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Authorpreneurs Part II: Is this the way to go if you offer coaching services?
Writing for profit...
Yesterday I came across a business coach on LinkedIn who wanted to know if there were any coaches in our group that also had written books and he also wanted to know how they were being marketed.
My response led to the creation of this hub which contains my limited experience as a self-publisher. Hopefully it will be of use to any of you coaches or advisors that may be considering adding books in addition to the services you offer.
Pros & Cons
I self-published my book; My Cat Won’t Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany) through Amazon’s CreateSpace as a print on demand book with the intent of using it as my “calling card” for my dating coach business. I never submitted any query letters to literary agents in an attempt to be traditionally published but instead chose to go the “Authorpreneur” route. There are pros and cons to taking this approach. One major con is the majority of “brick & mortar” stores do not sell print on demand books because they are unable to return them should they not sell. My book however is available online at several sites including Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Books-A-Million. Another major con is (you) are completely responsible for marketing your own book. The obvious pros are you can publish books as fast as you want to and you can collect a much larger percentage of royalties. An ebook on Amazon could pay you up to 70% of SLP. You can also order your own book at a deep discount and resale them at list price at various events.
Reviews & Contests
My strategy for creating sales was to initially attempt get some notable “editorial reviews”. I was fortunate to get some great ones from Publisher’s Weekly, Readers Favorite, and The Midwest Book Review. If you are blessed to live in area that has a newspaper with book reviewers you can contact them and send them a copy of your book. I also submitted my book to some prominent Independent Publisher award contests. I ended up as a finalist for my category in a couple of them and I still have one outcome pending. It can’t hurt to be known as an “award winning author”.
Amazon has their Kindle Select Program. The way the program works is you sign up to have your ebook exclusively available on Kindle for 90 days and you can schedule 5 free promotional days which Amazon will market to the public. In theory there will be many people that download and read your book who will recommend it to others after the promotion has expired. Should you decide to participate in this program I highly recommend you sign up with the Author Marketing Club at no charge and use their free Kindle book submission tool. Once you join scroll down towards the bottom of the page and you will see a number of sites that specialize in getting the word out to their members regarding free Kindle books.
The advantage to using this tool is you can get the word out to a lot more people. One disadvantage is you have to list your book and promotional days which each individual site. Most of them have advance notice requirements of two weeks or less and one of them even has a (number of Amazon reviews) requirement. Another disadvantage or rather disappointment is there are free Kindle book promotions that go on every day. Many of the people that download your book for free may not read it for months if ever. From the Kindle owners point of view it’s an opportunity to add books to read “someday”. These devices can hold upwards of 10,000 books. Very often these people will download your book based upon the book cover and title. Amazon also allows them to return the free download.
If your book is never read or is not read for quite a while that would affect the “word of mouth” sales. Nevertheless the cost to the author is only his or her time and there is always a potential to make sales!
Another avenue you may consider is “donating” one or two copies of your books to a few libraries in your area. If the library gets a lot of people checking them out they will want to order additional copies. It’s also possible that readers will decide to purchase their own copies after checking the book out. And there remains the potential for additional word of mouth sales.
If you live in an area with several “mom and pop” or independent bookstores you may be able to strike up a consignment arrangement where you leave them with 5 or so books and collect a 60% or whatever percentage you work out with them in the event your book sales. It cost them nothing but shelf space. It’s also fairly easy to make arrangements to do book signings with independent bookstores.
You may also won’t to sign up for daily alerts with a couple of media publicity sites. Right now I’m with RadioGuestList.com A couple of times a day they’ll send out emails primarily listing Blog radio show hosts that are looking for authors, coaches, and experts on a variety of topics. Some of these shows have anywhere from a few hundred listeners to a few thousand. The shows run anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour long. Another site is Help A Reporter Out also known as HARO.
Most often these are writers looking for quotes and contributions from experts and coaches to add to their articles. If they use what you submit they’ll quote you with your name and author of ….etc
The radio shows generally want you to “pitch” them an idea for a show and not simply promote you and your book. One example is a pitch I made this summer to stations during (wedding season). The pitch was “Are Men Really Afraid to Commit?” Naturally you’d want to mention your book during the show and how it ties into the subject. The host of the show also introduces you by reading your bio and as well as the name of the book you have written. In closing you would mention the book again and tell people where they can buy it
Another avenue you might consider as a coach is making class proposals to community colleges in your area that offer “Continuing Education Programs”. Classes are taught in the evenings and Saturdays. The schools will market your classes to their students in their catalogs at no charge to you and they will pay you either an hourly wage or up to 50% of the student registration fee. In addition you can also charge students a “material fee” for your book!
If you are planning to someday offer your own seminars/workshops this is a good way to get experience. Note: There are no degree requirements to be a Continuing Education Instructor. Schools are primarily looking for people with experience in the topic they want to teach. Having a book on the subject elevates your status in the eyes of many people.
You may also want to visit Meetup.com .There are tons of groups with varied interests. These groups provide an opportunity for networking as well as groups and book clubs you can approach regarding being a potential “guest speaker”. Naturally you’d bring books with you to sell after your talk. You can also create your own Meetup group which relates to your expertise.
I’m still new at this but I’ve also spoken with authors who had traditional publishers and many of them are doing many of the same things to promote their books in addition to creating websites, Facebook,Twitter accounts and other social media avenues. I’ve learned that selling books is about 20% writing and 80% marketing.