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Market Yourself with eBooks: Volume 2 (Free ebook)

Market Yourself with eBooks: Volume 2

Volume 2 in our new free ebook series Market Yourself with eBooks is now available.

Like volume 1, you can get it for free now and you don’t have to give your email address or fill in an opt-in form. Just click and download. Share the link with whoever you think will be interested.

Volume 1 explains the concept of publishing as a form of content marketing. Volume 2 shares six features of great ebook for marketing purposes. This information is useful to anyone developing a content marketing campaign, especially for business professionals who can benefit from an ebook strategy.

Content marketing, ebook marketing strategy, content development, ebook design
Volume 2: Six Features of great eBook for Marketing Purposes

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR COPY: Volume 2, Market Yourself with eBooks: Six Features of Great eBooks for Marketing Purposes

If you like it, let us know. If you would like an ebook for your business, give me (Michael) a call at 425-771-2905.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and follow me on Twitter to get more publishing and content marketing tips.

 

Book project, Living Large in Small Spaces: The Cottages of Lake Worth

I love self-publishing success stories. Sometimes success comes just by chance and sometimes by thoughtful decisions and a commitment to quality. The book, Living Large in Small Spaces: The Cottages of Lake Worth is the latter case.

Cottages, Lake Worth, small homes, self-publishing, independent publishing, book design
Living Large in Small Spaces: The Cottages of Lake Worth. Front cover jacket. Under the jacket is an adhesive case with the same cover design and image.

I knew from the start I was working with smart people who had a brilliant idea and a lot of great content. Too often self-publishing authors are thinking “sell globally” on the Internet when, in fact, success is much easier when you start with “sell locally.” If you’re selling a coffee table book that is $32.95, like The Cottages of Lake Worth, direct sales for even a small print run of 3500 books, adds up to $115,325.

As Alex Shephard recently wrote in the New Republic, what sells books is discoverability. “Guiding audiences to a book is the key to successful bookselling. Word-of-mouth buzz can turn a book like The Girl On The Train into a cash cow, as can reviews and other media coverage…” Obviously, Word-of-mouth buzz is much easier to start locally than nationally or globally. That’s good to know, because it can steer many aspects of a book project.

The group behind The Cottages of Lake Worth book project were themselves cottage owners and an award-winning photographer, which is why there are so many excellent photos in the book. The book brings together popular topics that are of interest to audiences everywhere—inspiring cottage photography, garden design ideas, and solutions for living in small spaces. But getting almost instant success comes from having many local advocates, beneficiaries, and stakeholders such as the cottage owners featured in the book, the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, and various supportive individuals and local businesses. There are also many local venues and opportunities for selling the book. So, not surprisingly, I received this email shortly after the book was published:

Hi, Michael—“Can you believe it, we are going for our second printing of our book? On Monday, the board gave a collective thumbs up for more books. . . . We are down to fewer than 150! Thank you again for making our book so, so successful!”

Cottages, Lake Worth, small homes, self-publishing, independent publishing, page design, book design
Chapter openers feature a custom sun and wave design.

Yes, I could definitely believe it. Their success had nothing to do with Amazon or national bookstores—which they didn’t use to sell the first print run. In fact, it was mostly word-of-mouth marketing and commitment to creating a quality product.

A big part of the book’s success comes from the creators’ decision to go beyond self-publishing. That started with creating their own publisher identity to become an independent publisher. They carried this through, following publisher best practices with the editing, design, branding, printing, and marketing strategy. They were receptive to professional guidance and made decisions guided by marketing ideas that you would expect from an acquisitions editor at an experienced publishing house. The result is a book that anyone would find interesting and enjoyable to look through. Not only does it not look “self-published,” it is easily competitive with the best books in its category.

“. . . it was wonderful that we chose to work with you after receiving a recommendation from mutual friends.  Our book has been a huge success and you are a great part of that success . . . People love it and smile when they look at it.  You were always available to talk to us and guide us through some important decisions . . . AND the book is beautiful, thanks to your design! We could not have asked for more . . . By the way, we are selling so fast that we are depleting our supply of hardbacks . . . We should have listened to you when you wanted us to print more! The Best to You.” —The Cottages of Lake Worth Book Committee

“Well, it seems we ALL did a great job on our book. The public loves it, and they are selling fast.” —Janice Snearer

Cottages, Lake Worth, small homes, self-publishing, independent publishing, book endpapers, spot varnish printing, book design
Flaps with spot vanish and custom endpapers.

