(Author’s Note: As the publishing revolution swirls around us, here are my 10 top tips for 2016 to assist Authors who wish to benefit from the profound disruption occurring. Anyone who “consumes” media may also be intrigued with what’s happening behind the scenes. This is the “handout” for my talk at the San Francisco Writers Conference, sfwriters.org, and possibly other talks in 2016.)
By Lee Foster
(Lee Foster has 18 books on his Amazon Author Page at http://amzn.to/1jl9Lnz, including 4 “indie” books. His main “living” books can be seen on his website or as a PDF. His thoughts on modern publishing are expressed in his latest book, An Author’s Perspective on Independent Publishing: Why Self-Publishing May Be Your Best Option. Lee has more than 250 worldwide travel writing/photo coverages on his writing website at www.fostertravel.com.)
My new book on “self-publishing,” also now called “independent publishing” in polite circles, considering that self-pub books are now on the NY Times Best Seller List
What are the 10 top things you can do to monetize your book content in 2016?
-1. Get your book content securely set up directly as print-on-demand in Amazon CreateSpace (for Amazon’s huge worldwide audience) and in Ingram Spark (for bookstores and libraries).
Tip: Someone in England can order your book today and Amazon can deliver a physical book, printed in England, to them tomorrow. Benefit from this revolution.
-2. Get the ebook version of your book content securely set up directly (and non-exclusively) with Amazon Kindle (your likely main revenue source) and with Smashwords (your access to all the ebook selling worlds beyond Amazon).
Tip: Amazon will incentivize you to go “exclusively” with them, such as allowing participation in their “subscription” program. But I recommend that you choose a “healthier” diverse economic and cultural ecosystem with non-exclusive deals.
-3. Get your book content up as a “website book” presentation on your WordPress website. Your website book, meaning the exact book or some parallel approximation of your book in a range of articles/posts, may ultimately be more beneficial to you than your printed book and ebook versions.
Tip: A “robust” website presentation of your book content may be your most secure path forward to survival as an Author. With a website, you can monetize by means of Google Adsense ads and private ads or “sponsorships,” and you can sell your “products.” See my Northern California Travel: The Best Options book as an example, 30 chapters, which appear as 30 website articles, at http://www.fostertravel.com/category/norcal/.
-4. Get Google AdSense Ads and then private ads and private sponsorships set up on your robust website with your book content. Nurture your content with new posts. Increase the number of “products” that people can buy. Focus on attracting people back to your website where they can become aware of and buy your products, or just hang out and endure ads.
Tip: I earn 25 cents from Google when 100 people get attracted to my website at www.fostertravel.com. As Janis Joplin said, “Take a little bit of my heart, baby. You’ll know you’ve got it when it makes you feel good.” Let your fans take a little bit or bite or byte at a time. Adele recently sang “Hello” to 1 bil of the Earth’s 7.4 bil people on YouTube. It’s OK to give a little bit away at a time.
-5. The more “products” you have, the likelier you are to survive financially. Your book is a printed book, and an ebook, and a “website” book, correct? If you have just one book, why not more? Think of more titles in your repertoire. And what else are you “selling?”
Tip: Your book makes you an “expert” in your field. Do you Consult for a fee? Do you offer Speeches and Appearances for a fee? Everything you do can draw folks back to your website and your books/ebooks, which are for sale, at least on Amazon. Sell your books at the back of the room for full retail at Speeches.
-6. Focus your Social Media efforts on a pattern of posts that will help promote your book(s). Pace yourself. Consider a once-a-week post on your website and in Social Media of something interesting that relates to your books. Draw folks back to your website, where the complete post resides. I concentrate on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google +.
Tip: Who am I to tell you how to behave on Social Media? My advice is only helpful if you want to sell your book. Become the cat video expert if that is your path. But consider the possibility of a weekly blog post on your website related to your book and then an announcement about it in Social Media. Your fans will appreciate it and may buy your book. The pattern will take a while to set up.
Here is my pattern, as an example:
My weekly blog post www.fostertravel.com/blog
-7. Where could your content be helpful to someone seeking something or selling something to someone? What do people want and where do they get it? Do you offer folks: 1 Entertainment and Insight; 2 Advice and Guidance; 3 Good Experiences; 4 Saving Money and Time; 5 Other? How can your book help? Where are people looking for what you offer? Is your content there?
Tips: Think inside the box and outside the box. Could your book be an audiobook, as is my Travels in an American Imagination? (http://adbl.co/1ZTMj1M) Some folks will only “read” books by listening to them, perhaps while doing a necessary daily commute. Could your book be translated into Chinese and sold in China, as is my Northern California Travel: The Best Options. (http://amzn.to/1H3ynf9) If the consumer wants your book in Chinese, you need to make it available to them in Chinese.
-8. Think licensing of your book content. The great travel agency system, Uniglobe, came to me recently and asked to license for three years more than 100 worldwide articles from my website at www.fostertravel.com. This included about 10 chapters from my book Northern California Travel: The Best Options, as seen at http://www.fostertravel.com/category/norcal/.
Tips: Become aware of entities that might want to license your type of book content. Have some content related to your book, if not the exact book, available in small chunks, up on your website. Good things can happen.
-9. Think assignments that might result from a robust website display of your book content. Chances are that there are people looking for your kind of book content and willing to assign you to write parallel or derivative content. This has happened to me. The big website Answers.com (#23 in traffic on the Internet) decided to hire 150 “experts,” including 10 in travel. They hired me to be their San Francisco Region Travel Expert and develop 80 short articles on the area,
Tips: I asked my Answers.com handler why she selected me, since I know I have many competitors who are also expert on travel to San Francisco. She said, “I was sitting behind my desk in St. Louis. I saw all your website articles, including all your book chapters about San Francisco and Northern California at www.fostertravel.com. I could see immediately that you could do the kind of articles we wanted.”
-10. To close on a hopeful note, you might go “viral” with your book. This has happened to me. My travel app San Francisco Travel and Photo Guide (now no longer available to consumers, another saga to discuss) was declared by Apple to be a “Staff Favorite.” The next week a thousand apps sold, and I earned $1,000. This past December one of my blogs/articles “Light Arts Proliferate in San Francisco” (http://bit.ly/225J0bL) went viral and has now been read 127,135 times (as of 2-8-16). Viral can happen to you.
Tip: Viral is a potential positive that can balance many factors diminishing your possible success as an Author. For example, books that you sell will not stay sold. They will get resold over and over as used books on Amazon. Goodwill and other charity entities will dispose of your book, when it is donated to them, for $.01 plus postage. They will make $1 on the postage. So, be aware of the negatives. However, on the positive side, you can go viral. You can assemble an unheard of number of fans. There is always hope that you can profitably sell your book(s) and book content in the modern world.