Monday, July 30, 2007

Think Outside the Book

After attending ICRS (Christian book convention) in Atlanta this month, I noticed an unhealthy pattern. Too many authors seemed to focus solely on writing books, which for most is a time-consuming, low-paying process. Unless you’re a celebrity, there is little money to made in writing books. Worse, fewer and fewer Americans read books, so the market shrinks each year. Therefore, the key to long-term success for an author is learning to think outside the book.

In other words, consider ways that you can use your written message to help people who don’t like to read. Try turning your book into audio or video products, speaking seminars, movie rights, study tools for groups, etc.

For example, my books for Christian singles have sold over 30,000 copies…decent numbers, but not enough to live off of for 5 years. So, I took my message, got serious about marketing, and created speaking engagements, audio products, and a video curriculum for small groups. So far, I’ve made over $400,000 from one message! That’s because I learned to see the book as a means to an end, instead of the end itself.

Are you with me? Authors who just try to write a lot of books usually windup pumping out a bunch of mediocre literature, pray earnestly for strong sales, and barely make it financially. And, they wonder why being a writer seems so hard. Instead, learn how to write the best book you can, but make it generate multiple streams for revenue for you.

You don’t have to become a traveling speaker or a slave to the media. If you prefer to stay at home, you could turn your message into an audio book, group curriculum, a movie or theatrical production, teleseminars, individual coaching, downloadable files for an IPod, short articles for targeted audiences, etc. The options are endless.

Here's the bottom line: You are the only limit to your message. If you’re a good writer who is struggling to pay your bills, then stop obsessing about writing your next book. Instead, push the next book deadline back a while, and focus on making your current book work for you now.

- Do you have an example of "thinking outside the book"? Click on the comments link below and share it.

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