Here’s a video that shows the spot varnish effect:

Cottages, Lake Worth, small homes, self-publishing, independent publishing, book design
Page spread design showing photo, caption, and lizard decorative element.
Publisher logo design, Cottages, Lake Worth, small homes, self-publishing, independent publishing, book design
Publisher logo design created for the Cottager Press

The photographer who created the photos in the book was kind enough to send me this nice endorsement:

“Michael Rohani . . . guided us through the production of the book . . . Without him, we are certain, that our book would not be the successful tribute to Lake Worth and its cottages. His sage advice saved us money and helped us make good decisions to ensure that we produced the most beautiful coffee table book our region has ever seen. In four months, we have sold 80% of our print run. I wish Michael could hear the wonderful comments from those viewing the book. He would hear praiseful words such as “wonderful,” “professional,” “gorgeous” and “spectacular.” We always say, “Well, the best decision we made was hiring Michael.” We appreciated his warm, patient and personal approach through the laborious process of getting our book to print. . . . He completed his tasks quickly and expertly, and our pages reflected his immense talents. We can’t recommend Michael Rohani more highly.”
—Taylor Jones, Photographer for Living Large in Small Spaces: The Cottages of Lake Worth

Be sure to subscribe to my blog to get self-publishing tips and hear more publishing success stories.

Market Yourself with eBooks (Free eBook)

Market Yourself with eBooks

Take a look at our new free ebook series Market Yourself with eBooks. Get it for free—you don’t have to give your email address or fill in an opt-in form. Just click and download. Share the link with whoever you think will be interested.

Volume 1 explains the concept of publishing as a form of content marketing. This is useful especially for business professionals who want increased credibility and speaking engagements. It includes ten ideas for how to market yourself or your business with ebooks.

CLICK HERE TO GET IT: Volume 1, Market Yourself with Ebooks: An Introduction for Businesses, Entrepreneurs, and Authors

Content marketing, ebook marketing, business promotion

If you like it, let us know. If you would like an ebook for your business, give me (Michael) a call at 425-771-2905.

Want more? Check out Volume 2, Market Yourself with eBooks: Five Features of Great eBooks for Marketing Purposes.

Content Marketing, free ebook, business promotion

Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog and follow us on Twitter.

Benefits of Publishing for Businesses and Entrepreneurs

When you think about profits from publishing, don’t just think about book sales if you’re a business owner or entrepreneur. The profits from the book sales are often just one aspect of a book’s value. In fact, some businesses and entrepreneurs can profit from publishing even if they give away their books. Books are, for example, a good way to increase speaker engagements and that means more opportunities to build your brand and promote your products and services.

Here are a few benefits of publishing:

  • You gain credibility as a published author
  • It is easier to get speaking engagements if you have published
  • Printed books have a physical presence that reminds people of your business
  • Books can be shared, spreading your message
  • Books are a form of visual branding
  • Books can reinforce your sales pitch
  • Books can reduce consultation time
  • Books are a longer lasting form of advertising

Reasons Independent Publishing is so Profitable for Businesses

Independent publishing is especially profitable for businesses and entrepreneurs because they are often in a unique position to sell direct and not have to rely on retailers who take 40–50%.

If you are, for example, a restaurant selling a cookbook to clients, a gift shop selling a photo coffee-table book to tourists, a local museum, etc., you have your own point-of-purchase with lots of high-value prospects—more than enough to sell your inventory of books. Likewise, a speaker selling books at events often has no need for an ad campaign. Businesses and entrepreneurs may already have a special website or blog. These factors reduce setup costs and increase income. For authors in these situations, the math shown in my post (The Math Publishers Don’t Want Authors to Know!) will fit your situation well.

Sell Your Advertising!

If you go all out and publish a full-color and very beautifully designed business book, the costs might be $16,000–$20,000 (which is mostly print costs). This cost divided by 4 years, is an advertising budget of $4,000–5,000 per year, assuming the unlikely event that you make nothing back from selling the book. This is a low advertising budget, but remember, you are selling the books. If this investment gave you 3000 books sold directly at $19.95, the gross income from the books would be around $60,000–65,000.

If you had a nicely designed black and white book (color cover, but no color inside), the print costs would be much lower, but if it is a valuable guidebook or how-to book (finance, investing, diet, health, etc.), you could produce the book for less and still have a similar price point.

You could avoid the largest cost—the upfront color print costs—by using print on demand (POD), but POD results in a higher unit cost with many print limitations, meaning the book may be harder to sell and harder to turn a profit. POD works best for B&W paperback books. It is important to evaluate the type of book and your retail price when considering print options. (I’ll discuss that more in a future post.)

Because the book is advertising for your business and you are selling it, your advertising actually makes you money rather than costing money.

