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!
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! 😉
Let’s say at this point you’re well into writing your book or ebook. You’ve established a sort of rhythm. You get up at 5 am and write until 8 am. You do this five mornings/week. (Or you’re a night owl and write from 10 pm to 1 am)
At this rate you’re putting in around 15 hours/week, which at an average of one hour/page is 15 pages or a typical chapter. If your book has 10 chapters, you’ll be finished writing in 10 weeks. Not too bad!
But what happens when those 15 hours don’t happen? What gets in the way? Lots of things, like…
* Emergencies, both personal and business: a family crisis, or that last minute contract
* Distractions and interruptions: the dog barking outside your office, the phone ringing endlessly
* Unforeseen circumstances: your computer crashes, you run out of paper or ink
* Challenges: writers’ block, you’re stuck, your mind keeps wandering
* Personal issues: your back hurts, your best friend needs your support
* Temptations: you’re invited to a playoff, there’s a party at the office
Okay, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about here. We all get sidetracked, off target, even me. So what are some tips, tricks, tools, & techniques to stay the course and circumvent these inevitable disruptions of your routine?
First, get back in touch with your motivation. Imagine your name on the cover of your book or ebook. I often have clients design a temporary book cover, just to get that image in their mind. Now imagine a long line of people waiting to get a signed copy of your book. Get excited, get into all the feelings of meeting your goal and giving readers an exceptional book that could change their lives.
Second, get support or accountability. I have several accountability partners who hold me to my commitments. I’m happy to serve in this capacity for you as well. Check out my accountability coaching services at www.writersway.com/services.
Third, tell everyone that you’re writing a book and are not to be disturbed during your writing time. Then make that commitment to yourself that you won’t vary your routine (well if you want to add an extra hour or write a little later or earlier, that’s fine). Being accountable to ourselves seems to be more difficult than to others, but it’s worth it.
And lastly, keep your eye on the goal, the finished product, that extraordinary book or ebook with your name on the cover and your invaluable wisdom between the covers. What a remarkable accomplishment! You can do it!
PS. Happy Memorial Day! With some extra time off from work, this is the perfect opportunity to log in some extra writing hours.
You want it quick and easy! Don’t we all? I know you can do it. Look, I bought a 25-page ebook for $57. Do I sound dumb? The author sold me on the value, and I fell for the sales pitch. It could have been just the information I was looking for. Well, in that case it wasn’t and I was able to “return” it and get my money back.
You can’t really return an ebook. But anyway, all I’m saying is that it was 25 pages, and anyone who’s an expert on anything can write 25 pages in 25 hours or less. If you wrote for two hours a day for 12.5 days, you’d have a 25-page ebook done! If you wanted a 50-page ebook, write two hours a day for 25 days.
You say you don’t have the time for even that? Want to know how to find the time?
The quickest way to write your ebook is to decide on your topic, create an outline, and sit down and write. The best way to write an ebook is to follow this process; it might take a bit longer, but you’ll write an ebook that will sell:
- answer this question: what is my motivation for writing this ebook?
- answer this question: what is the motivation for the reader to buy my ebook?
- select a topic that will fill both of these motivations
- create an outline that will take the reader from where they are to where they expect to be when they finish reading
- turn your outline into the table of contents
- gather data you’ve already written or collected on the subject and plug it into the appropriate chapters; create new content where you need it
- weave all the content together, read it over to make sure it meets your motivation and the reader motivation
- have five people in your target audience read it; get feedback; make adjustments; get it edited professionally
- design your cover and interior or have it designed; save it as a PDF
This is pretty much the process for writing an ebook quickly. Of course there are more details, but this covers the basics. My ebook “Your Info-Product Success System” fills in the blanks and gives you a complete system for producing your first ebook. Check it out at www.infoproductsuccesssystem.com.
Email me or leave a comment if I can answer any questions.
However, I work with many reluctant writers, and frankly it’s much easier and a lot quicker to get your first ebook done than your first print book.
Want to know why?
Okay, here’s what I’ve found. I can motivate people to write a short ebook quickly and get it loaded on their website to start selling much quicker than they can get a print book done. Why? Because you write your ebook—anywhere from 25 to 50 pages (or more)—then save it as a PDF, put it on your website (or blog if you don’t have a website), hook it up to PayPal, and start having your ebook earn its keep!
Now with a print book, it’s got to be around 125 to 200 pages, or more, you’ve got to get it edited, have the cover designed, the interior formatted, a printer selected (on demand or brick and mortar), and a way to distribute those little gems. In my experience, this longer process scares a lot of aspiring authors back to the safety of their unfulfilled dreams. Well maybe not safety, but comfort zone.
And I’m not even discussing here those folks who want to find a literary agent or traditional publisher. That could be a really long haul—or never at all! (Been there…)
With an ebook you’ll still want to have it edited (please!), and a cover designed. You could format it yourself quite easily in Word—I do it all the time for my ebooks and those of my clients. But you have no printer issues and few distribution issues. At least, you don’t have to stock books in your garage and make trips to the post office to mail books.
Again, why ebooks? Because people are buying them—in droves. That’s a good enough reason for me!
P.S. If you’re not the do-it-yourself type, my ebook on producing an ebook might not be enough to get you going. In that case, check out my coaching services at www.writersway.com/services and select the one that will blast you out of your comfort zone!
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