Monday, 25 July 2011

How to Publish a Book for Profit

Creating a Passive Income

Would you like to make a money from the book you have written? 
I should actually say, Would you like to make money from the book you plan to write? because the best time to look at the potential saleability of your book is before it is written.

Now if you have already completed your book, don't worry, there are ways to go back and edit it to ensure it is saleable. However, it is always easier to start with the end in mind. Before you even begin writing you can ensure your book has a sufficient target market for the sales you desire. If making a profit is your aim there is no point producing a masterpiece unless you can be certain there are enough people out there hungry for your subject matter. Without a hungry target market there would be little point in releasing your book.

It is very important when writing a book for profit that you find the market first, find out what they want and then tailor your book to meet their needs. There is no greater way to guarantee sales than to provide a hungry market with a book that, while they may not know it exists, they are already looking for. This also makes the sales process of your book much easier, as when a hungry buyer hears about your book, they purchase first and ask questions later. This is known as'the emotional buyer'and the best way to make a profit from your book is to sell to their impulse-buying emotions.

But how do I know what my target market is looking for? 

The simple answer to the above question is to ask them. While this sounds too easy it actually works very well. Conduct a survey. 
Ask your target market exactly what they are looking for. Examples of good questions to ask include:

• Would you buy a book on (insert your subject matter here)!
• What subjects would you most like to see in that book?
• Is there anything you particularly struggle with that you would like covered in this book?
• What question would you most like answered in the book?
• How much would you pay for such a book?
• Would you be interested in buying this book when it is released?
• Would you recommend this book to your friends?
•Would you be interested in pre-ordering this book at a discounted price?

 I think you get the idea.
Answers to any of these questions are invaluable, as now you can not only structure your book around what your target market is already looking for and therefore guarantee sales, but you already have the content for the book, know how much people are willing to pay for it, if people are ready to buy it and, better yet, whether people are ready to recommend it to their friends. If you take advantage of the pre-ordering question you can also have the capital to produce your book with before you need to fulfil the orders. Other people are now paying for you to fulfil your dream. Interesting isn't it? For the specific advantages of asking any of the above questions please refer to the boxes on the following pages.

"Would you buy a book on (insert your subject matter here)?" 
This is a very important question. While you may think your book is absolutely fantastic, if your target market is not interested in your subject of choice you will have great difficulty selling your book. This doesn't mean you shouldn't write your book. It may just mean that your book is a 'dream' book rather than a 'passive income' book. Or it may mean that you need to tailor the subject matter to something more specific.The power of book sales is in the niche, so if your book doesn't cover a specific niche it will not be as saleable as one that does.

For example: A book on 'how to raise kittens' may not sell that well, as there are plenty of books like that already on the market. However a book on 'how to raise Siamese kittens in the Australian climate to ensure that they are show winners by age 1' is tailored to a much more specific market and therefore a lot easier to sell. People are looking for specialists, not generalists, so make sure when writing a book for profit you always keep this in mind.

"What subjects would you most like to see in that book?" 
This question is terrific as you can collate the information from your survey together, find the 10 most popular subjects and you have the subject matter for your book right there. Write one chapter on each subject and you will have a very satisfied target market.

"Is there anything you particularly struggle with that you would like covered in this book?" 
Anything that is mentioned here is vital. Once again, make sure you have a chapter allocated to this topic in the top 10. If there are any topics that don't overlap with the subject matter mentioned above, add a few extra chapters but make sure you cover the top 10.

For example: A good place for the solution to their struggles is at the start of each chapter. When someone is looking for a solution they don't want to waste any time in finding it. If they only read the first paragraph, get the solution to their problem and never read the rest of your book, does that really matter? If your aim was to sell the book, you still sold it, didn't you? Whether they read the whole thing or not is irrelevant.

"What question would you most like answered in the book?" 
This is a great question as people like finding answers to their questions. The chances are that, just like subjects they would like to see covered and the issues they are currently struggling with, this question will overlap with one or more of the earlier questions. Fantastic. Repetition is the key, so if people have asked for the same thing 3 times then there is a good chance your book is going to sell well. Better yet, people like answers to their questions and as such, questions make terrific Chapter titles.There is no better way to get someone to read your book than for them to glance through a table of contents and see a range of questions they desperately want to have answered.

"How much would you pay for such a book?" 
This is a fantastic question as it prices your book for you. You don't want to underprice your book, as apart from reducing your potential revenue, doing this also reduces the perceived value of your book. People don't buy books based on their price, people buy books based on their perceived value eg. 'What will I get out of this?'The cheaper the price, the less value the customer believes they are getting.

