How much do I earn from my book? by Chris Day
If you can answer that, then you have a business. If not, you don’t.
Your book will raise your profile in your marketplace; it will open new doors, and it will position you as an expert on your subject and as a go-to person for solutions. I have heard authors say that, separate from their book sales, their business doubled in turnover as a result of them becoming a published author. Will you be on the public speaking circuit? Will you be holding seminars, workshops or courses? Will you be doing courses or webinars? It is the fact that you are an author that will drive traffic to all of these, so don’t just look at your book sales in isolation.
What you earn will be totally dependent on what you do. As Confucius didn’t say, “Man sit on side of hill with mouth open for long time before roast duck fly in”. If you are not actively engaged on social media and have built a good following, or are invisible on the web without having an author website, then your potential for being found by people looking for your stuff is greatly diminished.
There is a new book published in the UK every 20 minutes by the book trade. This equates to 184,000 every year. In addition to that, best estimates are that there are a further 800,000 self-published book as well. For your book to stand out and be found, it starts with the launch.
Just like a ship, if you launch it well, it floats. If you don’t, it sinks!
So what about book sales? The books that you sell through your own routes to market are your most profitable and worth six times more to you than books sold through the book trade. Your website should be the first place that people will find when looking for you or your book – not Amazon. Your own sales should be making you a profit of at least 60% of the retail price. By contrast, the books that you sell through distributors and retailers will make you a profit of 10% of the retail price. The lesson to this is to put your main effort into selling books at your speaking events, through your email newsletter, by pointing people from your social media posts to your website, and through joint ventures and strategic partnership with organisations or individuals will large followings and lists.
Nobody owes you a living. The better you become at engaging with and building your following, the greater your presence and visibility in the marketplace. No one else has as much to gain as you do by getting this right.
I advise every author to engage a special book publicist to help them with the initial task of raising a profile. What they bring to the party is their personal contacts in the media, which can result in interviews and articles that few authors are able to achieve on their own.
They say that ‘you cannot manage what you don’t measure’. You need to be keeping a log of all of your promotional, PR and social media activity, and the results that they achieve. Only then can you know what really works for you – and then do more of it, and less of the things that don’t work!
So when should you promote your book? Every waking moment! If you do, the results and the effect of your business will be well worth the effort.