Council Post: How To Make Money With Your Book Without Selling A Single Copy

September 6, 2020

12-Time #1 International Best-Selling Author, Speaker, and Founder of Epic Author Publishing

dollar symbol in cutout inside book

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While you can make big money with your book, here’s the truth: Most authors are broke. They invest their time, money, energy, even a part of their soul into their masterpiece just to become a “starving author.” I’m not saying their book isn’t great — just that they rarely get seen by the people they were meant to help.

Most authors fail because they don’t treat their book like a business. A successful business needs marketing to make a profit. If you don’t make a profit, you go out of business. Smart, successful authors understand this. Consider J.K. Rowling and her billion-dollar brand. Her bestselling book series was turned into a movie franchise, theme parks, a Broadway play and more. (Our family personally owns three of her magic wands, acquired during our many trips to Universal Studios.) Part of your job as an author is to create a profitable path to monetize your message.

Below are four ways you can use your book to grow your business by selling products or services.

1. Develop an online course.

Everyone should have a course. My daughter became a No. 1 bestselling author when she was 8 years old with her first book The 3 Ninja Kitties. The business beyond her book was an online course called The Super Kids Book Writing Workshop. She has since earned over $1,000/hour teaching her workshop and upselling her course. Trust me, if an 8-year-old can do it, so can you.

The Money Math: Let’s say you have a $1,000 course (a very reasonable price) and 25 people a month who sign up. That’s $25,000 a month. In 12 months, you’d make $300,000 a year.

Don’t have a course? No problem. Your course can contain the same content as your book and help your audience implement what you share in your book. I always suggest you price your “offers” based on what they’re worth to your client. I also suggest you hire a mentor who has already created the results you want and have helped others get the same result. Pick your mentors wisely!

2. Consider mentoring, coaching or consulting.

This is how I monetized my first book, and how I made 10 times my usual income in the following 12 months.

How much should you charge? While many people charge by the hour, I strongly suggest otherwise. Instead, offer a monthly fee and include an entire program that’s more than just one thing. Include coaching, courses, a community, live events, even give them technology that will help your clients get fast results. Most good coaches charge between $1,000 to $10,000 a month.

The Money Math: Let’s say you charge $2,500 a month and have 10 clients. That’s $25,000 a month or $300,000 a year.

If you’re not sure how to be a coach or offer consulting, don’t worry. I didn’t either — until I learned. The secret to figuring this out? I said it before: hire a mentor!

3. Start a membership site. 

A membership site is basically an online course that people get access to for a small monthly fee. It’s designed to help you, the author, help your clients implement the ideas and information in your book. I’ve seen people charge anywhere from $10 to $10,000 a month — it’s up to you.

The Money Math: If you charge $50/month to 500 members, that’s $25,000 a month and $300,000 a year.

4. Create a mastermind.

A mastermind is a like-minded group of people who share a common goal. I love masterminds. In my opinion, a good mastermind is more valuable than all of the other things I’ve mentioned. (Plus, they’re probably the easiest to build and maintain.) The real value of a mastermind is the group — not the leader. The better and more successful the group, the more valuable the mastermind. 

The Money Math: Let’s say you charge $25,000 to 12 people, again that’s $300,000 a year.

What can you charge? I’ve been in masterminds that are free and one that cost $30,000. I have friends in $100,000 masterminds. I find that the more people pay for something and the more people invest in themselves, the faster and more successful they become.

Now, you might be wondering, “Trevor, that all sounds great, but where do I go from here?” Good question!

Here’s what I suggest you do next: Consider the end-results you’d like to celebrate (one to 10 years) from now. Your answer should include any or all of the following: your income, number/type of clients, how you spend your time, your social media following, publications, media, etc.

Here’s what I ask my clients: “Imagine you and I started working together today, and I taught you everything I knew while my team and I did everything we could to help you get results. Imagine that we’re sitting in a coffee shop a year from today. What would have happened in your life, both personally and professionally, for you to feel happy with your progress? What would make you say ‘Working with Trevor was the best decision I’ve ever made?’”

Then, ask yourself, “What will I sell beyond the book? And how will I sell it?” If you don’t have an answer, find a mentor to help you create your own profitable path to monetize your message. Writing the “right” book will help you gain authority and credibility in your space, as well as build trust and have the reader scrambling to buy your stuff.

It’s a myth that just because you have a book, you’ll be successful. I blame it on Kevin Costner’s character in Field Of Dreams. He said, “If you build it, they will come.” No, they won’t. Not unless you market the hell out of you, your book, your message and your mission. Treat your book as a tool to help you grow your business and you can go from being invisible to becoming invaluable.

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