When writing and publishing non-fiction books, there’s tremendous earning potential just through book sales. This is particularly true if you become popular in a broad interest topic, and particularly if you’re prolific with your writing and publishing.
However, unlike fiction, non-fiction offers you a huge amount of earning potential beyond simply the sales of books. In fact, in many ways, when a reader buys a book from you, that can be the very start of a customer relationship that can even be worth tens of thousands of dollars in income.
The reason for this is when publishing a non-fiction book, you’re generally solving someone’s problem, or answering someone’s question:
- How can I make my garden look better? Example.
- How do I get more leads and sales for my business? Example.
- How can I get fit and bulk up? Example.
- How can I increase the value of my home? Example.
… and so on.
So your book will answer their questions and help solve their problems. And the better the book, the more it starts your relationship with the reader in a positive way.
Of course people who buy your book are interested in the topic. They may be superficially interested, or they may be hugely motivated to dive much deeper into the topic. With such readers, your book is just the start of your relationship with them.
So that’s where your relationship with your readers becomes more of an “information publisher and coach” rather than just an author.
So in this post I’ll be talking through five ways you as an author can build an entire portfolio of offers that can increase your income significantly, by turning a simple book publishing business into an information publishing and coaching empire.
Here’s several examples of authors who have done just that:
Dan Kennedy is quite prolific as a book writing, with a focus on helping small businesses with their marketing. But that’s just a tiny percentage of his income.
His books introduce readers to his website, his paid newsletters, his courses, and his consulting. For example, he mentions that just one reader who purchased one of his books from a $1 bargain bin in a store, turned into a client who’s now paid him well over $100,000.
Anthony Robbins is a hugely well known motivational coach who publishes books and these introduce new coaching clients to him. His information and coaching business is vast, and even though the books bring him a small percentage of clients overall (the majority come through infomercials) they’re highly qualified.
Melonie Dodaro publishes a popular book about successfully using LinkedIn to grow your personal and business brand. And that book leads the reader to her website where she offers more in depth courses, in-person coaching, and services.
Of course it’s important to realize that a large percentage of people who get your book will look at it only briefly if at all. It will be a small percentage who really dive into your book and then visit your website, take up the free offer you make to readers in return for their email address (very important!), and then check out your other offers.
However that small percentage will come to you very much sold on your way of communicating, so they’ll be hugely receptive to other offers of yours. In some ways, they’ll transition from your book to your website already fans of yours, and this makes selling to them so much easier than attempting to sell to someone who’s never heard of you before.
Okay, so let’s dive into more detail about ways to turn a book reader into a hugely valuable customer, while at the same time offering tremendous value to them every step of the way (since every time you over-deliver to a customer, it makes them more likely to buy from you again, and to recommend your products and services to others).
Expand on Your Book With In-Depth Training Courses
If the subject you’re writing about is particularly niche, a 100 page book may cover the entirety of the subject. However, most books, even on very niche subjects, can go more in depth and be turned into a fully-fledged training course. And in particular can be communicated in multiple media formats: audio, video, and tool kits (more on this later).
So you need to transition your book readers to your website. A great way to do this is to offer them bonuses if they visit your site at private page (just for book readers) and sign up with their email address. This way, they get access to great bonuses that aren’t available to regular website visitors, and you get their email address for regular follow-up.
And you follow up on them by email with great content, and also some offers (don’t overdo it however of they’ll stop reading your emails). This is a great opportunity to start presenting them with your courses and other offers, and also to encourage them to become a regular reader of your blog by emailing them links to your latest posts (or the best post from the last seven days) once a week.
Now, a training course can be delivered purely online as a download. Or it can be set up as a private member area (more on this in the next section). However, by also sending your customer something physical through the post, you can generally charge quite a bit more as it has a higher perceived value.
Plus, it creates a stronger emotional bond with the customer. Rather than just data on a hard drive, it’s something that has pride of place on their shelves.
So for example, you can deliver everything immediately online, and also send customers:
- DVDs with training videos.
- CDs with audio.
- Printed out and bound manuals and transcripts.
The DVDs and CDs can be very light to post, whereas manual and transcripts can start to get rather heavy. However, the more you deliver, the larger the “Thud Factor” as it’s called. The thud sound you get when a huge package is delivered at your door. So the higher the thud factor, the more perceived value a course can have, so the higher the price.
And with a training course, depending on how in depth it is, the intended target market, and how valuable the subject area is, can sell for anything from $30 to $5,000.
