Some, but not all, of the products that information marketers or “infopreneurs” create from their books include Reports, Ebooks, Workbooks, Manuals, CDs, MP3 files, Podcasts, Videos, Home study courses, Talks, Teleclasses, Webinars, Live Seminars and Workshops, Coaching, and Mentor/Mastermind Programs.
I’m sure many of you have bought some of these “information products”. Because that’s what your book is: an information product.
So how do you create this profit pyramid? That is, if you choose to go this route…
First, survey your ideal reader/target market to determine in what format they prefer to learn. Some people prefer written, some audio, some video. We learn in what’s called visual, auditory, or kinesthetic media. A visual learner would prefer to read a book or workbook. An auditory learner likes MP3s and teleclasses. And a kinesthetic learner would enjoy videos and live presentations or one-on-one coaching.
Plan your next product or service after your book to offer the information you have to share in the way that best fits your readers and your subject matter. For how-to and self-help information, workbooks and seminars are ideal. For specialized knowledge, videos or coaching might be best.
Create a one-year plan to develop your line of products and services as you turn your book into a business—to serve more people and create more profits.
Andrea Susan Glass
PS. If you’ve benefited from my emails and/or gotten value from my services, please tell a friend or associate. My business grows by word of mouth, and I don’t often ask you for referrals! But if you know someone who’s struggling to get their book or ebook done, send them my way.
PPS. I’ll be speaking at the Vista library on Monday, December 5 from 6:30-7:45 pm on Writing Ebooks. If you’re in the North San Diego County area, come by and bring a friend! www.WritersWay.com/press
Continuing with the book is your business model, I’ve categorized three paths to take your book and expand it to a full business where you have a better chance of gaining profits. Some people do make a profit with one book or ebook, but not the majority. So expanding beyond the one book is the best way to create an added income stream.
The first one I call the horizontal path: an example would be Chicken Soup for the Soul or the For Dummies books; you take a theme and write books on different subject areas with the same format: So you have Chicken Soup for the pet lovers, golf lovers, military, etc. You have the For Dummies format in a variety of non-related subject areas like wine, computers, and singing. Novelists with a recurring character would also be on the horizontal path. In other words, you’re building a franchise based on a similar format or character but on different subjects or situations. In this model you’d have different target markets or readers.
The second I call the vertical path. In this one you would write on the same general subject, such as pets, but on different niche topics like: how to buy your first pet; how to make homemade dog food; how to raise show cats, etc. Or your topic could be health and you could have a book on nutrition, a book on exercise, a book on weight loss—different focuses in the same overall subject. For novels, a vertical path would be a subject like time travel, but each story would be different characters. So in this model, you’d have the same target market or readers who are interested in your subject.
The third path is where you write on the same subject but create different formats. For example, I wrote a report on how to write and sell ebooks. Then I wrote an ebook, taught a live class, and I plan to also have an audio, a workbook, a home study course, a teleclass, and perhaps a retreat—all on the same subject. So in this scenario, you would add additional products and services to create what I call a profit pyramid offering your products as well as services to the same market on the same topic. You’re turning one book into a business by taking the same information and duplicating it in different formats since people learn differently.
Can you think of how you can turn your book into a business? Let me know in the comment area on my blog.
Andrea Susan Glass
PS. I’m offering a complimentary 17-minute consultation to help you figure out which of these paths works for you. Please contact me at www.writersway.com/contact to set up an appointment. This offer is good through January 31, 2012.
Welcome to the fabulous fall. I hope you’re all adjusting well to the weather changes. I know life is about to get crazy with holiday madness, but I’ll keep on sending you great ideas to keep you motivated with your writing goals! I know with business a bit slower during the holidays, I have more time for my own writing projects. So, if you’re so inclined, take your laptop when visiting family, and if you’re not into the ballgames, get into your writing!
This month I’d like to discuss how your book is your business. Like it or not, the majority of authors, whether self published or traditionally published, are in business!
Especially as a self published author, you’re a writer, designer, printer, publisher, bookkeeper, marketer, distributor, and CEO. You’re running a small publishing company. If you’re traditionally published, you’re pretty much all of those except the designer, printer, distributor, and publisher. You still need to keep track of your sales and royalties, pay your taxes, and manage your marketing campaign, since traditional publishers rarely do a lot of marketing for their authors.
