My friend Fred Gleeck wrote a great article in the most recent issue of his Fred Gleeck Insights ezine. I think you should read it. He's got some great things to say that I've also been saying. Every once in awhile, it's good to hear it from someone else. Here's Fred:
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 its 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. Smart authors build 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.
In Fred's ezine, he attached an article he had previously written about the seven deadly sins authors make. I'll post that article as well tomorrow.
Fred offers five free books to anyone who wants them. Check them out at http://www.fredgleeck.com/ebooks.