I like to find new ways each year to set my goals. Sometimes I write them in a journal. At other times I create vision boards. I’ve gone on New Year’s retreats where I meditated, hiked, and listened for guidance as to what goals to set and how to achieve them. And I’ve gotten together with a friend where we set goals together.
My primary intention each year is to discover effective methods and tools to achieve my goals. It’s frustrating to set them and not see them come to light.
Today, with the ease of self-publishing and e-publishing, you have no reason not to achieve your writing goals—if you keep them simple to start. If it’s to get your first book written, get clear about your intentions. Why do you want to write the book and who will buy it? What obstacles do you see ahead of you?
I can help you overcome just about any obstacle in creating your book. Believe me, I’ve heard and seen them all. The biggest obstacle is time! Don’t I know that? If you say you don’t have the time, why not talk your book? We speak approximately 180 words/minute and there are 300 words/page in a typical book, so you could potentially speak one page in two minutes. I just tried it and I spoke 200 words in one minute. Now, if you spoke for one hour you could potentially create 30 pages of content. In just four hours, you’d have a 120-page book. Could you find four hours to speak your book?
After that you’d get it transcribed and then do the editing (or send it to me to edit it). Or you could speak into a word recognition program like Dragon Naturally Speaking. As for publishing it as an ebook, I recently discovered www.2epub.com which quickly and easily converts your Word doc into an ebook. Then you upload it at Kindle and Barnes and Noble, and you’re off and selling.
Andrea Susan Glass
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!
One way other than selling books that writing can be profitable is when you make it a business. As a ghostwriter and copyeditor, I write and edit books and e-books and make money whether or not the books sell. I also sell my own products, but writing as a business suits me better and provides a steadier income.
Is a writing business right for you?
Starting a writing business vs writing your own books doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. As in my case, I write for others for a living, and write for myself for a loving. I expect to make a profit with each!
If you do decide to start a writing business, you have several choices to make. First is which service you’ll provide: ghostwriting, copyediting, proofreading, coaching, formatting, indexing, researching, publishing. I think that’s most of the services involved in book publishing. Then you need to select a genre: nonfiction or fiction, and go deeper into each of those. Next is format: books, e-books, articles, websites, newsletters, dissertations… And last is target audience: individuals, business owners, coaches, speakers, consultants, attorneys, healthcare providers…
I suggest you combine your passions, your skills, and what’s most needed today. That’s how I’ve stayed in business for 10+ years!
Andrea Susan Glass
As you may well know, book publishing is going through major upheavals as e-books begin to surpass “tree” books in sales! Yet, there are those authors who have good reasons to print their books. Some may want to pursue the path of traditional publishing to build their writing career, gain more exposure, and have the support of a publishing team.
Some authors want full control and choose to self publish their book, acting like a home contractor: choosing the editor, book designer, printer, etc. Whichever path you choose, there’s money to be made in both—if you think big picture.
If you are blessed enough to be accepted by a traditional publisher—if that’s your preference—you may receive an advance against sales to start. A new author will most likely get a small advance, perhaps around $5,000. Then you get semi-annual royalties which range from 10% to 12.5% of retail price on hardbacks and 7.5% to 10% of retail price on paperbacks. Obviously, you need to sell a substantial quantity of books for this to be profitable. Other than the best selling authors, the way an author can earn more money with traditional publishing is to sell a multi-book deal, preferably a series with continuing stories if fiction, or a franchise like Chicken Soup for the Soul if nonfiction. And you need to market, promote, and sell!!!!!
As a self published author, I feel you have much more profit potential. You can issue your book as a print book, hardcover or softcover, e-book, audio book, workbook, e-course, and more. The sky’s the limit because you have full rights to reproduce your content in any format. You can also set the price and drive the marketing campaign. If you use your book as an introduction to your services and /or other products you can build a fan base and have ongoing sales as you build your information business. Prices for e-books range from .99 to $9.99 and for print books from $9.99 to $29.99 average. And after costs, you keep it all!
Profit is only one of many factors to consider when choosing a publishing path, so keep it in mind and keep it in perspective.
Andrea Susan Glass
I hope you’ve been enjoying my weekly writing lessons. I love teaching people about writing books. I know we all write for different reasons, but in case you’d like to make some money on your books, kept reading. That’s what I’ll be discussing this month.
Now the truth is that most authors rarely make a profit on one book. They either need to write more than one book, often a series, or build a business around their book by offering other products and services like CDs, seminars, and coaching.
Oh, you’ll find the occasional one-book wonder, the bestselling darling of the literary world, but that happens so infrequently that I wouldn’t suggest you count on it! And more often than not, it occurs with fiction rather than nonfiction.
So where’s the money in writing?
Here are some profit centers you can count on as a book or ebook author:
- Write a book or ebook to a large enough target audience and promote the heck out of it. If you already have a following—a list or a large database—you may sell a substantial number of books to see a profit from one book or ebook.