In either situation, few authors glean huge profits from one book or even several. A recent study I found indicated that most books sell less than 500 copies. OUCH! Most best selling authors often have a franchise: in fiction it’s novelists like Nora Roberts who often writes trilogies or James Patterson who has a recurring character in his books. In nonfiction, it’s the Chicken Soup for the Soul or For Dummies franchises.
As long as you’re in business anyway, why not start looking at this as a business.
The first thing you must do is determine why you’re writing a book or books? What is your primary goal? And as a business, what is your primary goal? Is it to share your wisdom, teach a skill, build your business, or create a new income stream?
From your answer to these questions, your next step is to decide if you want to treat this as a business or if you’re happy writing one book. Or you may want to write whatever you feel like writing with no goal of having them connected to each other and building a business.
That’s fine. That’s your choice. But if you would like to look at writing books as a business, for whatever reason you choose, then stay posted for some great ideas!
Andrea Susan Glass
PS. If you’re just getting started on your first book, I’d love to help. Take a look at my services at www.writersway.com/services. For the months of December and January, I’m offering a 10% discount on all services! Take advantage of this rare offer!
Editors, copyeditors, and proofreaders all work with written materials to make them the best they can be. The terms editor and copyeditor are synonymous, although “editor” can also mean a book editor who works at a publishing company and shepherds an author’s book through initial stages all the way to publication.
What copyeditors do is work from the most complex level to the simplest, which I’ll explain shortly. Proofreaders are usually the last person to see the book, ebook, or report before it goes to print and mostly looks for typographical errors.
I’ll use the term “copyeditor” from here on because that covers the full spectrum of print editing. Let’s start at the simplest level first.
A simple or light edit covers spelling, punctuation, grammar, word usage, repetition, consistency in capitalization, numbers, abbreviations, contractions, style, and format. At this level, someone who excelled in English can help writers who weren’t top English students.
A medium to heavy (or substantive) edit includes everything in a light edit as well as fact checking, permissions, minor rewrites for passive writing and better clarity, flow, jargon, sexism, and more. This level requires a lot of experience in both seeing the detail and the big picture of the book or report, etc.
A developmental editor often gets involved at the beginning of the project to work with the author on creating the book, ebook, article, etc. so it starts off and continues to a satisfying conclusion. The developmental editor becomes the author’s partner in building a successful product.
Which type of editor do you think you need?
Find out in my next installment.
P.S. Just a quick reminder that I offer a variety of coaching options if you need some support in getting started or completing your book or ebook. Check them out at www.writersway.com/services.
Okay, you’ve decided you need a ghostwriter. You want to write your book, you’ve admitted you need help, and you need a ghostwriter. You want to find the right person. So how do you choose a ghostwriter?
In most cases when seeing a new service provider, you often start with a referral. So ask around and see if anyone you know has used a ghostwriter or knows of one. You can also attend writing organization meetings or meetups and see if there are any ghostwriters present. Check the organization’s website and review the members. For example, I’m a member of Publishers & Writers of San Diego (www.publisherswriters.org) and our website lists the members. And like most anything you’re looking for these days, you can do an Internet search. I’m surprised how many people find me online in the morass of my competitors. I must be doing something right.
So now you’ve found a few ghostwriters. What’s next? First, you’ll want to review their website if they have one and get a sense of what they do and how competent and experienced they seem. Then send them an email or call them on the phone. I prefer to set up phone or in-person appointments so we don’t play too much telephone tag.
Remember that you’ll be in a long-term relationship (at least three months or more) with this person, so you have to not only feel they’re an excellent writer, but that you share similar values, like honesty, good communication, reliability, and keeping agreements. This is what’s important to me. I get very frustrated when my clients continually break appointments or worse, don’t even show up. Or when they don’t return emails or phone calls!
I suggest interviewing two to three ghostwriters, get samples of their work, and check a few references. It’s best if you can meet in person, but if not have at least two phone calls. Then let your head and your heart have a conversation and make your choice. Also when you sign a contract, make sure there’s an easy way out in case it isn’t working. I have that in all my contracts.
