How many hours would you say you’ve spent developing the content for your website over the last year? One hundred hours? Two hundred hours? If you average two to three hours per post (like I do; maybe I’m slow) and you post four times a month, you’re easily approaching 100 hours or more.
That’s a lot of time. A lot of writing and thinking. Hopefully it’s done some good things for you: increased page visitors, helped your organic SEO, nabbed some quality clients.
But you can do more, without much more effort. You can turn your great content into a great book.
And, unlike your blog posts, you can sell your book and create an additional income stream for your business.
Start with a Goal. Every successful venture starts with at least a modicum of planning. Make sure you’ve defined what success looks like so you know it when you get there.
Narrow Your Content Focus. Organize your posts for your book around a theme. Choose a topic that is popular with your clients and that makes you money (relates to a service or product that you offer). Not sure where to focus? Review the statistics for your posts and note which ones received the most hits; those are the topics to target.
Organize Your Manuscript. Just dumping your posts into a document, making each post a chapter, and calling it done is easy—but it’s not right. Organize your content so it will make sense to the reader as they work their way through your book. Expand posts to provide greater value to the reader. Book readers have a longer attention span than blog readers, and tend to expect more depth in the material, so you have leeway to add information and detail.
Decide What Kind of Book to Produce. There are essentially three types of books you can do: print, digital (PDF), or ebook (ePub or Mobi file). Think about your audience, their reading habits and purchasing habits, and the goal you’ve established for your book to help you determine the kind of book most likely to be purchased.
Some things to note: A digital book or ebook requires no physical storage, entails effectively no distribution costs, and tends to be less expensive to produce; however, unlike a print book, you can’t hand someone a digital book and your reader can’t put an ebook on a bookshelf or show it off to his or her friends. The costs associated with a print book may be outweighed by its cachet. Also, although there are exceptions, electronic book readers and print book readers don’t overlap. People tend to prefer one or the other (and print tends to win).
There is also the best of both worlds: produce both a print and an electronic edition of your book.
Hire a Professional. While we would love for you to come to Infusionmedia to produce your book, wherever you go or however you do it, make sure that you use a professional. Very few writers can edit their own work; not every graphic designer knows how to properly design a book. Save yourself potential embarrassment and make the investment in a professional publishing service or book design professional.
Sell Your Book. You can sell your book on your own website or rely on other web marketplaces to do the selling for you.
The easiest route is to sell your book on Amazon and through other online and offline retailers. Something like 60 percent to 80 percent of new book sales in the US are through Amazon. However, as I’ve said before, easy is not necessarily right. You lose 40 to 55 percent of your cover price by going that way.
If you want to retain as much of your revenue as possible, sell on your own website. This requires (1) an ecommerce-capable site (may add to your hosting costs or incur development fees), (2) the ability to set up your products and shopping cart, (3) paying transaction fees to a processor like Stripe or PayPal, and (4) fulfilling orders yourself. If you’ve done a print book, this means packaging and mailing. If you’ve done an electronic book, delivery is automated.
Of course, you can do both, selling on your own website as well as selling through retailers such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble. It does mean some cannibalization of your website sales, but getting your book in front of a larger customer base may well be worth it. (Given the number of people who shop on Amazon, this is called an understatement.)
No one will buy your book until they know about it. Get the word out by holding readings at bookstores, publishing blog posts about your book (and perhaps about the journey to making it a reality), sending announcements to targeted media, and talking about it to everyone you meet. Add information about your book to your business card and email signature. Use back-of-the-room sales when you speak at events. There are hundreds of ways to promote your book. Find the ones that work for you and use the heck out of them.
The Myth of the Golden Word Count
You may have been told that your book should be a certain length or that your chapters should be equally long or that your word count should be this and not that. Sometimes writers think there is a golden rule for word count in a book. There isn’t.
Some of your posts will be long, others short, and the ones you decide to expand for your book may be completely different from how they were first published on the web. It’s all OK. The real golden rule is your chapters should be as long as they need to be and no longer, and your book should be as long as it needs to be and no longer.
Ready to work on a book? Contact us. We’ll help.