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!
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.
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.
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! 😉
Once you have your outline for your book, you can refine it and it becomes your table of contents. Once you have your table of contents, you have the structure for your book or ebook. All that’s left is what I call “filling in the blanks”!
I find it’s also helpful to create a structure for each chapter. If you’ve seen a “For Dummies” book, you’ll notice how each chapter has similar elements. For example, a typical structure for a how-to book would be…
1) Inspiring quote
2) Topic, lesson
3) Story, example of people living the lesson
4) More lesson
5) Action steps
How this would look in the example of our book on Overcoming Obesity would be:
1) quote: To say that obesity is caused by merely consuming too many calories is like saying that the only cause of the American Revolution was the Boston Tea Party. ― Adelle Davis, author
2) topic: Discuss your views on the subject, your expertise.
3) story: Talk about your own experiences losing weight or those of people you’ve worked with.
4) topic: More lesson, comments on the story you just told.
5) Action steps: Buy a journal you will use throughout this book to keep track of your meals.
Look easy? It is! This is how you create content, by filling in your template.
Have you written articles, blog posts, white papers, brochures, web content? All of these may have content you can draw from to write your book or ebook. Gather all the content you already have and see what you need to fill in. You can get additional content from doing research, conducting interviews, talking and recording yourself then having it transcribed, or just sitting down and letting your brain empty out through your hands and onto the page.
As a professional ghostwriter, I provide a valuable service for people who can’t seem to get organized to write their book or can’t seem to pull the content out of their head. I have several ways of working with people, each customized to their needs. Call me for a 20-minute complimentary consultation if you find yourself stuck at this point. My specialty is getting you unstuck and moving toward your goal of being a published author!
PS. Remember, 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!
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!
If you think you’re able to produce your first info-product alone, you’re in for a big surprise. You may be talented at certain skills, but you probably don’t have every skill necessary to make this happen. I know I don’t, and I’m pretty much of a lone ranger! Whether it was money issues or control issues, for much of my career, I’ve been a true solo-preneur! Would you like you to learn from the errors of my ways? I hope so!
For example, if you like to write, are disciplined with your time, and are a good editor, that’s great! But, most of us aren’t good at all of these things, so we need to find a good ghostwriter, copyeditor, and/or writing coach. Even though I’m a great editor, I still have one of my associates edit my work!
Now, if you’re a graphic artist or techno whiz, you’ll be able to add graphics, format your e-book, and upload it to your website. But if you don’t know uploading from downloading, you’ll need to find some good people to fill these needs.
Do you have the promotional skills to write a press release, submit articles, and Tweet? If not, you could use a promo person, social media expert, and/or virtual assistant (VA).
I didn’t mean to overwhelm you with everything you need to do, but it’s got to be done and a team of experts and valuable resources will help. Just about everyone of us needs the time and talent of others to achieve our goals. And once we find the best people and resources, we can use them over and over with each info-product we produce!
If you’re wondering how to find the best team members and resources, it takes some education and experience. I’ve taken loads of teleclasses, webinars, live seminars, etc. for years and had experience both doing it all myself or hiring the wrong people. But that’s what it took to get to where I now have a great team of people and resources.
Shortly, I’ll be releasing a new e-book on Producing Info-Products and I go into this in full detail. But for now, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Make a list of all the tasks you need to accomplish in producing and promoting your info-product
- Check off the ones you know you can do
- Make a list of the tasks you’ll need to outsource
- Start a list of potential team members and resources
Some examples are: virtual assistant, copyeditor, graphic designer, PDF software, autoresponder program, and a source for images. Start a Word doc called “Resources” and add names and URLs as you do your research, take classes, and ask for referrals.
I’m invested in your success as an infopreneur, so let me know what else I can do to help you reach your goals!
Happy Info-Product Profits,
Andrea Susan Glass
I just wanted to remind you that as I’m teaching you, I’m also following my lessons because I’m working on a new e-book. So I get to test out everything and perfect it for you. I’m making this journey along with you! We can keep each other motivated and accountable. Are you up for it?
Now, in following up my previous blog post, I want to walk you through the steps necessary to create a winning info-product. The next step involves several critical decisions: the subject of your product; the specific niche; the ideal target market or buyer; and the type of product you’re going to create. This is an example of what these choices might look like:
- Subject matter: General topic – Personal growth
- Niche area of subject: Solve a problem – How to listen to inner guidance
- Target market: Specific segment of market – Small business owners
- Type of product: First product – E-book
Subject: Choose one that has the highest potential for profit—if that’s your top motive. If your motive is to establish yourself as an expert or attract more clients, your subject matter will be in the area of your expertise. If your goal is to attract media attention, you’ll want to choose a subject that’s hot, topical, and popular.
