How To Earn More From Your Writing: The Simple Yet Neglected Secret

picture of man earning moreYou’re delighted that your self-published book is selling well.

But what if I told you that no matter how good your sales, you’re still leaving stacks of cash on the table?

You might not believe me. But think of your book – on bookshelves around the world. And why only bookshelves? Your writing can sell on e-book readers, i-devices, radio stations and screens, both big and little.

Do you see how much earning potential your writing has? All you need to do to earn more from your writing is to employ a simple yet neglected secret.

Book rights and licensing.

Rights hold a huge and renewable revenue stream. The fact is, self-published authors don’t own just a potentially valuable book, they also own the rights to their work.

These rights can be licensed to produce the same book, in English, in different territories around the world – be it the United States, Canada, Australia, or India.

Rights can also be licensed for the book to be translated into different languages. With books being published in over 400 languages worldwide, that is a significant potential income.

Self-published authors lose thousands, maybe even millions, of dollars – simply because they don’t know how to maximize the opportunities that book rights and licensing offer them.

Here are ten questions self-published authors commonly ask on how they can use rights and licensing to earn more.

 

#1. What rights do I have over my self-published book?

 

You own your Intellectual Property (IP). A paperback book is just one product in the universe of IP that you own – other products include the hard-cover, e-book, and audio-book versions of the same book.

Then there are translations, new formats, media rights, permissions to quote from your work, and so on. You can keep selling the book you’ve published, while still having an ocean of IP left to license and monetize.

 

#2. I’ve been told my book is perfect for film – should I concentrate solely on those rights?

 

I hear this question a lot, especially with so many successful book-to-screen adaptations in recent times. The fundamentals remain the same.

It’s good to know what film companies are looking for. Most are quite specific about the kinds of books they’re interested in. Contact individual film companies to understand exactly what they want from a book, rather than starting with “my book would make a great film”. For many authors, this is the ultimate goal.

You can – and should – pursue film rights for your book, but it’s essential that you continue to investigate all potential rights and licensing options.

 

#3. Don’t I need contacts to sell book rights?

 

Contacts help, but they’re not a necessity. When I began my first publishing company, I had no contacts at all. I made a list, contacted as many publishers as I could, and licensed our second novel, which was then published in seven editions and four languages.

That was a result of research and persistence – nothing else. Today, it is easy for you to contact publishers around the world. But it’s up to you to do the groundwork.

As a self-published author, it pays to think of yourself as a small business, with rights and licensing as your main sales tools.

 

#4. How can I sell book rights when I can’t afford to travel to book fairs held the world over?

 

Some major publishers have to participate in major book fairs to secure certain rights and licensing deals, but this is no longer essential.

There are many forums available for you to showcase your work, and contact potential publishing partners across the globe.

You can also be represented by rights professionals, or include your titles in rights magazines distributed at book fairs all over the world.

 

#5. Can I sell rights before I’ve finished writing my book?

 

Yes, if you’re Dan Brown or J.K. Rowling, but certainly not as a debut writer, particularly in fiction.

Your sole focus should be to work on your writing, getting it as polished and ready for publication as possible. Only then is it time to showcase it and send it out to potential licensees.

 

#6. Do I need to understand international markets and adapt my work accordingly?

 

Yes and no. Write the book you want to write. Aiming your work at specific markets is more likely to distract you and weaken the overall book.

If your work is good enough and you do manage to get it in front of the right people, then it will have a good chance of being licensed.

Having said that, it’s worth thinking about how, and why, your work might appeal in different territories, languages, formats and so on, as appropriate. Think about the places that feature in the book, the origins of the characters, and anything that might connect your work to other countries. This will show you a potential connection and hook for a specific territory or audience.

 

#7. If I have self-published, will this put off potential licensees?

 

Not at all. Self-publishing, rather than being frowned upon, is finally being embraced, with many mainstream publishers actively focusing on acquiring self-published manuscripts.

For example, Mary Wood, one of our self-published authors, recently received a seven-book deal from Pan Macmillan.

 

#8. Would it help to get into certain markets if I had my book translated first?

 

Not usually. Publishers typically work with a previously vetted set of translators. Also, they may wish to take advantage of available grants, if any, for translations.

