone for choosing one method over another, as I realize there are circumstances where it might make sense to do one over another. Actually, I’m surprised that I didn’t get more people write back and disagree with the post.

    Thom – whether you said it, or Scott, or I just made it up in my mind, the logic works for me. I knew that you had your own publishing company but I really don’t know what that means, and as far as I’m concerned you have “a publisher,” right? Of all the things that I’ll remember years from now, it will be your advice to just sit down and work on it daily. Excellent!

    Tiffany – great point – Seth has some great eBooks that he spends some money on to get such cool formatting (if you (my dear reader) don’t know what I’m talking about, go download a Seth Godin eBook – they are very cool). I think that if I were as big and popular as Seth, and had whatever business model he had, AND had the cult following that he has (not just faithful but huge), it wouldn’t matter if he wrote his next book on a bathroom wall in a train station in NYC. It would still be a hit. I’m glad you listed out those four factors though, I didn’t and they make a lot of sense.

  5. Damn! I did it again! Sent only half a message! (This is what happens when your fingers move faster than your brain).

    OK, here’s what I mean to say…check out my blog ( and read “A Recovering Amazoniac”…this is an IMPORTANT part of publishing a book that ALL authors need to be aware of….

  6. Hi Anita

    LOL! Just went over to read your post. Hope you’re recovering wholeheartedly from it 😉

    And for the others: DO read Anita’s post.

    Karin H.

  7. Karin, I agree, that is an excellent post about being an Amazoniac… I would just like to say, oh wait, I need to get check my Amazon stats. Be back later :p

    – j

  8. Yeah…I’m doing much better. Now, intead of spending so much time checking my ratings, I’m spending it checking my blog traffic. See? Told you I was much better….


  9. Hi Jason,

    Darlene McDaniel told me about your series. I just self published my first book entitled “Shift Change.” It’s the first in a series. It’s a book of encouragement and solutions to the many issues that law enforcement officers and their families face. It wasn’t easy, but, I found myself writing everyday until it was done. When you “really” have a passion for something, it’s hard not to write. (just my opinion)There were days when I had to pull my car over to the side of the road and jot down a few notes because I had just thought of another idea for the book and I didn’t want to forget it. Check out my blog ( and my book’s website ( Keep up the good work! You’re helping more people then you probably realize.

    Eugene Fields, Jr.

  10. Jason,

    I think a key ingredient in any of the methods you mentioned is editing… When you get someone else as a publisher, they make sure the work is well edited. If you self-publisher (POD or e-book) or start your own company, _you_ have to be sure to engage an editor.

    I was fortunate to find a local semi-retired writer/editor to help me with The LinkedIn Personal Trainer.


  11. Like everyone else feels I’m sure, there is a writer in me. Probably the only difference is I’d like to write children’s or pre-teen books. Books that would help the young in today’s world. Is it a lot harder to get books published for children, or to find a publisher who would work with you on such books.

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