Niche: This is a specific segment of a subject or market. For example, if your market is small business owners, a niche would be home based business owners.
Target market: Those people most likely to purchase your info-products are your ideal customers. Small business owners is a broad target market, and home based business owners is a smaller niche within the broader market.
Product: Whether you start with an e-book or audio file will depend on what you think your ideal buyer will prefer and what you’re willing and able to create. Ultimately you’ll probably want to create a product line including several formats, but it’s important to start with the one you’re most likely to complete so you get a sense of success!
Getting clear on your subject, niche, market, and product are critical to your success as an infopreneur (one who sells info-products). Do you see how all these choices are interconnected? Take the time to work through this process before you proceed to creating your info-product. You’ll be glad you did when you see the results of your efforts in successful sales and satisfied customers.
Keep me posted on your progress and I’ll keep you posted on mine.
Happy Info-Product Profits,
Andrea Susan Glass
You’re most likely familiar with the term “info-products” or information products. They include any tangible or intangible form in which you deliver information. Did you know that info-products could be books, e-books, reports, manuals, workbooks, courses, teleclasses, e-zines, articles, blogs, audio files, CDs, videos, and memberships? The tangible ones are books and CDs while intangible (digital) ones are e-books and audio files (MP3).
If you’re just starting out, you can quickly and easily produce simple info-products such as a 20-page report, a 30-minute interview, a 5-page newsletter, or a 40-page e-book. I once turned the transcript of a 90-minute teleclass into an e-book in 8 hours.
The benefit of info-products is that they’re a commodity you can create one time and sell many times, as opposed to your services, if you’re a service provider, which you deliver one-on-one such as coaching or bodywork. In some cases you can leverage your time by offering group coaching, classes, or seminars, yet, most service professionals such as speakers, trainers, consultants, health care providers, lawyers, realtors, financial planners, hair stylists, and others work with one client or customer at a time, thereby trading their time for money.
As an entrepreneur, small business owner, or service provider, you have an area of expertise to share with others. Maybe some people can’t afford your services, or you’re not in a geographically accessible area, or they’re the “do-it-yourself” type. When you transform your ideas into info-products, you can reach and help more people than one at a time. You can be generating cash 24/7 while you sleep, work, play, or take a vacation.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you charge $100/hour for your service, so 40 hours of your time would be $4,000. Let’s say you write an e-book and sell it for $40 and it took you 40 hours to write. You would only have to sell 100 e-books to make the same $4,000. And after that everything else is profit.
Using info-products leverages your time, shares your expertise, creates passive profits, and attracts more people to your service business. When you start moving from selling your services to selling info-products, you transform from an entrepreneur into an infopreneur.
Happy Info-Product Profits,
Andrea Susan Glass
Are you among the masses who sit down on January 1 each year and write out your New Year’s resolutions? And then by January 31 abandon them? If so, you’re in the majority. If not, then congratulations!
Would you like 2010 to be different? What would you like to accomplish this year that you didn’t in 2009? How can you do it differently this year—to make lifelong changes, rather than those that last for only a few months? What are you committed to this year?
I find that motivation is what enables me to stick with that resolution until I achieve it. Motivation carries me through the challenges, obstacles, and distractions that will inevitably arise.
Systems are what carry me from my initial motivation to my ultimate goal. See if this system makes sense to you:
1. Tap into the desire and motivation
2. Write out the goal with clarity and set a date for completion
3. Write out the action steps and enter into daily calendar
4. Set up support systems to stay on track and overcome obstacles
5. Plan a celebration
When it comes to writing that info-product you’ve said you were going to write throughout 2009, the system might look like this:
1. I’m excited to share my expertise and experience to help as many people as possible.
2. I will write a 50-page e-book detailing how to adapt a healthier lifestyle by March 30, 2010.
3. I will set aside 3 blocks of 3 hours every week to write; I will research the market to check competitors; I will research online printers.
4. I will hire Andrea to edit my e-book.
5. On April 15, 2010 I will launch my e-book and website.
You can use this process for any New Year’s resolution or goal expanding it as necessary to suit your style. I encourage you to use it and see if your 2010 commitments will become 2010 completions.
I’m here to support you in any way I can. Let me know how I can help. I wish you a Healthy, Productive, and Successful New Year!
Happy Info-Product Profits,
Andrea Susan Glass
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