Getting your book translated yourself with a view to licensing it is most often a waste of time and money.

 

#9. How will I know if the company buying the license is reputable?

 

Thanks to the internet, it’s easy to find information about any individual or organization.

If you’re evaluating a publisher as a potential licensee, see what else they’ve published. Find out how long they’ve been in business. Do they have an office address? Are they easy to contact?

Do your research thoroughly, and you will know whether or not you should consider licensing your work to them.

You can also contact organizations of potential licensees who meet certain key criteria. Because they meet a minimum cut off, you can be relatively assured of their authenticity.

 

#10. If I receive an offer, how will I know if it’s any good? How will I deal with the contract?

 

If you’re an author and don’t have an agent to advise you, there are many places you can seek – and get – good advice.

In the UK, the Society of Authors advises across a wide variety of offers and contracts.

Organizations like the Alliance of Independent Authors are introducing standard licensing terms, which will hopefully make the rights process a lot simpler.

Wherever you’re based, a good lawyer will help you negotiate a favorable contract.

 

The message is clear: your rights are not limited to the physical book you author – they are much greater than that.

As an independent author, you now know how to earn more from your writing. You need to be aware of the rights you hold, and their potential to net you many times the income you’ve been bringing in thus far.

Apply what you’ve learned above, and you could easily have a six- or seven-figure global business at your fingertips.

Do you have any other questions on how to use book rights and licensing to earn more? Ask me in the comments below.

 

About the author: 

Tom Chalmers is Managing Director, IPR License. IPR License was launched in 2012 and is the global, digital marketplace for authors, agents and publishers to list and license book rights. Feel free contact us on info@iprlicense.com for more information.

 

Thanks to Bigstockphoto.com for image: How to earn more

Nominate Your Favorite Writing Blog – 8th Annual Top 10 Blogs For Writers Contest 2013

picture of trophy

Which will be the Top 10 Blogs for Writers 2013?

The ANNUAL TOP 10 BLOGS FOR WRITERS 2013

 

It’s time to open up nominations for the 8th annual Top 10 Blogs for Writers Contest—the blogosphere’s biggest contest for writing blogs.

 

How to Nominate Your Favorite Writing Blog:

 

→ Nominate your favorite blog in the comment section.
→ You have only one vote (only your first will be counted).
→ You need to include the web address of the blog for your nomination to count.
→ Explain why you think the blog is worthy of winning this year’s award.

 

To make the cut, a blog must be nominated more than once.

 

Nominations must be received by 12th December, 2013.

 

Image: Trophy courtesy of Bigstockphoto.com

 

How to Make Your Ebook a Run-Away Success: An Interview with Jim Kukral

Would you like to publish an eBook that’s a runaway success? In this interview with Jim Kukral, you’ll find tips on how to market eBooks successfully. Some tips will surprise you! You’ll also learn about an amazing free resource for writers, the Author Marketing Club.

Jim Kukral is a best-selling author and top Internet entrepreneur. He teaches the Internet Marketing Certificate program at the University of San Francisco and is one of the top experts on Ebook marketing. Jim has recently started the Author Marketing Club which has created a buzz among writers.

The following interview is with Mary Jaksch, Chief Editor of WritetoDone.

Mary: What is the Author Marketing Club and how can it benefit writers?

Jim: Most authors just can’t figure out the marketing end of things.That’s why I created the Author Marketing Club as a free resource for authors.

If you’re an author who has a book out, or you’re thinking about writing a book, there are a lot of things that the Author Marketing Club can help you with.

You can learn how to market an eBook, and connect with other authors. If you want to get reviews for your book, you can post your book on our site, and our readers will write reviews for you.

The Author Marketing Club is a free resource – there’s no charge for authors or readers to take part. It’s a one-stop shop for authors who want to sell eBooks.

You can join our daily email list that goes out to all of our readers and authors. It lists all of the Kindle books that our authors publish. So, you can submit your book and get to all of our members.

Here’s an example of how this works: if you’re part of Amazon KVP Select, you get a free five-day promotion. You can come to the Author Marketing Club and submit your book and say,  ‘My book is going be free next Wednesday.’ We’ll then send it out to our authors and readers to give you that extra exposure you’ve been looking for.

