Should You Participate In Direct Sales Of Your Books?

direct book sales
There is a growing debate in the publishing stratosphere on whether or not writers and publishers should start aggressively pursuing direct sales of books in an effort to eliminate the middle man (Amazon). Visit any number of writer and/or small publisher sites and  you will no doubt read a wide variety of opinions on the matter.

Many of my readers are entrepreneurs first and writers second OR some want to create a business around publishing information. We are different. We already know the benefit of direct sales and many of us are already doing this. In fact, this may be ALL that you do and you are looking to branch out to different forms of distribution of your work (Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc.)

This leads me to my humble opinion. Entrepreneurial writers a.k.a. non-fiction writers a.k.a. information publishers should always maintain a balance in the way we sell our information.

Placement On High Exposure Retail Sites

You should definitely publish books on your topic(s) to online retailers such as Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. It’s important to push your information in front of as many fresh eyes as you can and using these retailers is the best way to do this. This is where you’ll accrue book reviews and other social proof (tweets, shares, etc.) that you’ll need to build your author platform. This is also a great place to also get sales. Retailers like Amazon do a lot of the heavy lifting for us. Even if you rarely market you non-fiction book, Amazon’s ecosystem is powerful enough to help you generate sales all on it’s own. Not sales that will buy you a new car, but enough to get things rolling until you put your book marketing plan into gear.

But let me clear, these sites are NOT where you’re going to make your money. Your real money is going to come from DIRECT sales and other ancillary income that you generate as a result of publishing and selling your books (such as speaking).

Direct Sales For Maximum Profit

There’s a reason why big publishers are considering direct sales. It’s the same reason why authors should…so that you don’t have to share any part of the sale with another entity. Why get 70% of the sale of your book when you could get 100%? Or at least 100% of the sale minus a small processing fee (such as with Paypal). Of course the key to direct sales is that people need to visit your website and buy from you versus buying over on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. So why would people buy from you rather than a trusted seller? Because you’re going to offer more value that’s why.

Many writers are doing this by offering “premium” versions of their books. You can buy a book on organic dog food on Amazon, but if you buy the same book from the author’s website you could get the book plus premium content on how to shop for ingredients or 10 bonus recipes. The opportunities are endless on what you could create as premium content.

Fiction writers are throwing in novellas with the purchase of a novel directly from their site. Some sell their books individually on big retail sites and then “box them up” and sell the boxed versions only on their website.

Another idea for nonfiction writers is to offer a book on the retail sites, but offer a “bigger” course-like version of your topic on your website. So if I wanted to, I could write a very dumbed-down version of my article writing and marketing home study course Articology and offer that on Amazon, but if people wanted the full blown course then they could buy it on my site. The advantage to this is that writing a book on Articology and offering it on the bigger marketplaces puts my content in front of a much larger audience, with of course the hope that they will later invest in the full course.

How Much Time Should I Spend On This?

Okay here’s the thing…You don’t want to stab yourself in the foot by spending all of your marketing time pushing readers to your site. You still need some momentum to build on the retail sites (like reviews) in order to gain some traction in the marketplace and to continue to build on your author brand. That’s why I stress the need for a delicate balance. I think of this “balance” in a tier fashion.

Tier 1 readers are people who visit the big book retail sites and either look for me directly there (because of my marketing efforts) or who happen to come across my book during a basic web or Amazon search. I want them to purchase my book, read it and review it. My next objective is to take these Tier 1 readers and convert them into Tier 2 readers. These are people who want more from me. They are ready for higher level information and so I want them to buy directly from me (information product, course, webinar, etc.) The key to converting Tier 1 readers into Tier 2’s is by making sure you get them on some sort of list, preferably an email mailing list. Authors and entrepreneurs alike can agree that building an email list to market to is one of THE most important things an author can do to assure continued sales.

What are your thoughts?

Have you been wondering about the benefits of selling on retail sites vs. direct sales? Did you make a decision on doing one or another? Share with us your thoughts on this highly popular topic in publishing today.

 

How To Create Compelling Content – The Infographic

Are you clueless when it comes to creating content that your readers crave, consume, share, and act on? Hey, it can be daunting task but here’s a little inspiration for you to get over the hump and get a clue! This infographic on how to create compelling content was designed based on a post originally at Copyblogger.com. Enjoy!

