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Why authors don’t make money selling books and what to do about it.

I’m re-reading this rather lengthy article today which reminds me of all the reasons authors don’t make that much money with their books. Tim Ferriss highlights all the math and percentages so I don’t need to go into all of it right here. At the end of the article, he also suggests speaking as a side gig for authors…

Speaking: Particularly in the business category, if you target your Fortune 500 audience well enough, you can stair-step your way into $20,000 per 60-minute keynote without needing a miracle. Hundreds, if not thousands, of authors earn this kind of money. The higher echelon can make $80,000 or more per speaking engagement. Needless to say, this adds up fast.

Even with all the disclaimers in that paragraph one would think that this is all you need to do to start making the kind of income you want. Well yes and no. Authors who write in business, medical or self-help categories can parlay their book into a speaking engagement pretty easily. But what happens if you’ve written a cookbook? How often have you paid to go hear a cookbook author speak (and no, I’m not talking about those cookbook writers who also happen to host their own shows).

Consider that your book is but one component of your entire brand.

Your book is your calling card. It gives you entry into larger venues, and establishes your credibility. It should not however, be the only tool in your toolkit. Nor should it be the primary focus. You are the brand. Your life experience, knowledge, unique perspective, upbringing, training & education all combine to make you the brand. Anyone can write a cookbook, but there’s only ever going to be one you.

Plus a strategy centered solely around selling a cookbook is not as strong and looks something like this:

  • publish the cookbook
  • publish a website with the book on the front page
  • include links to sites that sell your book
  • send out periodic updates to your Facebook friends
  • schedule local or regional book signings
  • hope for the best

You’re left wondering why Amazon or Barnes & Noble are making all of the money when clearly you put a considerable effort into making the product. Plus who is reading your cookbook and are they enjoying it? And why on earth are you not pocketing more than $75k in sales?

Alternatively, a platform strategy centered around the chef or baker looks somewhat different:

  • Launch a platform that positions the chef as an expert
  • Create an endorsement strategy
  • Partner with key influencers
  • Publish the first of multiple cookbooks with a clear focus and special content that directs your reader back to your platform
  • Automate sales of your book and release an interactive product connected to your book
  • Capture all email addresses of your readers
  • Turn your readers into fans by sending them unique content
  • Plan your book launch, press junkets and events and collect more fans and create landing pages and websites for each event
  • Automate sales of products that are licensed to use your image/logo
  • Keep giving the media a compelling reason to promote you
  • Offer services that bring your brand forward – this could anything from cooking classes to custom menu/recipe development
  • Sell and promote your expert knowledge about ingredients, products, locations, cookware, style, etc.
  • Market and re-market products, services and ideas to your growing number of followers
  • Create new campaigns, products, events and mini-sites that you market with your industry partners (for example other chefs, restaurants, bartenders, celebrities, lifestyle mavens, designers, etc.)
  • Innovate

Happy writing, launching and selling!

Lise

Four proven ways for a consultant to create residual income streams for her business…

Hey there. I’m back just jotting down my answer to a question posed to me today from one of my clients that I thought may interest you. She wanted to know what my top four suggestions were for adding residual income streams based on my own personal business building experience. Great question.

Here they are in no particular order:

1.  Create an application that will provide a solution for the core problems your own customers are facing.  Think automation, sharing/collaboration, or data mining.

2. Create and sell your own branded information products including e-books, white papers, how-to guides, etc.

3. In this same vein, create a self-guided online course for your clients.

4. Add a much needed/requested service that you don’t currently provide for your clients. Outsource it to a trusted and competent provider and keep a percentage of the income.

I have personally seen each one of these ideas grow business profits exponentially.

Micropreneur Ventures

I talk a lot about owning your own business around here. Primarily because I adore all things about business, and also because it’s one way for people to do what they love and make a great living. But I’m not fond of just any old type of business model – I love our new Online Micropreneurial Business Model, which is based on the years of experience and research I’ve done while working in and around some of the best virtual companies. And boy do I have some stories to tell…

From product selection to daily schedules, I’ve seen it all. These companies often fly under the radar and they don’t make Money or Inc. magazines. They are ordinarily run by anywhere between 1 to 7 people, and provide product or services to a niche market. These companies are all virtual. They hardly ever touch products, they take out advertising with precision, sometimes their websites aren’t even very elaborate – but they provide details that speak to a particular market and they make it easy for people to pay them. Plus they all make at least 7 figures per year. What’s not to like about that?

Our Online Micropreneurial Business Model helps new micropreneurs grow small and nimble niche companies – based on something they have a passion for.  But I think the key to being a successful micropreneur is in the setup of the virtual business.You can’t just throw it online, post a few blogs and product links and hope for the best. So here is a quick preview of my list of the top 6 things that are absolutely essential for upcoming micropreneurs to include in their virtual business planning and setup:

  1. Process Automation for 90% of your Sales, Marketing & Advertising
  2. Beneficial Information Products
  3. Niche Market Expertise and a Unique Voice
  4. Multiple Payment Portals
  5. Attractive, Trust-Building Branding
  6. Residual, Passive, Active and Leveraged Income Streams

Without any one of these six areas in place, you’re probably working too hard to make a living doing what you love.

Lise

Why we Tweet?

In a recent Facebook post, my friend Clarence mentioned that he just doesn’t get Twitter… recalling how I felt before I signed up for Facebook and Twitter I chuckled a bit; then I left a message hoping he would sign up and take a look. His question also made me think about the reasons we are constantly recommending Twitter as part of our client’s branding strategy.

Simply put, we tweet for our clients because public conversations are one of the best ways to build a brand. Unlike Google, Twitter gives you the ability to search for information in real-time. So by tracking your company, book, product or service name you can read and respond instantaneously to positive or negative feedback using Twitter. Not only is it perfect for marketing messages, it can offer a huge reach and awesome way to provide customer care. Allowing companies to share special gifts and time-sensitive information, guidance on where to go, what to do, what to click and see.

It’s an amazing little tool… Hopefully Clarence, you’ll begin to see the possibilities – and hey, thanks for inspiring this post!