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.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Easy E-Commerce and Fulfillment from Home

As a follow-up to my previous post, Don’t Bow Down to, maybe you're wondering, “What’s the alternative? Isn’t Amazon the best way to sell my books from my website?” No way, and if you haven't, first read my previous post for the 3 big reasons why.

Instead, I encourage you to consider selling books from your website and doing the fulfillment yourself. Now, I know you’re immediately thinking, “But that’s time-consuming and expensive! I'll have to pay big bucks for a fancy website store and waste all my writing time shipping book orders.” Not anymore.

Today, you can use
PayPal to handle e-commerce and all credit card sales directly from your website. Plus, you can setup a free online account with the U.S. Postal Service to buy postage, print professional mailing labels, order free shipping supplies, and ship packages – without ever leaving your house. Once you setup your system, most book orders can be completed in less than five minutes. It’s one of the best deals in the history of bookwriting!

With PayPal and the, you don’t have to setup a separate merchant account or stand in long lines at the Post Office. Plus, you get credit card fraud protection and a virtual terminal from PayPal and free delivery confirmation from the USPS. And, all transactions are completed online.

Stop sending your website visitors to buy your books at Otherwise, you’ll miss out on important profits, customer contact information, and marketing effectiveness. You don’t need Amazon to make it as an author – you can do it yourself.

Note: If you’re a fiction author, you’re probably reading this and crying out, “But my publisher will be mad, because if I sell books from my website or at events, then it won’t count towards my sales numbers!” Relax…if you’re helping to sell more books and grow your platform, your publisher won't care about selling books from your website. They’ll be happy, because they know that you’re growing your platform, which means higher sales potential for your next book.

Some of you need to stop worrying about your publisher’s concerns and start worrying about making your writing career last longer. Remember, to publishers, it doesn’t matter where the book sales come from, as long as there are sales. And, a happy growing author makes a happy growing publisher. Without successful authors, publishers can’t exist.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Are Search Engines Finding Your Website?

Do you ever wonder if potential customers will find your website during a Google search or on other search engines? The key method to showing up during a "search" is adding Meta-tag keywords to the coding of your website. When people type-in these keywords during their search, it increases the likelihood that you'll be found. Adding keywords to your website is an important job for your webmaster.

Here's a great way to make sure your webmaster did the job correctly. Click on the link below, type-in your website into the top field box, and hit "enter":

Under the "Header Data" box that appears, you should be able to scroll-down and see a list called "X-Meta-Keywords." If you don't have a list, you need to contact your webmaster immediately and ask for the appropriate keywords to be added to your website's coding. Good keywords include your name (don't forget mis-spellings), your book's titles, and any words that match the subject matter you address. For example, some of my keywords include: marketing, writing, speaking, authors, speakers, etc. Think of words that someone would use to search and find you.

You can also use this web feature to modify keywords over time to find combinations that help draw more traffic. Don't obsess over your keywords, but make sure you have the basics covered. Thanks to Penny Sansevieri at ameblog for this quick tip!