Mary: What is the biggest barrier that stops people from writing books?

Jim: There’s a lot of fear involved. Writers often think they can’t do it.

For hundreds of years it’s been only the publishers who decide what can be published. That has kept people with very good information or stories in their heads from moving forward and creating a book.

Over the last couple of years, a gigantic shift has happened:  now anyone can take the information in their head, and not only put it on blogs and websites, but also publish it as a book.

Now you don’t need a publisher to tell you that your book is good enough.

You can publish your eBook on Amazon overnight for free. There are no gatekeepers any more.

Mary: Writing an eBook is a lot of work. Is it worth the effort?

Jim: Absolutely! I’ve been at meetings where a customer or potential customer asked me a question, and I’ve reached into my bag, pulled out my book, and said: ‘You know, I actually answer that question in my book.’  I then flip it open to the page and hand him or her a copy of it. That has helped me get a lot of clients.

You can also leverage an eBooks for your career. Imagine walking into an interview, and handing your potential employer not only your resume, but you also a copy of your book, or sending them a link of your book on Amazon.

If you can say, ‘I’m so interested in this field of work, I actually wrote short book about the topic,’ you can be sure this will wow your potential employer!

Mary: Can you really make an income from writing books?

Jim: You can. You have to imagine what it’s going to be like in a few years when there are as many e-readers as are MP3 players.

Think about the potential of owning the rights to a digital book. You can sell copies of it for the rest of your life. Because everyone will be able to find you and download your book.

Right now you can make a 70 % comission on Amazon. Of course, you need to promote your book and do enough marketing to get the word about your book. That’s where the Author Marketing Club comes in handy.

If you’re a fiction writer, it’s much easier to make a lot of money. People love fiction books because they are pure entertainment. The non-fiction market is a lot smaller. But, as I said before, you can leverage non-fiction books in many ways to make money.

Mary: How can you promote a book if you’re not a marketer?

Jim: You’ve got to learn about marketing. Here are some simple steps:

Step 1: The very day when you have the idea of the book in your head, sit down, give the book a title, and write down who the book is for.
Step 2: The next step is to create a book cover. You can get that done  on Fiverr.com for only $5.
Step 3: Place the image of your bookcover on your blog, on Facebook, or wherever you tend to hang out. You can say, ‘Hey, I’m writing this book,’ and build anticipation. It’s like the way big movies do it. You can see the trailer long before the film is ready for viewing.
Step 4: Create a short video or blog post about your book idea with an email signup form. Six months down the track when you’ve actually written the eBook, you’ll already have a group of customers waiting for it.

Here’s the take-home tip:

Start marketing a book before you write it.

The reason most authors fail, is that they write a book and then start to tell people about it.

Mary: What are your three main tips for writers who are considering writing an e-book?

Jim: Three tips? Here they are:

Tip #1: Write to entertain or to solve a problem

Tip #2: Start marketing as soon as you have the idea for a book.

Tip #3: Get it done.

There is a goldrush on Internet right now, where people can take their books and put them out there to build entire careers.

If you join the Author Marketing Club, you’ll find help along the way. As I said before, it’s free!

Jim Kukral is a top Internet entrepreneur, best-selling author and marketer. He teaches at the University of San Francisco for the Internet Marketing Certificate Programme. Check out his new venture, the Author Marketing Club.

What’s your favorite blog for bloggers? Nominations are open for the TOP 10 BLOGS FOR BLOGGERS AWARD 2012. Click here to nominate YOUR favorite blog.

The Importance of Inserting the ‘Mistake’ In Your Article

A mistake?

 

A guest post by Sean DSouza of Psychotactics

I remember the time I was watching a video on the ‘water test’

The ‘water test’ is a method to accurately gauge if a pan is exactly at the right temperature, as the accurate temperature prevents the ingredients from sticking.

As you might have realised, I had my nose to the video to make sure I wasn’t getting the steps wrong. Yet when I tried it on my pan at home, I couldn’t replicate the water test. No matter how many times I watched the video and tried the exact steps, I still couldn’t get the ‘water test’ to work.