While a $30 course may be introductory, a $5,000 course could be the equivalent of a Masters degree in your subject area, and a percentage of your customers are going to be interested in that if they’ve been happy with previous purchases from you.
Often, offers to customers start at the lower end of prices. And then customer then gets higher priced offers as they purchase more and more products. Whereas other customers may want to jump straight to the most expensive course. So having these all publicly available to buy can be helpful.
So sales of these courses will come from:
- Your email list.
- Your website traffic.
- Promotional partnerships where other sites promote your courses.
- Online advertising campaigns.
Making Predictable Income with Membership Sites & Newsletters
A membership site is a private area on your site with fantastic information. Often membership sites also include tools that members can benefit from, and even private discussion areas where members can get in depth answers quickly.
The reason for having a membership site as well as training products is because it’s regularly updated, and can have an interactive element to it. In return the customer pays either monthly or annually to keep access to the site.
And a newsletter is effectively a “real world” version of a membership, where a newsletter, CD, DVD, or combination of these, is sent to the customer once a month. The customer then again either pays monthly, or even annually. And this can be either instead of, or more likely alongside access to a membership site.
- If we return to the example of Dan Kennedy, he has a monthly newsletter that goes out to thousands (more likely tens of thousands) of business owners. He’s said that he consider his newsletter the core of his business, and this alone produces millions in annual revenue for him.
- An even more successful example is Lynda.com which was recently sold to LinkedIn for well over a billion dollars. Lynda is a job skills training site that is over 20 years old, and has training videos on hundreds of different subjects.
You’ll find in fact that both of those examples, and with billed monthly offers in general, a free or low-price trial period is required. There’s a resistance by customers to being billed monthly, so you can overcome that resistance with a low-price or free trial so you can prove the value you’re giving them.
And one huge benefit of billing customers monthly (automatically onto their credit card) is it creates very predictable monthly cash flow for your business, which takes a lot of worry out of entrepreneurial life. It also means you have a captive audience that you can promote other products and services too, and since they’re already buying from you, their response rate will be high.
Charge For Your Expertise & Time With Coaching
If you’re an expert in the subject you’re writing about, then beyond just offering books and training products for your audience, you can work with them on a one-to-one basis to answer their questions directly and offer a much more personalized approach.
This could be offered as consulting or personalized training (much the same thing, although they have slightly different connotations), and can be very helpful to clients that are confused about certain areas of your topic, have very specific questions, or just want to move forward quickly.
This is often offered at an hourly rate, or even a day rate, and is generally done remotely over the phone or through Skype, or can sometimes be done in person in certain instances.
You can even take this further if you choose, and actually offer services to customers where you do the work for them. For example, if you published a book on small business marketing, you could offer marketing campaign management for clients, and depending on the size of the project, could cost the client more than $100,000 a year.
The example above of Melonie Dodaro publishing her book about LinkedIn as a lead generator for her business, helps attract clients to her coaching and marketing management services.
Selling Tools is Much Easier Than Selling Information
When selling information, there’s always a resistance from the person you’re selling to as information takes effort to internalize and to implement. That said, if the information is about a hobby the person reading may be truly passionate about it. But for information about solutions to a problem, there likely isn’t that same passion. The easier you can make it, the better.
So if you can find a way to give your customer a tool they can put into action and that solves their problem with minimal effort on their part, that can sell very well. Because in an ideal world, people want things done for them, so the less effort they have to exert to solve a problem, the happier they’ll be.
If you’re selling a training course, you can include tools as part of it. You can then start to present the product as a toolkit which can make selling it a lot easier. Here are examples of tools you can sell as part of a course, or even as their own offers:
- “Fill in the blank” templates
- Spreadsheets for quick calculations
- Quick start guides
Now some tools can take a long time (and a lot of money) to develop, particularly software. So make sure you know your audience well if this a route you’re going to take.
Put Together High-Priced Seminars and Retreats
To maximize your income while at the same time catering to multiple client types, it’s important to have low priced and also high priced offers. One of your lowest priced offers is of course your book.
Then you can offer more in depth information, leading up to high-priced coaching, consulting, services, and tools. And towards the highest end of prices is putting together seminars and retreats where your absolute best and most valuable information is presented to customers.
Plus, people often greatly enjoy the social aspect of seminars, and it can be a fun getaway. It can also be a great way to network with people that have similar interests.