Publishing is one of the best low-cost forms of advertising. The value is particularly clear when you add the profit from selling the book with how the book is generating additional revenue by increasing the cachet and visibility of your business services and/or products. This makes independent publishing a very powerful and effective promotion strategy.

Give It Away Free and Still Make Money!

In many cases, it is worthwhile for businesses to publish books, even if they decide to just give away the books for free. The free book strategy is not just a good idea when publishing PDF eBooks that go viral on the web—books that have no print costs. Free books can be a beneficial strategy even when publishing very nicely printed books. It really depends on your business, the type of book you are publishing, and your clientele. Auto showrooms, for example, have long understood this. They give away small, but nicely printed, booklets that show off their cars and products. People take these and show them around to friends. Books have physical presence, can be shared, and exist as reminders of the product. This booklet is a low-cost way to influence a high-cost purchase decision. The same is true for free tour guides that feature local businesses and historic sites.

Some books can also be used as a type of upsell, such as when a customer buys a subscription, product, or service, and gets the book for “free.” This too helps influence the purchase decision.

If you’re a business, be sure to read my post The Most Important Thing to Do When Publishing.

Be sure to subscribe to my blog posts!

How to Write the Best Author Bio

To help promote your book, you need an author bio. The purpose of an author bio is to persuade readers to buy your book. Or put another way, an effective author bio is one that has a positive influence on the purchase decision.

Focus on the Purpose of Your Author Bio

This same sales principle that applies to the book cover, the design of your book, retail features on the cover (price, shelving category, barcode, publisher identity), and all the other back cover texts (book description, endorsements), applies to your author bio. All the design work, texts, and retail elements serve one primary purpose which is to generate book sales.

To achieve this goal an author bio must convince your audience that you are authoritative—meaning that you have the experience, talent, qualifications, or credentials to write about whatever topic you have chosen.

Another important purpose of an author bio is to convince book industry professionals and event planners that you are capable and available to market your book by giving book readings, participating at book signings, speaking to audiences, doing workshops or seminars, etc.

Start with an Outline

Compile a list of your achievements, experiences, and credentials. Consider mentioning

  • past publications (articles or books), including blogging experience;
  • relevant experiences and accomplishments;
  • any awards won;
  • workshop and speaker experiences;
  • membership in relevant organizations; and
  • any important professional or volunteer work you’ve done.

If you have given workshops in different cities or countries, list them. If you have relationships with people who are important to your story, mention them. If there are notable cases or projects you have worked on or completed, mention them.

Include certification credentials next to your name if they are relevant and especially doctorate level degrees (MD, PhD, EdD, etc.). If, for example, you are writing about health or nutrition include any appropriate credentials (CNS, CCN, RD, CNC, CN, MD, ND, etc.).

Remember that once you publish it, it will always be out there and you can’t make it disappear—so be truthful and consider how the author bio might be understood in the future. Your author bio is a critical pillar in your personal brand.

Identify and prioritize those features of your author bio that are most likely to persuade readers to buy the book and believe in your abilities. Put the most important details at the start of your author bio. Eliminate details that are unrelated to your qualifications to write about your chosen topic. Avoid, for example, any information about hobbies, travels, interests, household pets, etc., that are unrelated to the book.

If humor is important to your book, a humorous author bio may help persuade readers that you can and will deliver humor in your book.

If the primary purpose of your book is to generate speaking engagements, then shift the focus of your author bio more in that direction by stressing your credentials and experience as a public speaker.

Formulate a Mission Statement

Whether you have a long list of credentials or none at all, formulate a mission statement. A mission statement is a short summary of your aims and values.

Use the mission statement as a lens through which to view all the statements and claims in your author bio. This will help your keyword and phrase choices and the overall focus and unity of your author bio.

Let’s assume you have written your first sci-fi book and there is nothing in your job history or experiences that relate to your new literary aspirations. In this situation, your author bio can consist of a type of mission statement that allows readers to understand your aims and values. Of course, you only want to mention those aims and values that help attract readers to the actual genre and story you are publishing.

Keep it Short

Two to three short paragraphs are sufficient. A good bio does not need to be long. 400 words or less is fine. Once you have completed the author bio, create several edited versions, one that is about three sentences long, and one that is only one sentence. You will need the different lengths for different purposes.

Ways to Use Your Author Bio

You’ll usually need a very short version for the back cover of paperback editions. This back cover bio can be as short as one to three sentences that focus on your credentials.

I’m often asked by authors: “Should I include an ‘About the Author’ page at the end of the book if I already have an author bio on the back cover?” The answer is yes. The back cover bio is usually very short because of limited space. Reader endorsements are more valuable than the author bio. If you have two or three reader endorsements and a short book description, too little space remains for a long author bio. Put a short author bio on the back cover and a longer one at the end of the book. If the back cover bio only includes the most relevant credentials or experiences, then the longer “About the Author” page can mention other accomplishments such as notable speaking engagements you have given or workshops you give.

