The Future of Ink Digital Publishing for Online Entrepreneurs Sat, 06 Jun 2015 03:44:49 -0400 en-US hourly 1 Quit Being A Commodity: 10 Ways To Get Visibility And Stand Out /how-to-get-visibility/ Fri, 13 Mar 2015 13:05:00 +0000 /?p=8730 by

Years ago there wasn’t much competition online. Seems like whatever an expert introduced to market was a novelty and people ate it up.

TFOI Commodity

Today, this is definitely not the case. Today, your product is likely, unless you position it correctly, to be one among many, literally getting lost in the shuffle.

Take the following three topics:

  • Product creation – lots of experts have product-creation courses, myself included.
  • Kindle book development and marketing. Again, lots of experts have Kindle products available.
  • Make money with teleseminars. Still more experts have this topic covered.

If anyone tells you competition online is not fierce, you might want to dig deeper to find out what’s really going on. There is more competition today than ever before.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t make a great living with various offers your market is interested in!

The most important thing to consider is whether you want to position your offers as a commodity or something more exclusive. Granted, some offers will fit more into a commodity model, while others will be ripe for exclusivity.

Obviously, the more exclusive, the more you can charge. Yet, the more you charge, the more you absolutely must deliver above and beyond the competition.

A great way to move from commodity to exclusivity is to get visibility and as much as you can, for you, your message and your point of view. Why? Simple. The more visible you are, the more people will turn to you for solutions they seek.

Don’t automatically assume people will invest in your products and services, but you can certainly level the playing field by putting effort into your online presence.

You have numerous options to position your point of view and perspective.


This is one of my favorite strategies to get in front of my community. Leveraging podcasting can give you an incredible marketing edge that can substantially increase your online visibility, build a loyal following and increase lead-generation and client-conversion rates.

Google Hangouts

Hangouts are fast becoming a favorite of many experts, who not only want to build solid connection with their community, but also to get great SEO.

Hangouts have a very low startup cost and yet, a very high perceived value when done right. A few things to keep in mind when either hosting or participating in a Hangout is what viewers see in the background.

Whatever is within view needs to be consistent with your branding. In other words, no unmade beds in view.


An all-time favorite, teleseminars are once again on the rise in popularity as a great way to reach a market with a strong message. There are plenty of free services for anyone on a limited budget.

YouTube Videos

Although some videos get no traction at all, many have been known to get hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands and even millions of views. With over four billion views per day, it’s no wonder smart entrepreneurs are using YouTube as a huge part of their promotions strategy.

To get lots of traction, add short videos on a fairly regular basis to your subscribers. After all, if they subscribed obviously they want to see more of your videos.

Media Releases

There’s no shortage of people saying that media releases are a thing of the past. This is absolutely not true. There is plenty of call for well structured media releases.

An eye-catching media release can get the attention of writers, publishers, journalists and freelancers for trade journals, magazines, blogs, podcasts, and other publications that cover your industry. Don’t underestimate the power of a well thought-out media release.


The best part of blogging is that you have complete control over what you write about. There are virtually no barriers to entry on stating your perspective and point of view. You can be as low-key or as controversial as you want.

Guest Blogging

For anyone seeking lots of exposure to a specific market, guest blogging is a great choice. Guest blogging also increases your credibility. After all, when you are a featured expert on someone else’s blog, you are considered an expert right out of the gate.


Going the same route as media releases, there are plenty of people who claim article marketing is dead. Article marketing is alive and well.

Actually, writing and distributing lots of articles is one of the best ways to gain visibility, position your expertise and reach more of your market.

Joint Venture Campaigns

When you partner with other experts on their campaigns, or yours, you are again positioning your expertise in a very effective way.

Imagine what kind of traction you can get by partnering with anywhere from six to twelve experts promoting one another. It’s a powerful way to jumpstart your visibility.