Here’s to a successful working relationship with your ghostwriter of choice and to a fabulous book!
PS. Please contact me about your ghostwriting needs. If I’m not the right person for you, I have quality referrals. (www.WritersWay.com/contact)
In some cases, a ghostwriter may write the whole book, in some cases parts of the book. The ghostwriter may do all the research or some of it. The ghostwriter may work on his/her own or in partnership with the “author”.
How you work with a ghostwriter will be customized to your needs. When I start working with a new author, I send them a questionnaire to get some basic information such as what their book is about, what their motivation for the book is, who their target reader is, and how much information they have gathered for the book.
The answers to these questions will determine how we proceed. If you are a new author and all you have is an idea for a book, we would sit down in person, or over the phone or skype, and discuss the answers to these questions as well as whether or not you want to self publish or seek a publisher. We’d talk about your budget and timeline.
Once we’ve established answers to these questions, we can set up the process and schedule. I like to estimate three to six months to complete a 150-200 page book. It could take less time, it could take more. It’s often up to the author as they usually have a business to run and other activities generally take priority. That is, unless you have a strong motivation to finish your book sooner, say because you’ll be speaking or attending a convention.
We work together by phone to check in regularly as you write a chapter or send me content to write the chapter. Then I send it back to you to review while I move on to the next chapter. Or in some cases, you write all the chapters and send them to me to flesh out or polish up, or I write all the chapters and send them to you to review and add and delete as the case may be.
In most cases working with a ghostwriter is a partnership, so it’s important to have a good working relationship. I’ll talk about how to choose a ghostwriter in the next installment, so stay posted.
Suppose you want to write an article, newsletter, or column because you have expertise to share and you want to attract new business by getting this information out to potential customers. But you hate to write, you’re not a very good writer, or you just can’t find the time.
These are circumstances when you might need a ghostwriter. Let’s look at each of these reasons in more detail. Okay, you were never good in English, your high school English teacher cringed when you handed in papers, and you were never a big reader. You preferred the Cliff notes or the DVD. Writing is not everyone’s cup of tea. Most people either hate to write or love it—and a few are in between; they do it because they have to. So if you hate to write but you really would love to have articles or even a book about your experiences or your expertise, you need a ghostwriter.
Now if you do enjoy writing, but for some reason everything you write sounds like it came from your 4th grader—let’s face it, you may not have the skills or talent. Not everyone does. I wouldn’t be in business as a ghostwriter and copyeditor if everyone was good at writing. You also may not know how to get started writing a book, as the whole process can be overwhelming. A ghostwriter can walk you through the process, hold your hand, encourage you, keep you on track, and do all or some of the writing for you or fix what you’ve written.
The most common reason I’ve found that someone needs a ghostwriter is they don’t have the time, can’t find the time, or won’t make the time. Take your pick. I’m not saying they’re making excuses, but they have busy lives, they can’t focus, they get distracted, they want to have a book yet can’t seem to make it a priority in their life. A lot of would-be authors don’t know if they’ll make any money on their book, so they find it hard to put it as a priority.
However, they want the book, so they need a ghostwriter. What I do is make weekly appointments with my authors and make sure they carve out time each week to work on their book. I hold them accountable and help them keep their commitments. I have a successful track record of guiding over 100 individuals through the process of completing their books—whether they hate to write, can’t write well, or couldn’t find the time.
Let me help you through your writing challenges. Sign up for my complimentary session at www.WritersWay.com/contact.
PS. Your comments are greatly appreciated. When you comment on a blog, you create a link back to your website! It’s a win for everyone.
When I mention I’m a ghostwriter, some people get that glazed look in their eyes and say, “Oh. That’s interesting.” I know they want to ask me what a ghostwriter does but don’t want to appear ignorant. And some people say, “That’s great. I’ve never met a ghostwriter. What exactly do you do?”
So to clear up the mystery and mystique of us ghostly creatures, I thought I’d talk about ghostwriters this month. Though I probably should have waited until October to fit in with Halloween. Oh well, anyway, here goes.