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content - Infographic
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

Why You Should Never Hire A Ghostwriter

Why You Should Never Hire A Ghostwriter If You Want To Be Noticed In Your Niche

Over the years I have had the opportunity to work with many entrepreneurs. Most want to cut corners and eliminate as much work as possible and I get it. The whole 4-Hour Work Week theory and such. But I’m going to be completely honest here… Most of the entrepreneurs I know who are making six or seven figures (including myself) who are sharing their special sauce :) with the world are doing it themselves. Meaning that when it comes to their message, what they want to share with their tribe, etc. — they are the creators of that content — NOT a ghostwriter. Not a virtual assistant. Not a hired gun.

The reason why is simple. We all have competition. So if you want to “make noise” amid all the clutter in your niche you have to:

#1 – Be Authentic

#2 – Be Seen

#3 – Be Heard

#4 – Be Trustworthy

#5 – Be Unique

When you hire a ghostwriter to write your articles, your ezine, your ebook, your information product, your signature system, etc. he or she cannot help but write it in their own voice instead of yours because they are not you. The end result may be a polished, well-written,  piece of content but it doesn’t sound like you and it definitely will not meet all 5 of the above criteria.

Instead — your content will sound like the hundreds or thousands of other pieces of white-washed content in your marketplace. There is nothing unique about it and that will make you simply….average.

Okay, So How Do I Produce Great Content Regularly Without Outsourcing It?

This is my theory on outsourcing… There are many things that you can and should outsource in your business but your content is NOT one of them. Where you can maximize your efforts is in compilation, distribution, publishing. So for example, you should write a great article solving one of your ideal clients’ problems. Then give it to a virtual assistant to publish to your blog, spin or rewrite it, and distribute it to various 3rd party sites and directories.

Or say you want to create an ebook for some passive income in your business. Take some of your favorite articles on a central topic, make some additional notes on each article,  and then give them to someone to compile into a 7-10 chapter book. Someone else has done all the compiling and polishing of your book — but the content and voice is still ALL yours. Still authentic. Still You.

So if you are looking to really stand up and get noticed right now in your niche, write your own content. Do not hire a ghostwriter. Invest your dollars where it matters — leveraging your content – not creating it.

What Is Content Marketing?

Have You Ever Wondered What Is Content Marketing — Really?

“Your Business Must Market Content In Order To Thrive”

There is a movement going on in the world today — people do not want to be sold to. Instead it is crucial for business owners to build trust, credibility, and likability with customers and clients before the sale is made. So while many traditional advertisers are struggling  converting customers with print ads, television commercials, and direct mail, businesses using content marketing are not. The reason being that for entrepreneurs like you and me — it is our first priority to give people value first – then convert them into the sale later.

So What Exactly Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the act of a business owner creating and sharing free but valuable information that a prospective client or customer has requested (or searched for) and which creates trust, credibility and authority for the business owner that provided the information.

There are characteristics that differentiate a solid content marketing piece from a random source of free content on the web–content marketing must offer value and have a call to action a.k.a. some sort of action you want the prospect to take after they’ve read, listened, or viewed your content.

Another characteristic of Content Marketing is that it is something which grows exponentially more powerful with repetition. It’s this repeated and regular exposure to your content and therefore your marketing message which builds a relationship of trust, likability, and the opportunity to convert your prospects several times rather then once.

It makes sense because statistics prove that it takes more than 7 exposures to a marketing message before a prospect even considers investing in you, and I can only imagine how that number is probably even higher for solo entrepreneurs.  I admittedly told one of my most influential mentors how it took about three years of being marketed to by her before I invested in coaching with her!

What Types Of Content Marketing Are There?

Do you already use some of these in your business? Are you maximizing the reach that each of these content marketing tools can make?

1. Articles
2. Blogs
3. White Papers
4. Free Reports
5. Videos
6. Audios
7. Social Media Content
8. Email Newsletters

Luckily over the years I have actually discovered my content marketing sweet spot, and I found it by effectively figuring out the right ratio for providing high-value content vs. promotional messages that resonated with prospects.

Interested in obtaining started creating & leveraging marketable content? So my assignment for you is to let go of the limiting belief that you are frightened of giving away all your yummy content. The actuality is that you must give some of the good stuff! And this is why…

Deliver your prospects undeniable value, connect with them authentically, build their trust, as well as they will definitely not merely want to function by having you, however they are going to count on everything that they purchase from you and they will definitely disperse the word about you all over the spot. That is actually the TRUE potential of content marketing!

3 Reasons Why I Write

3 Reasons Why I Write

Why Do You Do What You Do?

If you’ve ever had a career change or career evolution, I’m sure you’ve experienced the pangs of self-doubt. It’s common practice to question yourself after you’ve made a BIG move. This happened to me when I decided to step back from traditional psychotherapy and focus on entrepreneurial writing.

