For months, she wrote daily, at the only time she could – from 4:30 to 5:00 AM, before her three young daughters woke up, the workday beckoned, and the day galloped away from her. But as she crafted her book proposal, she realized she needed far more than a book to have the impact she hoped for: she needed a platform.
The process of writing her story became a springboard for so much more. In writing, Thompson came to articulate the powerful narrative of the scientific arc of food addiction and food recovery that she had been too deeply immersed in to see. This clear narrative allowed her to better communicate with all those in need of her help. It became her brand.
Soon after beginning to build her platform, Thompson realized she couldn’t afford to wait for her book to be picked up by an agent and a publisher – she had to help the people who were flocking to her now. So she created an eight-week online course and Bright Line Eating Solutions was launched. She had already been working one-on-one with dozens of people and had a team of alumni from her fledgling program coaching even greater numbers, but now she and her team formed the core of a company whose mission was crystal clear – to get one million people to goal weight by 2030.
Thompson’s story is unusual. Bright Line Eating had had a worldwide impact and she had 18 employees before her book proposal was ever accepted by a publishing house. But by then, publishers were chasing her down, offering her a deal she couldn’t refuse.
As the book’s publication date approached, Thompson enlisted the help of several specialized firms, including mine, to promote it. The resulting media coverage catapulted her to the cover of Woman’s World magazine and onto the pages of Marie Claire, Parade, Shape and Time – to name a few. She was interviewed multiple times on Fox News and CBS’s The Doctors. Each media appearance became fodder for an email newsletter to her growing online community, which in turn engaged greater numbers of clients and generated more book purchases. In March 2017, Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin and Free hit The New York Times Best Sellers list. And just recently, her second book, The Official Bright Line Eating Cookbook: Weight Loss Made Simple, hit The New York Times Best Sellers list as well.
Today, Bright Line Eating is a thriving company that has helped hundreds of thousands of people in more than 190 countries worldwide to lose weight and keep it off. In her community, 89% of the graduates of her online weight loss course maintain their weight loss (and/or continue to lose), and of those who’ve gotten down to goal weight, 84% are still there.
Thompson’s story is a stellar example of how a book and a business can go hand in hand. While the breadth of her success is fairly exceptional, her path is one that all entrepreneurs with expertise and a message to share can take. Others I have worked with include Sage Lavine, CEO of Women Rocking Business and author of – you guessed it – Women Rocking Business: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guidebook to Create a Thriving Life Doing the Work You Love, and Phuong Uyen Tran, deputy CEO of her family’s business, Tan Hiep Phat (THP) – Vietnam’s biggest public food and beverage company. Tran is the author of Competing with Giants: How One Family-Owned Company Took on the Multinationals and Won.
For Lavine, writing and promoting a book helped her solidify and grow her existing audience and reach over 100,000 women entrepreneurs worldwide. Tran’s journey as an author helped THP achieve its goal of establishing name recognition in the U.S. and helped Tran fulfill her own vision of becoming a sought-after public speaker here.
Common Themes on The Path to Publishing
Though each person’s publishing path will look different, there will inevitably be several points in common that entrepreneurial authors can leverage, learn and grow from.
- Writing a book will help you channel your ideas, gaining clarity around your own story – past, present and future.
- A book is a superb marketing tool. With clarity around your ideas, you can craft a crisp, cohesive narrative that your audience and customers will readily engage with. This narrative can trickle out into all of your marketing initiatives.
- A book is newsworthy. It can be easily publicized, earning you and your business media coverage that you might not otherwise have been able to secure. Media coverage builds visibility, increases brand awareness and brings access to new audiences.
- By positioning you as an authority, a book lends credibility and opens doors. Authors are often invited to give talks and are readily introduced to – and sought out by – new clients.
- Books have a long shelf life. All of the above will still be true two, five and even 10 years after your book has come out.
- Writing a book brings immense joy and satisfaction. For many, it fulfills a lifelong dream.