Write, Publish and Market a Book with No Out-of-Pocket
The following formula is one that can be used by virtually anyone to raise funds to publish a book.
by Kathleen Gage
Do you dream of having a book published, but don’t know where to turn? Already have a book, but unsure of how to promote it? Looking for cost effective high-return strategies to market your book? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the following information is for you.
Many writers and aspiring authors are under the mistaken belief if their book is published by a publishing house they can sit back and watch sales miraculously happen. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fact is, competition to have your manuscript noticed and published by a large house is extremely fierce. Additionally, no matter who publishes your book, you absolutely must take an active roll in marketing, promoting and selling your book.
Moreover, profit margins are not extremely good when you go through a publisher. Sure, if you sell tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of books, you make substantial amounts of money. In reality only a small percentage of writers achieve this level of success.
A great model for achieving success is to self-publish and actively promote your book. Self-publishing is one of the best ways to get your manuscript to market quickly. Another great benefit of self-publishing is you have complete control of the creative process. You make the decisions on content, editing, cover design, title and you reap the profits.
A primary downside with self publishing are costs involved. Depending on whether or not you hire an editor, designer, layout person and cost of printing, the initial outlay for self-publishing a book can be several thousands of dollars for the first run. Besides there are no guarantees your book will sell. However, you can lessen your risk of costs and increase your level of sales with a simple formula.
Imagine if you could self publish with no out of pocket money. Additionally, imagine gaining lots of free publicity and visibility in your market at the same time. I know this to be true, because I have done it.
The following formula is one that can be used by virtually anyone to raise funds to publish a book. In addition, you can gain great visibility, do the initial run with no out of pocket money and position yourself for volume sales.
Although the formula is rather simple in concept, it is not necessarily easy to do as it takes planning, time, effort, consistency and great follow up to make it work as well as possible.
You can write, publish and market a book with no out of pocket expenses by hosting a seminar with a topic that is linked to the book. In order to keep costs down in the rollout host the seminar in your local market. You can further offset costs by securing sponsors for the seminar. Event sponsors provide funding necessary to the costs of an event. They can either contribute in actual dollars or with in-kind offerings. Sponsors underwrite various aspects of an event.
I did this at the beginning of December with my most recent book, “101 Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door” and had an incredible response. Although there was a lot of work involved in the rollout the results were, and continue to be, incredible.
Besides writing content for the book each author had a very specific role. Mine was the marketing and promotions of the book. The first level was to develop a clear marketing strategy for my 3 co-authors and myself.
Prior to beginning the writing of the book, we developed a very detailed project plan. The plan included hosting an event to introduce the book to our local market.
Knowing the costs to an event such as we were planning, I knew it would be beneficial to secure sponsors. I developed a very solid proposal for sponsorship of the seminar. Because of very detailed information and showing the sponsors how they would gain from being involved, I was able to secure two excellent sponsors. One is a primary business newspaper in Utah and the other is an organization who targets start up businesses.
The paper was more than willing to do some advertising for the event in exchange for some great visibility and additional subscribers. The organization offset the costs of the room and audio-visual equipment in exchange for mentions in the advertising and all pre-event promotions. Both sponsors were given the opportunity to do a 5 minute presentation at the seminar and distribute promotional information to everyone in attendance. It was a win/win all the way around.
Had I not had a clear-cut proposal for the potential sponsors chances are I would not have secured their support. Also, I know it is easier to gain support from businesses who know me rather than trying to get sponsorship from an organization who has no idea who I am. The same will be true for most anyone.
With day of event expenses covered, we could now focus on generating revenue for publishing the book. This was done by pre-selling the book. Anyone who purchased the book sight unseen by November 28, 2004 was given a seat into the seminar on December 2nd.
With initial revenues from pre-seminar sales designed to offset book production costs we were able to write, market and publish the book with no out of pocket money. By utilizing the databases of all four authors, press releases, pre-event radio interviews and presentations at Chambers and local organizations, word of mouth promotions, and other low-cost/no-cost forms of promotions, we sold over 350 copies sight unseen. (Cost of the book is $19.95)
We had well over 200 people attend the seminar as some of the pre-event purchases were from folks who were out of the area.
A key to our success was having a functional website were the book was (and is) available. www.101waystogetyourfootinthedoor.com We utilized online credit card purchasing options for buyers. In that 80% of our sales were done with Internet and credit cards, we would have been remiss to not use this as a method to sell.
As we were pre-selling it was important to let people know that the cost of a seat into the seminar was the book. Also, if they didn’t make it to the seminar we would mail them the book for $4 more or they could pick it up. The $4 covered mailing costs. If we didn’t do this we would have cut way into our profit margin.
We made a strong point of letting people know they were buying the book, not the seat into the seminar. However, the only way into the seminar was to buy the book.
To gain even more value from the event and increase day of event revenues
each author sold other products Back of the Room (BOR). One author sold a sales
training program. The signup's that day realized several thousand in additional
revenue for her.
The two other authors sold specialty items and set up appointments for those who were interested in such things in their sales campaigns.
I sold my Street Smarts Marketing and Promotions™ program as an E-book. This helped me to generate several thousand in additional revenue. Knowing audience members were already interested in my material, I put together a special day of event package with three of my e-products bundled together. Everyone received one of my order forms upon registering.
At the end of my session I did a short sales presentation. All folks had to do was fill out the order form. With each sale, all I had to do was process their credit cards and email them the PDF document. No mailing costs or printing costs. Nearly a 100% profit margin.
Many self published authors shy away from doing presentations claiming to be an author and not a speaker. Fact is, if you get in front of a target audience who is interested in your topic and you present your ideas well the amount of books you can sell is incredible.
The book complimented by a well delivered presentation allow you to get in front of meeting planners who may be in a position to utilize your services and your book at a later date. You may also have representatives from companies who want to buy large quantities of your book.
Since the release of the book I have had some companies buy “101 Ways to Get You’re your Foot in the Door” in large quantities. Because Maxwell Publishing is my company and the book was published through Maxwell, I have the flexibility to do special runs. With a minimum purchase a client can add their logo to the front cover of the book and a personalized letter from whomever they choose included in the book. This is a great marketing tool for them with long-term benefits to their employees or customers.
Granted, myself and one of the other authors are professional speakers so presenting at an event such as I outlined is a part of our marketing model. However, two of the authors are not professional speakers per say. Yet, in their everyday business they do present frequently. However, with this event, it was a different type of presentation for them. They will be the first to admit that additional exposure and sales were worth doing this type of presentation.
Regardless of your topic the model we implemented can be used by virtually anyone. For example, if you have a book on nutrition, find a health food store who wants more foot traffic and visibility. They may be a perfect fit as a sponsor. Not only can they help you to offset costs they can help to promote the event. At the seminar you can promote their products with coupons, mentions and information provided. It’s a win/win.
If you have a book on real estate sales there’s bound to be a mortgage company who may be interested in sponsoring you. Perhaps they would be willing to buy a book for every real estate agent who does business with them. Or, they could give a book to each of their mortgage brokers.
If you have a book on childhood development, what about a baby clothing store? Perhaps the store would cross promote and give a book to each customer who buys a minimum amount of product in their store. This adds value from them to their customers and creates a win/win for you and the store.
In today’s world of writing, marketing and publishing a book, the possibilities are only limited by imagination.