Relying on book sales alone may not be a recipe for earning money from your book. Building ancillary offers and leveraging your expertise can help you build a business around your book.
Did you know that more than 77 percent of self-published writers make $1,000 or less a year, according to Digital Book World and Writers Digest? If you’re ready to earn more and take the next step in your career as an author, now is the time to start building a creative business around your book.
Think of your book as the cornerstone of your business. You’ve already done a lot of work to develop the ideas and content and you clearly have knowledge in this space. Use this as a launching pad for related creative products or services that showcase your expertise and drive income. If you’re not sure how to get this ball rolling, use the following steps to get started.
Start attending and speaking at events
Start to build your business by bolstering and building brand awareness. Now is the time to get your name out there by attending conferences where you can meet new people and speak at events to share your knowledge and establish yourself as a thought leader.
If this is new to you, research local seminars and groups to see if there are any openings for panel speakers. Even this initial outreach in your respective space will help you build recognition for your book and your brand. Once you have experience speaking, you can look to larger events and apply with a speaker reel that shows you’re an expert in your field.
This can also be a way to make money from your book. The key to finding paid gigs is to be specific. According to a post on The Speaker Lab, “Most speakers ‘want paid speaking gigs,’ but aren’t very specific with what type of gigs, venues or the audience they want to speak to.” To be successful, the post advises, “Narrow down your focus. Once you do that, finding paid speaking opportunities becomes that much easier.”
Build an online presence
In addition to having a website and social media presence, you need to get your name on the radar of people who are reading articles in your industry. A great place to start is Help a Reporter Out (HARO). Once you sign up, you get three emails a day listing stories that journalists and writers need sources for. Find the topics that you can speak knowledgeably on and submit your thoughts. You can be featured on worldwide sites like Forbes in addition to niche sites within your industry.
You can also build your thought leadership by guest posting on blogs. Guest posting is the process of writing an article for another website, which allows you to share your ideas and post a bio that explains who you are and what you do. The more you can share your knowledge, the more value you can bring to your brand as you work to build your business.
Choose your services
While building your reputation as an expert, you should also be thinking about what services you can offer. Keep in mind that they should directly align with your book, so start by determining your specific area of expertise and what you have to offer your customers.
Next, tailor your services based on your audience and the “problem” that you’re solving. This is when you need to get specific, according to Kristen DeCosta’s post, “5 Secrets to Selling Products Online Successfully,” on FounderU: “Considering the niche [specific] market you want to target is vital to the success of your business. Smaller niches will have less competition, giving you a better chance of connecting with potential buyers.”
With a narrower, more specific audience, you will have fewer customers to market to, so DeCosta suggests you “Spend some time thinking about your niche and balancing the level of competition with the size of the market.” In other words, find a niche that you can break into that has a need for the services you offer.
As you consider your audience, start planning your services. Examples include:
- One-on-one or group coaching
- Team building events
Consider selling digital products
Another business option is to sell digital products online. These can be made available on your website using an eCommerce platform. They can also be a great way to drive more people to buy your book, in addition to earning extra income.
For example, a guide that helps people work through a common problem that you address in your book can be a great lead driver for more sales. Include a call to action at the end of the guide, like: “If you liked this workbook, check out Your Book Title to take these ideas one step further.”
What’s more, you can use material from your book as the foundation of the product, making it quick and easy to develop. Let’s say, for example, that you’re an authority on entrepreneurship. You could offer aspiring entrepreneurs a downloadable workbook with advice and exercises that come straight from your book.
Below are some other examples of the many digital products you could offer:
- Online workbooks and guides
- Online course
- Audio recordings
- Templates and checklists
Get started now
The goal of building a creative business around your book is to drive sales while earning extra income, so it’s important to keep the products and services closely aligned with what your book offers while building brand awareness in your respective space. The more people like, know, and trust you, the more likely they are to buy from you. Use these steps to get started with your business today.
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