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
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.
If you’ve been reading my emails for a while you’ll see that I’ve been following a sequence throughout this year of priming you to write your book by offering good solid content. I’ve led you through the basics and discussed many of the steps that go into writing a book or ebook.
And now we come to what many authors dread: I have to sell those precious books. For many of us writing is the most satisfying part of the process—we expressed our thoughts, shared our expertise, and fulfilled a goal. But writing is the furthest activity from marketing! So this month, I’m tackling “book marketing made fun and easy!” (Marketing and promotion are so similar, I use them here interchangeably).
This week I want to talk about a marketing plan. Because promoting your book may feel foreign and overwhelming, it helps to have a strategy. Here are some of the steps you might want to include in your plan:
1. Get support in your marketing efforts (a mentor, coach, PR expert, VA, partner…)
2. Locate your ideal readers (you identified who they are before you wrote the book)
3. Decide where you will market based on where your readers are
4. Plan online and offline activities
5. Schedule at least one marketing/promotional task per week
6. Track your results
This should get you started. From my experience and education in book marketing, I’ve found that each book has a path of its own. While one book can catapult to the bestseller lists through blogging, another book might build its success through media interviews.
The path you take to success will be based on the nature of your book, your ideal readers, and you! The clearer you are on these, the easier it will be to find the best marketing plan for your book. I’ll go into more detail in the next emails.
Learn as you go and keep doing what works best for you.
Happy writing (& promoting),
PS. A quick reminder, if you live in the San Diego area or know someone who does, I’ll be teaching a 5-week course “Writing Nonfiction” starting Monday, September 12 at MiraCosta College (http://www.miracosta.edu/community) and I’ll be giving a talk “All About Ebooks” on Tuesday, September 13 at San Marcos Library (http://securelamp.csusm.edu/extstudies/el/rp/course_details.php?cid=1785) to introduce my 6-week class “Write an Ebook” starting Tuesday, October 4 at Cal State San Marcos (www.csusm.edu/el).
Well, we’re finally at the last week of this month’s lessons on traditional vs self publishing. What I want to share today is the path to self publishing. In a nutshell, you write your book, you get it edited (of course), you have it formatted, you get a cover designed, you obtain an ISBN number, and you select a printer.
You can choose between the brick and mortar printer down the street if you need hand holding or in the mid-west if you want the best prices. Or you can choose an online printer known as a POD, print-on-demand. Some of these are Lightning Source, Author House, CreateSpace, LuLu, and iUniverse. They’re called POD because no longer do you have to store thousands of books (remember my 10,000 book fiasco) as the printer will print and ship books as you need them.
I’m not the authority on POD since they change as often as Lady Gaga’s hair color! I suggest you do your research, ask other authors, and get involved in a writers’ group either virtually or in your neighborhood. I belong to www.publisherswriters.org and we have a Yahoo group where anyone can ask for referrals to printers, editors, cover designers, etc.
One thing I will say, the research is part of the process. But once you find your printer, editor, cover designer, and formatter, you won’t have to look again. One of the members of our group here in San Diego has printed 17 books with Author House and he raves about them. I have a friend who has had a long relationship with iUniverse. Yes, some of these have been around for a while, and others have cropped up recently.
I suggest asking the printer for a sample book. Do the same with cover designers—check out their samples. Same goes for copyeditors and formatters. These are the people who will form your self publishing team.
So you finally have that glorious book in your hands. Now what? And then comes distribution and promotion. Yes, you have to sell the darn thing, not only to get your money back but to make profits, spread your message, and attain whatever other goals you have for your book. You might want to hire a book publicist to start or get tips from other writers. But I think book promotion is a topic for another set of lessons.
I just want to leave you with this last piece of vital information. No longer are traditional and self publishing your only options. Welcome to the bright shiny world of e-publishing…
Andrea Susan Glass
Have you made up your mind yet as to which path you’ll choose for your book? The reason I ask is that if you decide to submit your book to a traditional publisher, you don’t need to write the whole book. So before you write “the end” it would be best to choose one path.
So let’s say you’re looking for a major publisher. You might want to look in books similar to yours to see who publishes them. You can also look online on Amazon and in the library in Literary Marketplace. Additionally Writers Digest lists publishers and their specialties/genres such as women’s fiction, memoir, spirituality, or young adult.
You’ll need to do some research on the publisher and see if they’ll accept queries or if you need to find a literary agent first. If you need to find an agent, then go back to your research, see which agents represent the books in your genre, and do some searching in the resources I mentioned as well as online.
For both fiction and nonfiction books, you’ll first submit a one-page query letter. Find out if the agent or publisher accepts e-queries. If not, use snail mail. E-queries tend to get much faster responses, so do as many of those as you can with the appropriate agents and publishers, that is, those who represent your genre. I’d highly suggest you have a professional writer/editor like me review your query letter before submitting it.
If the agent or publisher is interested, they’ll ask for a synopsis or the whole book for fiction and a book proposal for nonfiction. Writing a book proposal is like writing a mini-book. I’ve written several of them and I really enjoy it, because it encourages the author to take a global look at the book: overview, market, promotion, author bio, book outline, sample chapters.
Either have a professional write your proposal or at least have it edited. Remember, this is your first impression and you won’t have an opportunity to make a second. The agent or publisher wants to see your writing style and gauge the success factor of your book. Less than 1% of proposals get accepted, which is why so many authors are turning to self publishing.
We’ll look at the self publishing process more in depth next week.
Andrea Susan Glass
PS. If you’d like to see a sample book proposal I’d be happy to send you one I wrote for a client. Just email me at email@example.com.
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