Speaking at Conferences

Although not an online strategy, speaking at industry conferences is a highly valuable way to stand out. Not only are you an assumed expert, there likely will be online promotions by the conference coordinators, thus giving you even more visibility and credibility.


Visibility is absolutely essential for any expert who wants to be viewed as more than a commodity. To achieve the greatest result for your efforts, have a well thought-out plan, commit to consistency, and be willing, in a big way, to be completely who you are.

The more you are authentic and transparent, the more you will build a following of raving fans.

How To Build Your Email List With A Free Ecourse /how-to-build-your-email-list-with-free-ecourse/ Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:05:00 +0000 /?p=8710 by

In the early days of the Internet, people signed up for newsletters and mailing lists eagerly just to stay in touch. Today, no one signs up for anything unless they believe they will receive great value for doing so. That benefit usually comes in the form of a gift of some sort.

Free ECourse Amir

A strong “call-to-action” for an “irresistible offer,”  will build your email list quickly if targeted to your market. But what should you give away to get visitors to provide you with their email addresses?

Most online marketers, as well as authors and bloggers, use such things as short e-books, videos, white papers, or manifestos as their giveaways. However, one of the most powerful tools you can use to build your mailing list is a free e-course.

Offer a Course

If you have written a book, or if you plan to write a book, you are in the perfect position to create an online course. Repurpose your book content into modules and deliver it on a schedule via your email marketing system. Or create the course and use it as the foundation of your book.

Amir e-course or email button by Stuart Miles ID-10067035

Online courses are a phenomenal way to build a mailing list and a business around your book. They are easy to produce and to deliver 24/7 using the same system you use to capture email addresses—your email marketing system, like Aweber or MailChimp. Additionally, these courses have a powerful impact when done well.

Each time you communicate with your students (subscribers), you provide them with a deeper level of access to you and to the information in your book. This increases the know-like-trust factor, which means these subscribers are more likely to purchase something from you, such as your book.

Create a Free E-Course

Delivering a course via an email marketing system is simple and low tech. It works well for written content, such as modules that only include text, but you can include links to videos or audio, too. To produce an “e-course,” you need an email marketing system with a robust autoresponder system, which automatically sends emails to subscribers on a schedule. (I use Aweber.)

Each module of your free course equates to one email in an autoresponder series. Basically, you create a number of related emails that comprise your course and are sent out at specific intervals and in a specific order.

You place all the material—the text and/or teleseminar or webinar links—in separate emails (one for each lesson). Also create sales and “Thank You” pages that reside on your blog or website. Each email gets sent automatically on a schedule using the autoresponder function of your email provider.

These are saved in that system for continuous use. Anytime someone subscribes, they begin receiving the sequence of emails that constitute your course.

How to Deliver Your Course

The process for delivering a course via an email marketing system differs from one email marketing system to another.

Amir email letters by Stuart Miles ID-100142073

If you are using Aweber, here are the basic steps:

1. Create a landing page or sales page on your website or blog, or use a system that offer templates, such as LeadPages.
2. Create a “Thank You” page on your website or blog. Place your email list sign-up form (once you have it) there along with a brief note telling registrants that they need to fill it out to receive their first lesson and information about the course. If you use a system that provides templates, registrants may automatically be signed up for the list.
3. Create a list. You want a specific list for your free item unless it feeds into your primary list. Each list requires a sign-up form as well as a confirmation note; all subscribers must confirm that they want to be on a list (even the list for the product they purchased).
4. Create a sign-up form. Do this in your email marketing system. (You can use this form as your call-to-action, placing it on the sales page or just on your website or blog. You then can skip step #2.)
5. Create your first follow-up email. This is your “Thank You” note. It can have all your logistical information as well as a formal welcome to the course. It should contain information about how often modules will be “dripped out” to students. Deliver this email immediately upon confirmation.
6. Write your lessons in Word or a text program. Then copy and paste the content into Aweber. Format and add links to your audio, video, art, etc.
7. Add the lesson, or module, to your email marketing system autoresponder program (for the list you created). Each follow up needs an email subject line consistent for the whole course and numbered by module. You also can add “personalization,” which means the system adds the student’s name to the email subject line or to the email.
8. Schedule your subsequent follow-up emails. The first one should go out immediately.
9. Create additional follow-ups in the series. Repeat the process above using the template you created. Save each one, and schedule it for whatever interval you feel best—one per day, per week, or per month.