Use the longer, more complete, author bio for your “About the Author” page, website, and for your press kit. Put a press kit on your website so people can download and print it, or share it as a PDF.

Do You Need to Include an Author Photo?

If you are attractive or have an author photo that reinforces your credentials, you should include it. If you are, for example, writing about mountain climbing and you have a photo of yourself on a mountain in appropriate gear, use it. If you are a business professional, dress in appropriate business attire. Try to use a photo that fits your author credentials.

If you use a professional photography studio to get your photo taken, be sure to let them know that you plan to use the photo for “commercial” purposes. Most photography studios have separate fees for personal and commercial use. You’ll need commercial use.

Be sure to read my blog Tips For Writing The Best Back Cover Copy

The Math Publishers Don’t Want Authors to Know! (Part 2)

Let’s assume you are publishing a simple book that is 6″x9″, 250 page, B&W interior, full-color cover. The cover price is $19.99. This is the same example used in part one of The Math Publishers Don’t Want Authors to Know!

When do you start making a profit?

You only have to sell around 270 books to cover all your start up cost. That’s all—even though you’re following publisher best practices by actually hiring a professional editor and designer! Sell just 270 books and then you’re on your way to making a profit.

The initial costs (editing, design, etc), plus the first 300 printed books look like this:

300 x $19.99 = $5,997

 

Editor                                             $1,500

Pre-press                                   $2,280 (Design, page layout, file prep)

Printing and shipping            $1,620 (The POD print unit costs is $5.40. 300 x $5.40 = $1,620)

Total cost                                  $5,400

$5,997 – $5,400 = $597 divided by 19.99 = 30 copies

300 – 30 = 270 copies to break even.

$5400 divided by the cover price $19.99 equals only 270 books sold before you start making a profit. (This assumes the books are ordered and shipped 100 copies at a time. If for example, all 300 books were ordered at once, the print costs drop to $1441.93. This slight savings changes the equation like this: $3780 + $1441.93 = $5221.93 divided by $19.99. Now only 261 books need to be sold before making a profit.)

After selling 270 books, your only remaining costs are printing and shipping more books to your office. The next 300 books (ordered 100 at a time) costs $1620.27. Sold at $19.99 each, the total income is $5,997, leaving a profit of $4,376.73. Remember, when the publisher sold 600 copies, you made only around $420. In fact, with 4000 books sold by the publisher, you only made around $2800. To make the same amount, you only have to sell 463 books, which is 3,537 fewer books than the publisher! If you publish independently and sell 4000 books, you get $54,576.40!

What if you sell more than 4000 books?

Let’s assume the book is a great success and you start selling more than 4,000 copies. Here’s the math based on the model outlined above (initial costs of $3780, plus low-risk print-on-demand method for 100 books ordered at a time costing $540).

Net profit after costs:

4,000 books sold = $54,576.40

10,000 books sold = $145,891

100,000 books sold = $1,458,910

If the book proves too difficult to sell, you can cut your losses early by not ordering more books. However, because you only need to sell around 270 copies to cover your costs, it is unlikely you will lose money.

Let’s now assume that you want better printing. Instead of print-on-demand, you decide to use offset printing to get better overall quality and more special print features, such as a gate-fold cover (French flaps), a metallic ink or gold foil title, embossing, a second color in the interior, etc. Unlike print-on-demand, you need to print more copies, usually more than 1000 copies to make it worthwhile, so you have to invest more money up front, but bear in mind that the total overall investment is less, even though you are getting much higher quality.

You decide to spend $12,000 on printing 4000 copies. With the similar editing, design, and a few additional costs (special effects templates and print management), the total investment is now $16,000 or $4.00 per book. Profit per book is $15.99, almost 15% higher than when using print-on-demand. You now make 15% more and the book is a much better quality product that will be much more likely to make a good impression and sell.

$16,000 divided by $19.99 means 801 books must be sold before profitability.

This leaves 3,199 books in your inventory. 3,199 books sold at $19.99 = $63,948.01 total profit. This is $9371.61 more profit than you made selling the print-on-demand books.

When many people think about profits from publishing, they are only looking at the book sales. For business owners and entrepreneurs, the profits from the book sales are often just the beginning. In fact, some businesses and entrepreneurs can profit from publishing even if they give away the books. Be sure to see read my post Benefits of Publishing for Businesses and Entrepreneurs and The Most Important Thing to Do When Publishing.