Write a Book to Build a Reputation

Gert Boyle's autobiography personifies the Columbia Sportswear brand and her persona has been at the center of the apparel company's award-winning ad campaigns.Presidential candidates write books to generate buzz and build their reputations. You can, too.

Researching and writing a book can seem daunting. It isn't easy, but it isn't impossible either.

Here are four examples from my list of friends and colleagues:

Scott Ferris, who by day is a lobbyist covering a number of western states, has converted his passion for politics into a book about failed presidential candidacies and their lasting legacies. His first book will be published just before the Iowa presidential caucuses next February. He already is at work on book number two.

  • Former Oregon Rep. David Edwards left the legislature, sold his successful research business and started a new career as a film producer by writing an original science fiction screenplay and accompanying novella. Filming on his movie starts this summer in Portland. Edwards is working on a series of small novels, including a prequel to his first film, which he hopes will be a commercial success.
  • James Hoggan, founder and owner of Hoggan & Associates, a Vancouver, B.C., PR firm, is writing his third book, tentatively titled "Duped," which describes how the public relations industry has betrayed public trust. His first two books dealt with PR best practices and the battle for truth in the climate change debate. Hoggan's writings have shifted the focus of his PR firm to what he calls "thought leadership."
  • Former CFM colleague Kerry Tymchuk parlayed his writing skills for political figures into a series of books he co-authored, including two on political humor with former Senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole and biographical works about Gert Boyle ("One Tough Mother') and Al Reser ("No Small Potatoes"). Boyle's book personsified the Columbia Sportswear brand and the book about Reser captured the spirit of an avid "Beaver Believer" who turned a homemade potato salad recipe into a food processing powerhouse. Tymchuk now is interim director of the Oregon Historical Society.

Whether you write to satisfy a passion, address a problem or relate a legacy, a book can be a satisfying and successful tool in a larger public affairs plan – to convey a brand, build a reputation or market a point of view.

If Yogi Berra can write a book ("I Really Didn't Say Everything I Said"), you can write a book. As Yogi said, "You can observe a lot by watching."