Author Like a Pro: How to make $$ writing books
It’s the $100,000 question. Literally, I’ve spent a decade and thousands upon thousands of dollars in search of the answer.
Grad school didn’t teach it.
A summer working for free in publishing didn’t reveal it.
The truth was only made clear to me by asking those who went out and actually did it. As Tony Robbins famously said “Success leaves clues.”
So I asked the writer who got the big advance for her first book; the Blogger who turned nothing into a multi-six figure business; the author who self-published before it was in style and has made a comfortable living at this whole writing thing:
“How do you get paid to write books?”
They all had one answer in common: They learned how to be marketing ninjas.
They got so good at marketing they didn’t even have to think about marketing anymore. They realized that marketing really is, at its core, communicating. And, #truthbomb...so is writing!
Books are, by nature, passive income products (meaning you do the work once and can keep making money on it for the rest of your life. How cool is that!?). The caveat is you have to actually sell them! So, back to the $100,ooo question, how do you actually do it? How does one become what you call a “marketing ninja”?
In today’s world, even if you’re one of the few and far between that gets a huge book deal and advance, you’re still responsible for marketing your work. That’s why writers who don’t lean into marketing and learn all they can about the tools that get them and their words in front of people will never make the living or impact they desire.
This is actually good news though because it means that the only thing standing between you and the success you want is just...information. All of it can be learned. The trick is you don’t just have to know it, you have to actually DO it for it to work for you!
And so, without any more ado whatsoever, here are are 3 things you need to know to make $ as an author:
1) Who is your audience?
If the answer isn’t super clear to you ask yourself these questions: Who will benefit the most from reading your books? What motivates them to read your books? What’s your motivation for writing them?
For example, let’s say you write Christian Romance. Your readers are mostly single Christian women hoping to find the right mate and they look to your books for hope and inspiration that he’s out there. You write this genre because you were once in that position and a similar book helped you stay encouraged to wait for the right person.
2) What are you selling?
You’re probably thinking, “Books! Duh!” Okay, if you have a book that’s already published and for sale, awesome! But, if your first book isn’t available (or written) yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t start selling yourself to future customers!
So let’s take the example above. What is this writer really selling? She’s not selling books. She’s selling hope. She’s selling patience. She’s selling the promise of love. She can do that without a book in print, especially in today’s super connected world.
So do a gut check and get super clear on what you’re really selling in your writing. How is what you do valuable to people and in what other ways can you monetize it beyond books? Another way to think of this is, what are you an EXPERT at?
If you’re the Christian Romance writer who found true love yourself, could you offer an online seminar about how to find “the one”? Or maybe you love teaching other women how to write romance novels and decide to take on clients or create a course about the genre and getting started.
Think outside of the box of ONLY selling books and consider other ways to get paid and build a platform doing what you love.
3) How are you getting what you’re selling in front of your audience?
First and foremost, in order to build an audience you have to first get their attention and nothing gets people’s attention more than a free offer.
Using the example above, our Christian Romance writer could offer a free ebook to her ideal customers.
If she’s not in a hurry to build her list she may start marketing for free by engaging in Facebook groups where her ideal clients are hanging out or by joining a book club or church groups where her readers might be.
She might volunteer to speak at a church event and give her ebook away in exchange for email addresses.
Or if she’s willing to make a financial investment in growing her list, maybe she’ll place an ad on Facebook to promote her free ebook to her ideal readers in exchange for them opting into her email list. Again, it’s all about building your list!
So you’re probably thinking, “Kristina, you’ve just been talking about giving things away, not selling anything! I want/I NEED to make money!”
I’m with you. Here’s the thing: The money is in your list! If you’ve already written a couple of books, know that by being generous and making an irresistible offer (giving something of value away) it will bring customers to you.
They may buy another one of your books, or your course, or your services from you right away or they may buy something a year down the road. The point is, you’re building the relationship over time knowing that the sale will eventually come.
So how do you build the relationship? By giving them valuable content they’re looking for consistently over time.
Our Christian Romance author might communicate with her list about patience, healthy communication and dating advice. She establishes herself as an expert and gives value to her readers so that when she releases her next book, people can’t wait to buy it!
Bottom line, you have to make offers and you have to have people to make offers to. You have to get visible. You have to put yourself out there. You have to speak up and let people know you’re there and that you have something to say.
You have to first start the conversation, become the expert, and build an audience.
Make it your #1 priority this year to become a marketing expert in your writing niche/genre and you’ll 10X your chances at making writing your full-time gig sooner than you ever thought possible.
Here's to you writing your own success story,
P.S. If you're ready to learn everything you can about how to market your writing and want someone to coach you through it every step of the way, I'd love to have you check out my Writerpreneur Workshop. It's a 5-month exclusive mentorship where we'll strategize your perfect business and marketing plan and work together to execute it so you can finally make the impact you were born to make.