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
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
Ta dah! The moment you’ve all been waiting for. I’m now going to reveal some of the top book marketing strategies.
Most of these you can use online and off:
1. Advertising: online with Google Adwords, offline in industry magazines
2. Affiliates: have other people sell your books
3. Blogs: have valuable content on your blog and as a guest blogger
4. Joint ventures: have others promote to their list
5. Mailings: online with email to your list and other lists; offline with direct mail
6. Media: radio shows online and off
7. Social marketing: online with Facebook, LinkedIn and other social sites, offline by building relationships and strategic alliances
8. Speaking: online teleclasses and webinars (yours and others), offline giving talks and seminars
9. Writing: articles, blogs, columns, press releases, ezines, newsletters, websites—the sky’s the limit both online and off
Now I’m sure you can find something on this list that works best for your book, your market, and you. If you’re still stumped brainstorm some ideas with whomever you’ve selected as your support person (me included!) and start putting together your marketing plan.
I suggest you sign up for book marketing newsletters, such as John Kremer and Penny Sansevieri, since new and improved promotional ideas are always being “discovered” or “invented” or “re-invented” and you want to stay on top of these developments in this rapidly changing world of book and ebook marketing. And with the new ebook readers, a whole new world of book marketing is upon us, so keep your eyes, ears, and fingers open!
As you experience success, please share it with me and my readers by posting a comment on this blog. Let’s all learn from each other.
Happy writing, (& promoting!)
Andrea Susan Glass
P.S. My new 6-week course “Write an Ebook: Hands-on Class” will begin on Tuesday, October 4 from 6:30 to 9:00 pm at the Cal State San Marcos University campus, 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road. If you live in the San Diego area or know someone who does, please let them know about this ground-breaking class. My goal is to have students finish an ebook in 6 weeks. For more information visit www.csusm.edu/el and click on Extended Learning or call 760-750-4020.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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