The reason? I was using a non-stick pan

Yeah, mine was non-stick and the pan in the video was a stainless steel pan. Heck! You think I would have seen the difference. But I never did, and your readers have the same problem when they’re reading your articles.

And that’s because they’re not just reading. They’re trying to read, assimilate and execute the learning at one go.

And in doing so, they miss out some valuable points

In effect, they make ‘mistakes’. And those in-attentional mistakes can be avoided if you take the trouble to educate your reader. Of course the easiest formula to achieve this goal is to do the following:

Step 1: Give the reader the steps to follow.
Step 2: Point out the hurdles along the way.

Step 1: Give the reader the steps to follow

Let’s say you’re teaching the reader how to cook a delicious chicken tikka masala. Obviously, you’d give them steps, because the reader is now following a recipe. And that’s what most recipes do. They tell you what to do. But they don’t tell you what possible problems or mistakes you could make while executing the dish. Which is where Step 2 comes into play.

Step 2: Point out the hurdles along the way

So ha jee, we have shown the reader how to make the chicken dish, but now we need to point out where they can go wrong. They may fry the spices too long, causing a bitter after taste. Or the gravy may turn a bit sour. And when we point out these mistakes, we help the reader avoid the obstacles in advance.

This gives your article two solid advantages

Any article that covers both the how-to as well as the mistakes immediately marks itself out as a solid, enduring piece of information. The second advantage however, is that if your article instantly gets beefed up to a nice, solid consistency every single time.

But what are the mistakes you can make when adding ‘mistakes?’

The problem with article-writing isn’t that you have less information. In fact the reverse is often true. You have the curse of knowledge. So you try to stuff your article with a whole lot of how-to information. And then while the reader rolls around with indigestion, you proceed to add even more on his plate.

And there’s a way around this problem

You want to balance out the how-to with the mistakes. If you have two or three steps involved in the how-to, then a mistake or two is fine to slip in, just to balance things a bit. But should you find yourself generating half a dozen mistakes or more, it’s probably a better idea to write an article (or two) that covers the mistakes alone.

Pointing out the mistakes a reader can make are crucial

I sure as heck should have known that I should have been using a stainless steel pan. The pan was right in front of my eyes in the video I was watching. And yet I missed it. And so will your reader.

So point out the mistakes and both you and your reader will go on to make many more perfect chicken tikka masalas for a long, long time.

To read more articles by Sean DSouza—and get a very useful report on “Why Headlines Fail”, go toPsychoTactics.com

3 Unusual Keys to Using Ebooks to Make a Living

By Leo Babauta

We are living in the most exciting time in history to be a writer, to publish your ideas, to make a living helping others.

It’s incredible because:

  • It’s easier than ever before to publish your ideas.
  • Publishing a book can be done by anyone.
  • Good ideas rise to the top in this new idea marketplace.
  • There are no limits to how you publish ideas — books are just one option.
  • You no longer need permission to get your ideas out, and you’re not limited by shelf space.
  • You don’t need money to be a publisher.

And that’s just the start of it.

But how do you create and publish an ebook? How do you get people to buy it? That can be confusing, but in four years of publishing books, ebooks, courses and more, I’ve learned a few things most people don’t tell you.

I’ll share some of what I’ve learned here, in hopes that it’ll help you get your ideas out there, and in the process, start making a living doing what you love.

1. Ebooks can be simpler than you think. Many people are intimidated by publishing an ebook, or put it off for months (or years) because it seems too hard. It’s not. It can be as simple as gathering your best information on solving a problem you’ve already published on your blog, perhaps expanding, updating or refining it, and putting it in an order that makes sense for learning that topic. It could be gathering reader questions on a topic and simply answering them in short chapters — I’ve done this and written an ebook in just a few days, by keeping the scope of the problem very limited. It could be scheduling webinars once a week on various aspects of a problem, and either charging for the webinars or making them free, and then using those as content for your product. It could be a very simple ebook (10-15 pages) to start with, and then expanded to a series of ebooks, a larger ebook, or a full digital package that includes audio and video — and you can expand even after you’ve started selling the product.

