No, I’m not talking about the amount of time it takes readers to read your book, as in their journey from Foreword and Introduction to Conclusion and Appendix.
I’m referring to the long-term relevance of your book.
- How long will readers continue to buy and recommend your book and follow-up books?
- How long will your books continue to generate new prospects and sales for your products and services?
- How long will your book help you build your email list and how long will your book attract invitations to speak and be interviewed on podcasts?
Authors have long been used—and many still use– to measure the success of their books by whether or not it becomes a “bestseller.” I think it’s time for authors and publishers (including self-publishers) to, instead, evaluate books from a longer perspective than immediate sales.
Equity, not sales and profits
I suggest you view your book’s ability as a marketing tool to help you build equity for you and your business. Measures of equity include:
- Confidence that you, indeed, can write a book (which makes the following books easier to plan, write, promote, and profit.)
- Predictability. How long will direct income from your book continue, i.e. royalties from trade published books and profits from the book sales of self-published books?
- Practice. Writing is an acquired skill. The more you write, the easier
- Opportunities to leverage your book into workbooks, worksheets, templates, and special reports.
- Income opportunities from in-person and online workshops, videos and—when the time is right—in-person speaking topics opportunities based on your book.
- Opportunities to build services like coaching and consulting, around your book.
Of course, whether or not your book will deliver the above benefits depends on your marketing skills, the same way that your writing ability, ultimately, determines the sales of your book. Successful marketing depends on skills like:
- Creating lead generators and incentives to build your newsletter mailing list—which successful authors consider their #1 marketing tool.
- Maintaining your consistently visibility by consistently blogging, guest posting, and writing articles in your readers’ favorite publications.
- Creating marketing partnerships by making yourself available as an interview guest with podcasters and influencers serving your ideal prospects and customers. (The easiest way to do this, of course, is to start the ball rolling by offering to interview the podcaster!)
- Updating your book, of course, is a popular choice, as is creating a book series that draws attention to your original book.
The above scenario, of course, begins with recognizing that marketing—or positioning your book as logical choice in your field—is as important as your writing skills. This requires asking the right questions before you begin to write. “Right questions” are like the following:
- Who are your ideal clients, the types of clients who will respect you for your expertise and be willing to pay a premium for superior service?
- What are the trends impacting your current and prospective businesses?
- What are the immediate pain points that your ideal clients have to put up with? What are the penalties that your prospective clients are paying in terms of costs, inefficiency, and lost opportunities?
- What are the pros and cons of currently books? Before you plan and write your book, you need to be familiar with the books your title will have to compete with. Just as no one wants to buy yesterday’s newspaper, no one wants to buy a book that is only marginally different than what’s already available!
The best time to write a book is to get ahead of the curve. Look for topics where demand is still growing. After your topic approaches and passes the time of peak demand, your book will face increased competition which means lower sales and profits.
Roger’s first book, Looking Good in Print: A Guide to Basic Design for Desktop Publishing. It was the first design book written for non-designers at a time when desktop publishing was becoming a “must have” software for home and office. As a result, it was a success for many years around the world. Roger can help you research and plan a similar situation for your book!
Did you know we’ve hosted an annual Nonfiction Writers Conference since 2010? We deliver the traditional writers’ conference experience entirely online so participants from around the globe can attend. Join us for our next event!