- Plan a series of books, like the Chicken Soup or For Dummies franchise. You can either write a number of books on one topic to many audiences such as dog training for different types of dogs (Collies, dachshunds, poodles, etc.) or write on several topics for one audience, like exercise, diet, dressing, etc. for pregnant women. (One subject, many target markets or One market, many subjects)
- Build a business around your one book by adding a seminar, CD set, teleclass, or coaching services. People learn in various formats, so offer them. And this way you have multiple streams of income.
Yes, you can make a profit writing books and ebooks. Keep reading this month for more on these ideas.
Andrea Susan Glass
How are you feeling now about marketing your book? A little more comfortable? It’s about to get even more comfortable!
I’m not one of those people who suggest you do something because you “have” to or because it’s the “only way” to get results. I truly believe that if you do something when your heart and mind aren’t into it, your chances for success diminish. Therefore, when I asked my 93-year-old client if he would like me to help him get some opportunities to speak to promote his book, and he said, “I don’t do speaking,” so I didn’t push it. I’ll focus on what he “will” do and we’ll go from there.
So what do you enjoy doing, love to do, feel comfortable doing? How do you like to interact with your readers? How would you like to connect with your readers? You have many choices here, so the goal is to make it fun and easy.
What do you do best: write, talk, teach, listen, act, design, sell…? If you like to write (and I hope you do after just completing your book), there are many opportunities to write to attract your market from articles and blogs to press releases, websites, and direct mail. If you enjoy teaching you can do live seminars and classes as well as online teleclasses and webinars.
Find your best skill and comfort level and choose your strategy to promote your book to your ideal reader. I’ll lay out many of the online and offline strategies in the next installment.
Happy writing (& promoting),
Andrea Susan Glass
PS. I’m happy to offer my 20-minute complimentary consultation where I can help you pinpoint your best marketing strategy for your book. Contact me at www.writersway.com.
Welcome back to the next installment of the “dreaded” book marketing primer. My goal is to make book marketing fun and easy, because I know how much you love the book you just poured your heart and soul into and how much you want to get it into the hands of your readers!
And that’s where the fun is: connecting with your ideal readers. Who did you write your book or ebook for? What aim did you have for your readers? What did you want them to gain from reading your book? What will compel them to say, “I have to have this book”?
These are the questions you asked when you started writing your book and these questions should be answered now that you’ve finished the book. So say your book is about life balance for working moms and your book shows this audience how to take care of themselves while also caring for their children, spouse, their home, and their work! Whew! Sounds like a great book that every working mom could use and would love to have.
So you know your ideal reader, now you just have to find them. Well, lucky you. This happens to be a clearly identifiable market. They’re everywhere. Working moms have websites, meetups, organizations, magazines, and conferences. And the subcategory of “work at home moms” is a growing segment of the marketplace, also easy to identify and locate. Use your handy search engine to do a search for this market and build a list of where you can find them. Also ask around to people in your personal and professional circles if they know anyone influential in this group or of organizations in this market.
Take the same steps for your market—whether they are sports nuts, animal lovers, college professors, retirees—whomever you’ve identified as your ideal reader.
As to how you will connect with these readers, we’ll base that on your book, your abilities, your preferences, your budget, and several other factors.
Happy writing (& marketing),
Andrea Susan Glass
PS. If you live in San Diego you might want to check out the 21st Century Book Marketing Seminar. (www.21stcenturybookmarketing.com). It’s October 14-16. You’ll learn just about all you need to know about marketing your book!
I hope your week has gone well for you. To pick up from last week, now that you know a bit more about traditional publishing, I’d like to discuss the reasons you might choose the self publishing option and the benefits and drawbacks of this path as compared to traditional publishing.
Today, self publishing has never been easier with computer design programs, digital printing, and POD (print-on-demand) presses. I remember the first book I ghostwrote for a client about 10 years ago. We printed 10,000 copies to get a break on the price. That book went on to win the San Diego Book Awards for best how-to book, but we also got stuck with thousands of books we couldn’t sell.
So why would someone choose to self publish? You might want to self publish if: you like to control everything; you want all the profits; you’re clear about your target audience and how to find them; you want your book out sooner than later; you have a team of people to design your cover, format your book, copyedit the content, and help you promote it. If you have any of these desires, you might choose this path.
These are some of the benefits and drawbacks of self publishing: quick turnaround time for producing books, keep all profits, low set up and printing costs, full control over content and cover, can easily add other books, CDs, or other products, comfortable promoting book; however, you may not have distribution to get into book stores, in some industries self published books have less prestige, quality may be inferior, and you have to handle all aspects of production and promotion.
Now not all of these apply in every situation; I’m just trying to give you an overview so you can see the primary distinctions between traditional and self-publishing so you can make a wise choice. And it’s not unheard of for a self published author to later be picked up by a publisher if you’ve done a good job promoting and selling your book.
So weigh both options, choose your path, and go build your book to bestseller status! Next week I’ll go over the process of obtaining a traditional publisher.
Andrea Susan Glass
PS. Please feel free to contact me for a complimentary discussion if you’re still undecided or have more questions. Sign up at www.writersway.com
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