Friday, July 25, 2008

Use Your Book For Leverage

Are you leveraging the power of your book to engage your reader? You may be wondering what I'm talking about since many people see the book as their end goal. These people are trying to learn the craft of writing and take the necessary steps to get their ideas into print--which is a great starting place in the journey.

The book isn't the end but it's the beginning in many regards. Repeatedly I've heard my friend Alex Mandossian say, "People do not make money writing books (true). People make money explaining books."

I've probably burst a few people's dream with those words about making money writing books. In the last few days, I've read Patricia L. Fry's excellent book, The Right Way To Write, Publish and Sell Your Book (more about this soon). Fry writes on page 14, "The Author's Guild has determined that a fiction book is successful if it sells 5,000 copies and a successful nonfiction book sells 7,500 copies." Arielle Eckstut and David Sterry write in Putting Your Passion Into Print that less than 10% of books published (yes fiction and nonfiction) ever earn back their advance. These statistics are the norm and you could break out of the norm but realize what you have to overcome and leverage to make that happen. While hope springs eternal, it is good to root your hope in reality.

I was stirred to think about this concept of leverage for books earlier this week with a thought-provoking post from Paul Mikos at Cumberland House Publishing. As Mikos wrote in his post quoting Michael Cader from Publishers Lunch another source that I will also use, "The book, Cader said, 'is the [most] meaningful place for you to have meaningful interaction with your readers…When I finish a book, I want to know what to do next… Can I write the author? … Is there a club? … If there's a Web site, don't just give me a URL, tell me what's good there.' [Cader's] larger message: 'Get your mind-set out of the book business and into the reader business.'

Mikos pointed me to read this article from the EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Noelle Skodzinski. Here's the paragraph from this article that I want to point out: "Books have a power, for many of us, unparalleled by television or movies. We grow strangely attached to the characters. I recently finished reading “Water for Elephants” and didn’t want the story to end. I wanted friends to read it, to share the experience. And I definitely want to read another book by Sara Gruen. Fortunately, the publisher was smart enough to tell me what other books she has written."


How are you leveraging this power in your own books and creating products which explain your book? Are you doing it through a regular newsletter where you connect to your readers? For example, several years ago I wrote Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. While the book is available instantly in an Ebook format, it is also in a paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and many other places. It is important to give the book to people in as many different formats as possible. In addition, I created several products like the audio interview with eight top editors and literary agents in publishing called Secrets About Proposals. As another tool, I'm providing daily proposal coaching through another product, Proposal Secrets. Or I've provided an audio package of my teaching about book proposals called Editor Reveals Book Proposal Secrets.

Each of these products is an example of how I'm leveraging my book and focused on attracting readers and growing the audience. You can follow the same pattern.

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