What I am about to say about book profit may make a few nonfiction authors a little angry. Most self-published authors begin their book from the wrong perspective. Their approach to authoring a book is simply upside-down when it comes to making a profit.
It really comes down to the oft-quoted words of Steven Covey, “Begin with the end in mind.” Unfortunately, “the end” perceived by the new author is when their hard work has been published in a book. If you think being an author of a published book is your goal, you are bound for failure when it comes to profits.
One thing is for sure, nonfiction, self-published authors will not be rewarded for the “Build it and they will come” philosophy of being a book author. It is this approach, often used by book authors, supporting the sad statistic of the average self-published book only selling 100 copies. Clearly, 100 copies of your book does not bring you to a profitable career as an author.
Marketing as an Afterthought
Along the same vein, these brilliant authors think getting the book completed is their all-encompassing, and extremely important first step. They are simply WRONG! While completing the book is in the Top 10 – it is far from the number one priority. Let me repeat, my recommendations only apply to authors who want to make a profit. If being a self-published author is the most important thing to you, give it all your attention until it is completed. As a published author you can then get out there in the world and market your book. You will join the ranks of most other authors with this approach.
Marketing as a Book Profit Platform
Simply putting words into a manuscript with proper grammar and sentence structure does not give the author much value. The value comes from giving intent focus on four different areas before the book is constructed:
- What are Your Expert Topics? If you seriously ask this question, and perform a “stream of consciousness” download of all the things you know, you will surprise yourself. You know much more than you have ever inventoried. Compile a complete list of the topics where you know more than most people in your workplace, where you know more than those in your community and where you know more than others in business. We will use this list in the next step.
- What Information You Know is Craved by Others? Just being knowledgeable in 100’s of topic areas can get you into trouble. You have no business putting all this wealth of knowledge into your book. No one will want to read the hodge-podge of expertise written in your book. Instead, strategically think about what topics get people excited about learning. Most people at the authority level of their expertise have at least 3 books in them. When you carefully analyze what people crave to learn from you, drill deep into this ONE topic in your first book. Go beyond your own life experience to use other resources – from Google and Amazon to your industry’s trade publications. Make sure your reader audience is hungry for what you will be sharing in your book.
- Where do Your Ideal Readers Gather? When you determine where your readers gather with other people, you get a clue about where you can reach out to them once the book is completed. For example, if you are a Cardiologist, you may have two primary groups of ideal readers. The first one is the people who have been diagnosed with heart challenges and the people who love them. Identify the support groups, websites and focus groups serving this population. However, this Cardiologist must also consider a secondary reader audience, the other cardiologists who would want to learn from them. Speaking at medical conventions can be a lucrative revenue stream and can attract corporate sponsorships from pharmaceutical companies. As a published author, you have another way to sell your book to the medical community. Written correctly, this book may be something every medical professional will want to share with their patients. You can offer them discounted or bulk pricing for their practice. There is even the opportunity to “white label” your book to other cardiology organizations.
- What are the Groups Who Will Pay for Your Expertise? We covered a good example in #3 above. However, every authority level expert can find the best groups for spreading what they know. Another example would be a C-level executive who has learned more in their area of knowledge than countless others doing the same job every day. Think about the Corporate Controller. Their financial expertise is responsible for making the corporation $Millions more than they would realize without their help. Whether this financial wizard remains within the corporate environment or branches out into sharing the tools and techniques with a larger audience, there are specific groups who will pay more than others. Determine who wants to pay for the knowledge you can share before the book is written.
Determining the best topics to include in your book to get you the best profit and a growing list of readers is the most important first step for book profitability. While it is uncommon for ghostwriters to counsel their author clients about marketing, I come to the ghostwriting profession with decades of marketing experience. Because I feel it is critical for an author’s success, it is part of my ghostwriting services.
I don’t charge for the first consultation call. Reach out to me and let me know what you are thinking. Together, we can determine the viability of what you have in mind and develop a plan for your book’s success. Let’s Talk!