Writing a book can be one of the best business decisions you ever make, but not for the reasons you think. If you’re an entrepreneur or a business owner wondering how you could possibly develop yet another marketing plan for your book, I invite you to look at the possibilities from a different angle.
Your book and your business plan are by no means mutually exclusive. For many authors, they’re one and the same, working together in harmony.
Let me explain.
When we talk about making money from writing, we most often refer to career authors. Book sales, media tours, Netflix deals… It’s easy to assume the majority of profits come from the publication itself. However, this isn’t always the case. Writing and publishing a book is an investment, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the majority of your profits will come from book sales.
Let’s say your book prints at a reasonable $5.00 per paperback copy wholesale price. If you sell that book for $12-$15.00 (another reasonable price in today’s market), you’re looking at a $7-$10 profit per copy. If you’ve invested $7,000-$10,000 in the publishing process—not to mention all the time you’ve put into writing your book—you’re going to need to sell between 1,000 and 1,400 copies before you start making any profit whatsoever.
These types of sales are completely doable. With the right strategic marketing and distribution, it’s possible to sell tens of thousands of copies. But when we start talking big bucks—six to even seven figures—the numbers get more intimidating.
Yes, I want my clients to sell a ton of books. Yes, my clients are completely capable of selling tons of books. However, it’s worth noting that book sales alone aren’t the be-all and end-all of an author’s return on investment—especially if that author manages their own brand. Of course, book sales are wonderful, but if you narrow your focus to one income stream, you’re strangling the potential of your book to work its real magic.
Your book and your business plan go hand in hand. Instead of seeing your publication solely as a product, start thinking about it more like a tool.
Your book is a signal.
In any professional capacity, you can claim to know what you’re doing. But when you’re able to write a book on the subject—to tell the story of how and why you do what you do—you add a significant amount of credibility to your brand. Publishing a clean, high-quality book is a marketing signal of expertise and professionalism.
A published book is a powerful branding tool. Clients don’t even have to read it to know that it takes a notable amount of acumen and prestige to be a published author. If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, you probably have a website and social media accounts to connect with your customers and promote your brand. Publishing a book takes these efforts to the next level and may very well distinguish you from your competition.
Your book is a sales funnel.
There’s only so much you can pitch in an elevator and only so many questions you can answer during a 30-minute discovery call. As human beings, we’re drawn to story. Yes, we have wants, but we’re also looking for a wise, experienced professional to guide us to what we need in order to achieve those desires. Publishing a book is your opportunity to connect with your audience on a deeper, more meaningful level. Your book allows you to unpack the meaning behind your method and illustrate why you’re uniquely qualified to do what you do.
Your professional process, the way you answer your clients’ needs, matters. In other words, how you accomplish your goal matters just as much as the accomplishment itself. I recently picked up a book by a business coach for the sake of professional development. I had no intention of hiring a business coach, but this woman’s methods—her struggles, insights, and ethos—spoke to me so powerfully, I ended up booking a coaching package with her. It wasn’t the end result (getting better at running a business) that hooked me. It was her story. Her processes made sense, and her personal anecdotes made her methods feel relatable and achievable.
This coach didn’t make $10 off a book sale. She made thousands of dollars off a book sale. By inviting potential clients into the story of your brand and showing them how they can become the heroes of their own narrative, you can connect with a broader audience like never before. Readers who find value in your writing are going to recommend your book to other prospective clients, and your outreach becomes exponential. In terms of your business plan, your book is both a networking tool and an undercover sales funnel.
Your book is an invitation.
When you write and publish a book, you are a published author. With those credentials under your belt, who could you reach in your community and beyond? Could you be featured in your local newspaper? Could you write a guest post on a popular blog? Could you display a copy in an independent bookstore’s window? Could you talk about your writing and publishing experience on a relevant podcast or even reach out to schools and book clubs about doing author visits? Maybe another business would like you to come and speak on your area of expertise or use your book for training and professional development.
Having a book is an open invitation to limitless opportunities—paying opportunities. Authors should absolutely charge for speaking engagements, professional training, and visits. On top of the speaking fee, events are great opportunities for book sales.
If I’ve heard an author speak, met them at a book signing, or attended something like a professional training seminar, I’m much more likely to feel a personal connection with them and buy their book. The book itself doesn’t even have to be the focus of the talk. Just being there and knowing I have access to their story is a powerful way to foster a professional relationship.
The value of being a published author goes far beyond book sales. When it comes to return on investment, we need to think bigger and broader. Of course, I want my authors to sell hundreds of thousands of copies, but physical sales are just one small part of how your book fits into your business plan. The real value of being a published author is the ability to reach your audience in a new, authentic, and engaging way—to expand the horizons of your products, services, and brand through the power of story and connection.
If you would like to learn more about the investment behind a book and how being a published author could fit into your brand strategy, please send us a message or schedule a complimentary consultation.