Many of my peers or family members who liked saying that I was a psychotherapist wanted answers. They wanted to know why I rather write then do therapy. So here it goes — these are the reasons…

REASON 1
It’s What I Like To Do (Even When No One Is Paying Me)

I have always been a writer. I kept quite detailed journals since about 7 years old. I earned a degree in journalism and worked in that field for several years before going back to school to get my masters. I have always enjoyed writing and sometimes writing is the only way I can accurately express myself. I fall back and lean on writing all the time.

And more importantly, although I am paid well to help others write effectively, I write even when there’s no one paying. Even when there’s no one looking. And that’s really the whole “Oprah” idea I’m trying to get across.

Hopefully your business is something that you would do for free. For nada. Which means ultimately that when you do make money, it will be even sweeter.

REASON 2
Writing On The Web Packs A Powerful Punch

Digital writing a.k.a. ePublishing packs a powerful punch for entrepreneurs. Personally, I think that writing on the web is one of the most strategic ways to build credibility, generate traffic, and make passive income. There aren’t many marketing strategies that you can do and gain that type of traction from them – for little to zero cost at that!

Every entrepreneur and every service professional should have some sort of web presence that is primarily “content based”: articles, blog, ebooks, short reports, e-courses, teleseminars, etc. If you are not establishing yourself, your brand, and your marketing message on the web with content, then you better already be a celebrity, because no one is going to notice among the thousands of other competitors in your niche.

REASON 3
People Kept Asking Me For My Help

Sometimes you just have to look at not necessarily what you think you should be doing, but what people are asking from you. People have continuously asked me for help with writing and tech work — and they probably do because I have put out in the world that I am always willing to help.

I soon realized that I’m always willing to help (back to reason 1) because it’s not really work for me. It’s interesting and fun. And while I am “good” at a lot of different things like every other person, there is a way that I am able to explain a tech issue or pull a good story for an ebook out of some one that is unique to me, and that which many people are drawn too. So why fight the power?

So my advice to those who haven’t quite figured out their life’s work: pay attention to what advice people in your circle ask you for. What do they want from you? What do they refer you to others for? If there is a way you can make money at it — then I suggest you go for it! I did and haven’t looked back since.

Have you found your entrepreneurial passion yet? If so, what are the reasons why you do it? Do you have any other inspirational or common sense tips to pass onto others? Share them here. You could inspire someone today:)

Ebook Sales Increase!

Ebook Sales Increase — Sales Are Still On The Rise!

eBook Month

March is eBook month here at my site. I chose it because the second week of March was National eBook Week and because the weather is so weird on the East Coast of the U.S. during March, I rather stay in and read — a lot of ebooks! Evidently, I’m not the only one. Ebook sales saw a tremendous increase lately. In fact, according to The Association Of American Publishers, ebooks sales rose 115% in January beating out both paperback and hardcover sales during that same month.

Even Time Magazine proclaimed that the E-Book Era is here.

ebook month

It’s more important than ever to think about writing your first ebook for your business — which is especially easy if you have existing content (articles). Remember your articles can do more than just sit on an article directory or your blog — you can use them to create your own signature ebook. I’ll be talking more about how to do just that very soon so stay tuned!

 

eBook Week

Ebook Week

ebook readerIt’s Read An eBook Week this month. March 6 – 12th. That’s right, the ebook is officially 40 years old this year and to all you die hard hardcover and paperback readers, I totally understand. I like the feeling of paper in my hand as well, the smell of a new book,  BUT the future of publishing is upon us. And I just as easily fell in love with both my Kindle and my iPad. I don’t want you to miss the boat.

According to Amazon, for the first time since they’ve been in business, they now sell more ebooks then they do physical books. Barnes and Noble’s is selling a great deal of ebooks as well, especially with the release of their revamped eReader – Nook.

Major New York publishers are on the ebook train kicking and screaming – but they’re here. It’s rare now to see a major book release that doesn’t have a digital version of some sort.

Let’s face it, internet marketers were ahead of their time:) Your clients and customers learn through various forms of media and the ebook is one of them – actually the major one. If you’re not on board, it’s time that you get with the program and learn how to write and publish ebooks that your prospects will find irresistible.

The easiest way to create your first ebook is to repurpose articles you already have sitting around on your hard drive, and I’ll talk about this more in depth. So stay tuned!

New To eBooks?
This week is a great time to purchase your first ebook and give it a whirl. If you don’t own an eReader (Kindle, iPad, Nook, Sony) or a smartphone with an eReader app (Android, iPhone) – you can always purchase and read one on your desktop or laptop. You’ll just download the PDF version.