Episode 41: How Becoming An Author Can Enhance Your Brand with David Konkol
On today’s episode of Brandstorm, we welcome David Konkol, president of Konkol Custom Homes & Remodeling, LLC. As the author of the book Building Your Dream Home: What You Need To Know, David provides tips on how becoming a published author can enhance your brand.
About David Konkol
David is a licensed building contractor and has been crafting luxury custom homes, starting at $1 million, for over three decades in Central Florida. He became an author about 10 years ago, when a friend in the publishing world (and owner of a home David’s company built) asked David if he had ever considered writing a book. While David originally dismissed the idea, he was reminded that many people who write books aren’t writers themselves, such as presidents, CEO’s and athletes. His friend encouraged David to share his wealth of knowledge with the home building and home buying public, and even created a book outline from the list of his original questions he had when David built his home. David was then convinced that the book would save both his time in answering questions from customers and prospects, as well as his clients’ time, giving them added value. What David didn’t know was just how much business would be generated from the process, and how far apart his book would set him from his competition.
He points to two things his book does well: building trust and alleviating fears. He takes time within the pages to introduce himself and his background (including how long he has been married and how many children he has) as a way to present himself as an average person trying to do an exceptional job. As no other builder in his market has written a book, Building Your Dream Home showcases David as an expert in his field, spotlights his competence and strengthens his brand.
How Long Does It Take to Write a Book?
David explains that from start to finish, the process took approximately 14 months (working 10 hours per week) and that the only downside to writing the book was the family time he had to give up temporarily.
His process included carrying a three-ring binder wherever he went, with chapter titles listed on each page. This way, he could write down ideas as bullet points on the spot, whether he was on a job or working in his office. Those bullet points would then be dictated into a tape recorder, and the physical writing of the book would come from that content. He recommends this method because he found that the more he wrote, the more ideas he came up with and the more value and knowledge he could include within the book.
Working with a publisher would’ve added about six months to the entire process, David states. He equates about 35% of his time, from beginning to end, was spent writing the first draft, and that the key to self-publishing is to make the final product look as if it was produced by a publisher. Otherwise, a poor product can hurt your reputation and sales.
David says he was never interested in selling books, but instead, securing more homes to build for those he wouldn’t normally get in front of. He feels that the book provided him a reason to reach out to potential, current and former clients, and that it also gave people a reason to start or revisit their relationship with David. After printing the first edition of the book, David’s company couriered a copy to their top prospects. Within a matter of weeks, he had already gotten calls back from a few of these prospects to start the home building process.
He had also mailed copies to each home owner he had built for, asking them to forward the book on to anyone they know who could benefit from it. This spawned multiple unsolicited personal endorsements for David and his company. Though David does not make it a prerequisite for someone to read his book before working with him, he does mention to potential clients that the best homes and best processes of his career have come from projects requested by those who took the time to read the book.
He also sent copies of Building Your Dream Home to the top 35 competitors in his area. David mentions that he wasn’t worried about potential theft of ideas or methods. Instead, he feels the book sets up for people how the home building process should go, and if customers hear something different from another builder, they know to be skeptical.
Targeted book drops have also helped David’s company. Any homes marked for a major renovation or teardown near some of Orlando’s nicest lakes were provided a book. This process alone turned into a $4.3 million build eventually.
On top of these methods of distribution, David credits his well-trained staff with always asking callers or those taking home tours whether they’ve read David’s book. Over the phone, his staff arranges for a book to be dropped off the same day of their initial call, and in person, David is usually available on site to sign copies and meet new potential clients.
How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Book?
David says his investment was about $8,000 — including jacket design, editing and proofing — on the first copy. Every copy afterwards was at a cost of about $7, which David says is still less than a nice brochure. With every new edition, David changes out the cover art, updates home photos and modifies the content. This allows him to circle back with the owners he’s built for, as well as others that can help leverage him in his market.
With all of his success, David has already published a second book, In House: Designing Your Dream Home Room By Room, and he is on his way to writing his third soon.