On the flip side, an overpriced book will miss out on sales altogether. If people feel they are being ripped off they will not buy your book on principle. Always under-promise and over-fulfil.

For example: People like to know that when they buy something they are getting a lot more value than the price they are paying. A good way of doing this is to offer some free giveaway with your book via coupon redemption eg. free seminar tickets, bonus ebook with every book purchased etc. Work out what is appropriate for your book and give that away with it. People will love you for it.

"Would you be interested in buying this book when it is released?" 
This is a great question as this distinguishes the referrers (people who will recommend your book to others) from the buyers. Both need to be marketed to, however they need to be marketed to in different ways.The buyers will generally pre-order which, as already discussed, is great capital to start your publishing endeavours with, but the referrers will keep referring so long as you keep updating them with what is going on. This is where e-mail newsletters play an integral part in the marketing process of your book (see Step 7 for more details).

"Would you recommend this book to your friends?" 
Great question. Firstly, just because someone is interested in your subject matter doesn't mean they would buy your book. Some people don't like to clutter their home (I will talk about how to sell ebooks to them here ), some people are tight with their cash and prefer to borrow books and some people just don't like reading. While not everyone will buy your book, there is nothing wrong with everyone advocating it. For example: If someone completes your survey and leaves happy, chances are they are going to tell their friends about it and chances are they have more than one friend. Even if the person who completed your survey doesn't buy your book, the power of sales is in selling to the masses, not the individual. So, just because 1 or 2 people, or even 10% of the people who complete your survey don't buy your book, if 1,2,3 or more of their friends do you'll be glad you conducted a survey.

"Would you be interested in pre-ordering this book at a discounted price?" 
Fantastic question. While you ideally want as many people as possible to pre-order, the fact of the matter is, not everyone will. The ones who do are great for initial capital as previously mentioned, but don't forget about the ones who don't as they are just as important, being your first buyers after the book has been printed. Even if pre-orders cover the cost of the printing, you don't begin to make a profit until you sell to the second group of people. You would be surprised how well the phrases, 'just released', or 'brand new' sell. It is a common mistake that pre-orders are taken and those who want to wait till the book is released miss out, or get marketed to as referrers. This is a terrible mistake, as if they feel you have forgotten them, they are hardly going to be a good referrer. Make sure you treat all 3 styles of people who complete your survey as they want to be treated (see Step 7 for more details).

The other good thing about surveying the market first is not only does it provide you with content for your book which you already know will be saleable, but it is a relatively inexpensive way of doing this. Surveys can be conducted via traditional means where people for your target market can be found.

For example: a good place to conduct a survey for a book on 'how to raise a toddler'might be at your local preschool if you could send a survey home with the parents of each child. Alternatively, a cookbook's market may be better researched by handing out surveys in front of a supermarket. 

While cold calling has been repeatedly used over the years as a form of conducting research I don't recommend it. It annoys many people and even those who agree to be surveyed may still hold a grudge against the company that took up their time. This is the last thing you want. If the people you survey are your future buyers, you want them to complete the survey leaving extremely happy with you.

The best way to ensure people who complete your survey have a good experience, and go away feeling happy and promoting your book to others, is to offer them some kind of freebie or incentive for completing your survey e.g. a free sample chapter in ebook form. This not only creates a happy potential customer you can come back to when your book is ready, but providing them with a free sample creates in them the desire to read more. This in turn helps sell your book when it comes on the market.

If a traditional survey seems to involve too much work in finding the time to go out and find your target market, asking their permission and then waiting for them to fill out and return your survey, then don't worry. There are ways to get people who are wanting to complete your survey to come to you.

"Do you mean potential customers will find me instead of me having to go searching for them?" 
Well, basically yes. These days, thanks to the world wide web, there are survey sites available to do just that - allow you to test a new product on your target market before it is produced. Sites like www.surveymonkey. com or amongst many other survey sites are set up for this express purpose. Some have costs associated with them and some are free, some you can conduct from the survey site themselves (meaning you don't even need a website) and some you can host on your own website. I recommend doing an internet search to find out which ones are right for you. Whichever way you contact your target market, make sure you do, as there is no better way to guarantee sales of your book (and to source qualified leads) than to ask the people who are already looking for your book what they want in it.

The best way to distribute this kind of book (after you have fulfilled all the pre-orders, of course) is online via both e-mail marketing and your own website specifically designed to sell your book. For more information on this, make sure you pay special attention to Step 7  as your book will only remain saleable for as long as you keep regular contact with your target market.

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