Write like an Author, Publish like an Entrepreneur!
Fact or fiction, it doesn’t matter, 99.9% of authors want their book to generate a profit and income.
We want to write a book that will be read by an audience bigger than our mothers.
I’ve written and published a couple of books over the years and I’ll confess – I did it the hard way, not the smart way.
It wasn’t until recently that I realised, I should have treated writing and publishing like starting a business (which I know a lot more about!). Profits would have been faster, strategies tailored and I would have been in control from start to finish.
My first published book was a gluten and dairy free cookbook. It was born from necessity, not fashion, as it was 2007. It was before paleo was trendy, gluten free was in vogue and menus came with little GF indicators. Ahead of my time, I didn’t think about my market. I just thought about eating delicious food that wouldn’t make me sick!
The second book was a kid’s gluten free cookbook. It now sits gathering dust after I lost interest when gluten free became mainstream.
Life and necessity were once again the inspiration for my third book.
After my sister passed away from cancer, I wanted the world to know that there are things you can do right now to take the stress out of life’s unwelcome realities. But I didn’t want to live and breathe it everyday. I didn’t want to promote it or build a business out of it – I just wanted to pass on the knowledge.
It was while I was looking for a publisher for “Cut the Red Tape: Making life easier for you, your loved ones and your executor”, that a big publishing house approached me with an idea for a book they wanted me to write. I was happy with the premise, I wasn’t happy with the contract. It was very one sided, no room for negotiation and a lot of work on my end to write and promote it for the princely sum of $1 a book. I politely declined.
Yesterday, I was talking with a business owner who has written her first book. It is based on her field of expertise and she wants to use it as a marketing tool in her consulting business.
From a business perspective, writing a book is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and enhance your profile. It can help establish you as the go to expert in your field. If you write a book, it can also serve as a platform to run workshops, develop online courses and be the base of keynote speeches.
Follow these insights to write smarter, not harder!
These five steps apply, whether you are writing fact or fiction. You can use them equally if you create a book as a business product or a riveting page turner. Based on my personal experience and hindsight, here are:
Five steps to write a book and profit from it:
- The End – Your book being available to purchase is the very last step. Don’t be too eager and rush to see it on Amazon, the bookshelf or in the library. If you do, you (and your mum) will be the only ones who know it is there.
- The Start – The book isn’t the beginning. Start with identifying what you are trying to achieve. Are you building credibility, showcasing your expertise, adding a new service/product? Are you writing to show teenage girls how strong they can be? Do you want travellers to be enthralled throughout their flight? Is this book to be used as part of a bigger or long term vision?
- The Reader – Who is your true audience? If you are using it as a funnel to your business, think about who you truly want to attract with the book. The topic might appeal to a broader audience, but if you have a more focused result in mind, this is where you should be concentrating. If it is fiction, who are you writing it for and who will read it? You might be writing a children’s book, but an adult will be buying it.
- The Body – Once you know the purpose and who your ideal customer and reader is, then look at what your book will contain. Plan out each chapter and then sketch out your marketing strategy. These will work symbiotically, building on each other. The book content will add to your marketing campaign and your key word research will provide clarity and direction around your book message and specific wording.
- The Secret – There are lots of ways you can get on bestseller lists, and it isn’t as hard as you might think. Do a bit of research and have a look at some of the articles and books dedicated to the subject. It only takes a bit of planning and remembering that seeing your book on the shelf comes after you have built the anticipation. It shouldn’t be the spoiler!
Just like launching a business, your strategy has to start well before you open the door for trading.
if you apply the same process that should be used for starting, launching and growing a business, it will make your life, writing and publishing a lot easier.
Wishing you flowing prose today, tomorrow and on.
Rebecca Collett, Managing Director of Snowed Under Solutions
Bonus Chapter – Anyone who is presented with a publishing contract in Australia, make sure you contact the Australian Society of Authors and have their lawyers review the contract. The cost is a tiny fraction of what you would pay a lawyer who probably has no idea of industry standards and if you are being exploited. Don’t let the idea of publishing and your ego overtake your sense of reason and finances!
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