So what does a ghostwriter do? What a ghostwriter does is write something for another person under that other person’s name. That way the book, article, column, etc. appears to have been written by the person whose name is on the book, etc. but it was primarily written by the ghostwriter.
The person who hires the ghostwriter has something to say and for whatever reason needs someone else to put it into words. Words are the tools of the ghostwriter. They take the ideas from the person’s head, from research, or other written materials and formulate the finished product: book, article, etc.
The ghostwriter may write the whole book or parts of the book. The ghostwriter may do all the research or some of it. The ghostwriter may work on his/her own or in partnership with the “author”. The ghostwriter may get credit as co-author, editor, or in the acknowledgments as some sort of help. Or there may be no mention at all of the ghostwriter.
Generally the ghostwriter gets paid up front for the job, but in some instances the author may negotiate a partial payment with partial royalties. Each situation is unique.
When I work with an author, I customize my agreement and process to the individual and it’s different in each case. Find out more about my ghostwriting services at www.WritersWay.com/services.
PS. PLEASE feel free to leave comments. I love to know someone is reading these articles! 😉
I know, it seems overwhelming. How can I write a 100-200 page book if I’ve never written one before? Well, there’s a first time for everything.
This is how you start…
You have the author motivation, maybe to share an area of expertise with as many people as possible. As an example, say it’s “how to overcome obesity”. Then you have the reader motivation for buying your book, maybe to “learn how to drop two pounds per week in a healthful manner, and keep it off”.
So, your book will take the reader from where they are when they buy the book—they can’t seem to lose weight—to where you want them to be when they’re finished reading the book: learning a healthy lifestyle plan to lose two pounds per week and keep it off.
Also, by the end of the book you want to make sure you’ve achieved the author motivation: to share your expertise. If for example, you specialize in devising vegetarian diets to overcome obesity, you’ll want to showcase that expertise in the book and have links to your website throughout the book. And, you’ll want information on your services and how to contact you at the end of the book.
This is the way you create your outline or table of contents for the book: taking the reader through the journey from where they are to where you want them to be.
When your book is done—and believe me, some authors never feel their book is done—you’ll have achieved the author and reader motivations. As a copyeditor, along with finding grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors, I confirm that the author has met these two goals.
And PLEASE, always get your book edited—with a professional copyeditor, not your spouse or next-door neighbor, although I’m sure they’re very competent.
If you’re sharing expertise, building your brand, wanting passive income—any of these great goals—you want a well edited book that meets the needs of a defined target audience, your readers!
PS. Please contact me for your free 20-minute consultation where I will help you with any editing or writing challenges. www.writersway.com/contact
I always like to begin a book project by asking my clients to clarify their two motivations:
1) the author motivation: why do you want to write this book or ebook?
2) the reader motivation: why will your readers buy this book or ebook?
Let me clarify what these mean:
Author motivation can include a variety of goals such as:
- make passive income
- share my expertise
- solve a problem
- spread my message
- promote my name and brand
- do what I love
- enjoy the prestige of being an author
You may have another motivation or several, so think about what it is, and write it down. As you move through the process of writing a book or ebook and confront challenges or distractions, you need to connect with your motivation to keep your forward momentum. (Don’t even think you won’t have distractions!)
Reader motivation has to be strong enough for someone to take out their credit card and click BUY NOW! Some might be:
- need a solution to a problem
- want more information on a subject
- desire to learn a new skill
- inspiration, guidance
- entertainment, escape
Why do you buy books? Why would someone buy your book, instead of someone else’s? This needs to be a strong WHY! Or you won’t achieve your author motivation.
So before you sit down to write your book or ebook, dig down and determine the author and reader motivation. Write these down and keep them where you can see them near your computer. They’ll keep you focused and pumped up any time you get writers’ block, overwhelm, or fear!
By the way, I have accountability coaching programs to keep you on track. Check them out at www.writersway.com/services.
PS. If you live in the San Diego area, I’ll be speaking on Monday, May 23, at the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild. My topic is Turn Your Book into Your Business. The meeting runs from 6:30 to 8:30 pm and is at 3851 Rosecrans St. Visit www.sdwritersguild.org for additional information. Would love to see you there!
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