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7 Deadly Sins Authors Make and How YOU Can Avoid Them!

Information Marketing

For the last almost 10 years I’ve been trying to tell authors that the money is NOT in the book. It’s in EVERYTHING that comes AFTER the book.

Most traditional authors (and aspiring authors) don’t seem to understand this model.

That better change if authors want to make writing their full time occupation. If not, they’re going to want to find a bartending job.

If you know an author or someone who is thinking of writing a book, PLEASE send them a copy of this email.

I believe even more strongly than before that you can only make serious money as an author if you structure your business in a way that your book becomes the beginning and not the end of the process.

I’ve referred to my own books as “negative cost lead generators.” By this I mean that when I sell a book I make a few bucks but my REAL goal is to capture the email address of the person who buys it.

Take a sale I make on Amazon for one of my many books. Let’s say the book sells for $14.95. After amazon takes it’s cut I make around $6.50 per book. Since I get them printed for $3.50 a piece, I end up making $3 a book.

In the books I’ve got an offer on every page, trying to get people to give me their name and email address in exchange for an appropriate digital bribe.

Every author has got to understand that the sale of a book or two or two thousand does not make a BUSINESS. A smart author builds their business by building and cultivating their LIST. Your business becomes LIST BUILDING.

A list that is created from making attractive offers to readers of the book between the pages of the book itself.

The list that you create of people who have an interest in your topic area becomes a gold mine that you can continuously tap if you cultivate them correctly.

I was prompted to write about this topic (again) after reading Chris Anderson’s most recent article in WIRED magazine. Chris, if you don’t know him is the author of the prescient “Long Tail”. In that book he explains why ITunes works.

He explains that because the cost of distributing music has fallen to virtually ZERO, even the most obscure singer/songwriter can sell a download or two every month or so and have it work financially for both parties.

Similar things are happening in the book publishing business. Traditional books are now being transformed into e-books and the new e-book readers are getting better and better.

A recent book by Jeff Gomez (Print is Dead) talks about the imminent demise of physical books. It’s mandatory reading if you are an author and suggested reading for EVERY info marketer.

His premise is that that eventually people will become accustomed to getting their information directly from the computer and the need for a physical book will no longer be necessary.

I’m not sure I buy his premise completely, but he makes a very solid argument. In another 50 years it is entirely possible (for me) to envision a world where (new) physical books no longer exist.

If we even partially buy into the argument, it becomes imperative for authors to look for other revenue sources than books themselves. Why? Because the effective COST of a book will be ZERO!

That’s WHY I’m an information marketer. That’s WHY every speaker, author and consultant should be building a list and creating ancillary products and services in their topic areas to sell to that list.

I spend an inordinate amount of my time reading and thinking. I consider this time well spent. I mainly think about how I can generate more revenue for myself and my clients through novel and creative ways.

Going back to Chris Anderson’s article in Wired, he talks about a very interesting concept. He references a venture capitalist named Josh Kopelman. He talks about what he calls the “penny gap.” He postulates that FREE is one market and ANY other price is an entirely different market.

As an information marketer I’m constantly thinking about what price point a product should be released at.

According to Kopelman’s argument the question is really binary: FREE OR NOT?

I would suggest that you need to ask this question of yourself all the time when you produce any kind of intellectual property. It’s really the FIRST question you should ask before you even produce a product.

IF you decide you’ll be giving it away, THEN all of your marketing efforts will be completely different.

I’m attaching a copy of an article I just wrote for anyone who is an author or aspiring author. Enjoy!

7 Deadly Sins Authors Make and How YOU Can Avoid Them!

The most recent data I’ve seen says that 99% of authors make less than $50,000. Sad but true. Want to find out how to end up in the 1% who make more? Keep reading and avoid these “deadly” sins that most authors make.

1. Going with a Traditional Publisher. Unless you are a fiction writer, you’ll make more money publishing a book yourself. My friend and client, Bob Bly has had over 70 books published by traditional publishers. Every time I sit down with him he tells me that if he had it to do over again he would have made a LOT more money publishing the books himself.

2. Not including bounceback offers in your books. Whenever I do a seminar with writers in the room the vast majority don’t even know what the word “bounceback” means. That’s because most writers/authors/publishers have been taught the traditional model. Sell books and make money from the books. NOT. Use your book to get people to go to your website and sign up for your list. Then you can sell them much higher priced items forever!

3. Worrying about people STEALING your books published in e-book form. If you understand the new publishing model you should care less about people “acquiring” your e-books without paying for them. Instead, make sure to include a lot of bouncebacks AND make sure to include the following line in multiple places in the book: “Registered users of this e-book are entitled to the following free bonuses.” Want to get people to pay for your e-book fast? Include this line and the bootleggers will come running back to pay for what they stole.

4. Not understanding how people learn. Although you’re a writer, you’ll have to understand that people learn using different modalities of learning. Although someone picked up your book, their PRIMARY method of learning may be by listening (audios) or watching (videos). It thus behooves you to create content in your subject matter in a variety of forms, not JUST the written word.

5. Not building a LIST of people who are interested in your topic. As a writer, your single biggest asset in your publishing business will be a list of dedicated fans of you and your work. Make sure to capture the names of any and everyone you can who visits your website that sells your book. Use a program like WebMarketingMagic to quickly and easily build your list. The list you build will be worth (if properly cultivated) between $.10 and $1.00 per person per month.

6. Sending people to a brochure site to sell your book(s). The line I always use is: A CONFUSED MIND ALWAYS SAYS NO! If you send people to a catch-all site that has every possible bit of information about who you are and what you do, don’t expect people to end up buying the book. You’ve given them too many options. Instead, create a site that sells JUST your book. It’s fine to have other sites, but each book must have a single site geared to selling just that book. Full stop. No exceptions.

7. Not understanding that you’re no longer a writer, but an information marketer. Sure, you may think of yourself as an author or writer, but if you sell your knowledge in any other form as well, you’re an information marketer. Do you do coaching or consulting on your topic? Do you do training and seminars? What about speaking? If you do anything in addition to writing, you, my friend are NOT a writer, you’re an information marketer! Behave appropriately! Learn from other savvy individuals how to best leverage your skills and talents to maximize your returns!

In conclusion, the publishing business is changing. Changing rapidly. Don’t get stuck using the OLD model. Learn how to maximize your revenue as an author who understands the new challenges. Understand the 7 items above and you’re on your way!!

See you next time!!!


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