Once you have the content, publishing can be really simple — you can use a simple program like Word (PC) or Pages (Mac), publish as a PDF, and you’re done. You can expand on this with other formats (Kindle, epub, video, audio) but you don’t need to do that to start. Publishing an ebook or digital product can be very complicated if you make it so, but it doesn’t have to be. Keep it simple and get your ideas out there.

2. Launches, landing pages, and mailing lists are NOT what’s important. This is something many online marketing types won’t tell you, because they’ve found some success building up massive mailing lists, creating huge launches, crafting the perfect landing pages. And yes, to some extent, that stuff works. But in the end, they are trying to convince people to buy something who don’t want to buy something. That’s the wrong approach. Instead, build a relationship with people who want to read what you have to share, and base that relationship on trust. If people trust you, you don’t need to sell to them. If they already are in a relationship with you, they don’t need social proof or testimonials or before and after photos. They already know you put out good stuff, and they already want to read more from you. When you’ve accomplished that, you need to do minimal selling, and your landing pages can be nothing but a simple list of what you get when you buy the product.

How do you build this relationship based on trust with readers? That’s the hard part, but also the easy part. Put out great stuff on a regular basis on your blog. You might already be doing that. Here’s the important part: always put your readers first. Pop-ups that encourage them to sign up for your mailing list, a ton of ads, social buttons and widgets all over the place — these things and more tell the reader that you care more about their email address or sharing your stuff on their Facebook page or advertising dollars than you do about what they want. Don’t do any of that, and instead, give them what they want and get out of their way. They will begin to trust you, and so when you do put out a product (especially if you do it in a non-spammy, non-markety way), they will say, “All right. I trust Leo, I know this is going to help me, and it’s designed to solve a problem I want to solve.” You don’t need to sell.

3. There are no rules. I like to write, so I create ebooks. Other people are better at making videos, so they make a video product. Others like doing live webinars. There is no limit to how you create your product, but it really should solve a problem that people want solved. Want to make a simple PDF and nothing more? Awesome. Want to add some instructional screencasts, or workbooks, or quick guides, or interviews with experts? Even better. Want the entire thing to be online, so people can read the articles and watch videos on your site, and you can update the product at any time? Great idea! Want to have live weekly calls with you, or interactive forums? Easily done! Want it to be a membership program, paid monthly, with monthly webinars or fresh content? Well, I’m sure you can guess whether that’s possible.

There are also no rules for pricing — it can be free, $1.99, $20, $49, or $597 if you like. Figure out what it’s worth to people to solve that problem — it’s worth much more to help them pass the bar exam than it is to help them fix a broken faucet.

There are no rules for anything. You, like the rest of us, will be making it up as you go, figuring out what works best for you and your readers. You will make mistakes, and it will not end your world. That’s the liberating thing: there are no rules, and there’s no such thing as bad mistakes. You are free to do anything, and mistakes just help you get better.

Ebook Mastery Course

Mary Jaksch and I have created a course called Ebook Mastery for the A-List Blogging Bootcamps.

We’re looking forward to helping you create your first (or best) ebook or digital product.

What you get with this course:

  1. The course teaches you the simple abc steps for choosing the best eBook topic; planning and writing your eBook; and designing and publishing your eBook.
  2. You’ll have interaction and support via an online forum, from the course teachers, from forum moderators with experience in creating profitable eBooks.
  3. You can ask questions live, and get them answered, in weekly live video webinars by Leo Babauta, Mary Jaksch, and other superstar guest experts.
  4. Each week you’ll get a new module of content aimed at teaching you the specifics of creating an eBook from beginning to end including:
    • Articles with specific strategies and actions for determining a viable topic, outlining your content and writing plan; creating a writing style that is best for your readers; and specifics on designing and publishing your product.
    • Recommendations and statistics on pricing your eBook.
    • Case studies by people from regular bloggers like you who have created successful and profitable eBooks.
    • Videos, podcasts, and expert interviews to motivate you and help you stay on track with writing and completing your eBook.
    • Assignments, resources, and planning materials to help you stay organized and focused while working on your eBook.
  5. Your own eBook that you have created (or started to create) during this course that you can sell right away.

Check out Ebook Mastery.