When putting together seminars, you have two main options:
- High priced and exclusive.
- Low priced with the maximum number of people you can get.
The high priced option may even sell for thousands of dollars, and you may have quite limited seating. This is often offered to your best customers first, so they get first refusal.
Whereas the low priced option is designed to get you the biggest captive audience possible. Often then you sell your highest priced offers to that audience, since selling from the stage can be the most receptive place to make those offers.
This can lead to what’s known as the stampede effect, where you make an offer from the stage (especially if it’s time or quantity limited), and people see audience members going up to take the offer, so the fear of missing out kicks in and other people rush up too. Such offers at seminars have been known to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars over a weekend.
In this training I share how to get your first book reviews on your newly published book so you can get more exposure and promote your book more effectively.
Download the PDF with links here:
Check out Book Review Targeter here:
If you enjoyed this training, please leave a comment below. thanks!
Your books are on Amazon and other publishing platforms, and selling. Great! So… interested in taking your publishing empire to the next level?
Well, one very powerful action you can take is to develop your own promotional platform, in the form of your own website. By creating a site, and building an audience at that site, it grows your income and your reach. So rather than purely depending on book sales for income, it opens a lot of other income streams for you.
This post will share some suggestions for what type of content to create and share on your author website.
Now you have your website created, let’s talk through in more detail what the next steps are. In particular, how you use your site to help you reach your goals as an author.
It’s important to realize that how you structure and use your site can differ significantly depending on whether you’re a fiction or non-fiction author.
Let’s start with websites for fiction authors:
Effective Websites for Authors of Fiction
Publishing fiction gives you less options for profiting compared to publishing non-fiction. However this does mean you can focus mostly on writing rather than everything else non-fiction authors can get involved in. And fiction can often reach a wider and more receptive audience than non-fiction (it’s a fun escape, rather than a potential chore to read), and so sales numbers can be higher.
And let’s for now put aside the idea that Hollywood is going to buy rights to your book (they might!), and think where the money’s going to come from:
• Book sales
Well, that’s pretty much it.
Perhaps there’s the option for special edition books (signed books at a higher price for example), but generally, the more books you write and publish, the more you’ll make. So the goal of your website is to help increase book sales overall.
Actions you can take to help sell books include:
• Giving away free chapters.
• Linking to your books for sale on publishing venues. (of course!).
• Selling physical copies of your book directly from your site. Perhaps these are special signed editions.
• Having links to your social media accounts so people can follow you easily.
• Having an email newsletter. This plays a similar purpose to your social accounts.
• Perhaps post exclusive short stories on your site. These would often be related to the books you publish to help entice interest.
• Any relevant audio and video content that attracts visitors and gets people interested in your books is great too.
Some examples of effective author websites include:
- www.jkrowling.co.uk and in particular www.pottermore.com
Effective Websites for Authors of Non-Fiction
Non-fiction offers you many more opportunities to profit than fiction, due to the nature of subject. The reason for this is people who buy non-fiction are often learning how to do something. In particular, how to solve a problem or reach a goal.
Of course, most of your audience is not going to be hugely motivated. They may purchase a home improvement book for example, but most will never read it! Some will read a little. And only a tiny minority will actually put it into action.
But those that are really passionate will also be interested in:
• Your blog posts.
• Your email newsletter.
• Follow-up books you publish.
• More in-depth (and much higher priced) courses.
• Your private membership site that costs $100 a year to be a member of.
• Private coaching and consulting.
As a starting point, your book would point them to your website to claim some free bonuses. Perhaps this is a private page they can visit where they download some extra content. And of course, if they enter their email and sign up for updates, they can access even more great free bonuses.
Then once they’ve signed up to your email updates:
• You send out an a weekly newsletter where you publish great content, and also have offers.
• Your emails (and your site in general) promote your higher-priced and more in-depth offerings, including your courses and consulting.
• And of course your site and your emails promote other books of yours.
• Plus though email you can promote carefully chosen partner offers.
Great examples of this approach being used very effectively are:
Now, of course you don’t need your own website to be a published author. But if you build up a site and attract an audience, it can be a powerful platform for launching new books. Plus, it helps you make more money through other income streams like coaching.
Whether you’re a fiction or non-fiction author determines how you design, structure and update your site. While a site for fiction is built around increasing book sales, a site on a non-fiction topic is largely designed around profiting from a reader of your books, far beyond the initial sale of the book.
Any questions, comments, ideas? Ask them in the comments!