Aweber doesn’t allow you to add videos or audio directly to an email unless you do so with a hyperlink (at least not at the time of this writing). For this reason, you need to host these somewhere else and then provide a link in your follow-up email.

You can host your videos on YouTube as private videos or on Vimeo as private videos with a password. This allows you to keep the general public from seeing them. Audio can be hosted very inexpensively in a variety of places, such as Soundcloud, Libsyn, or even AmazonS3.

Tips for a Successful E-Course

Here are some tips to help you make your email course, whether it is text, audio, or video based, more successful and help you build your email list quicker:

• Don’t use more than two or three links in each email. This helps to keep your lessons from ending up in students’ spam folders. Or run your email through a spam filter; your email provider should have one.
• Use an email address from your domain rather than Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo. This avoids the spam filters and helps strengthen your branding.
• Provide great content! Don’t skimp. Over-perform.

Offer Your First Course Free

Offer your first course for free rather than for a fee. Make it a short course if you’d like, perhaps only three to five modules. The course allows you to create a call to action—“add your name and email address to this form to receive your free 5-day course on how to __(do whatever your target market needs or wants).”

By providing a targeted benefit, you will get subscribers 24/7 without much effort. Just be sure the call to action is easily seen on your site.

If you want to gain even more subscribers—or registrants to your free course, encourage more signs ups with:

• A Facebook ad
• A call to action on your Facebook page
• A banner on your blog or website containing a call to action
• Including the call to action in your email signature
• Including the call to action in your marketing materials (business cards, postcards, presentations, etc.)
• A splash page or LeadPage that functions independently

Final Tips

You can create short “e-courses” for any segment of your target market, effectively segmenting your list-building activities. For example, if you are a life coach, you could target people with money issues, relationships issues, and leadership issues. You later can market books (and other products and services) to each of these segments.

It’s possible to have those lists also feed into your primary list. This strategy allows you to ensure those same subscribers receive the emails, or broadcasts, you want to send to everyone. Or you can send to just one segment of your list.

Be sure to add more content to your lists! Don’t get subscribers on one or more of your lists with a free e-course and then forget to continue providing valuable content. That mistake is the fastest way to lose those hard-earned subscribers.

How To Publish A Book Bundle On Kindle /how-to-publish-a-book-bundle-on-kindle/ Tue, 24 Feb 2015 14:05:00 +0000 /?p=8552 by

Lately, I have had several authors ask me how to publish a book bundle on Kindle. It really is not that difficult to do, but can have great rewards. There are several ways to put together a book bundle or book set and I will share these strategies in this post.

Hitz book-bundle TFOI

Before I get into the logistics behind publishing a book bundle, here are two types of book bundles you can publish.

Publish a book bundle on Kindle from your previously published books

The first option is to take books you have already published and compile them into a bigger book set.

I have done this for several of my book series. For example I have a book series on gratitude with three books in it and compiled those three smaller eBooks into one big 3-book set which I titled, “A Life of Gratitude.”

Therefore, if my readers want all three books they can get them in one. I also have a print version and audiobook version of that book bundle. By bundling those three books into a bigger book, I created new assets for my publishing business.

My book bundle was then published as a Kindle eBook, a print book, and an audiobook giving me three new books to sell and enable me to reach new readers.

Bundling books from authors in a similar genre

Another option is to work with other authors in your genre and compile previously published books from each author into one book bundle.

I have seen book sets in both fiction and nonfiction do very well. Authors will often launch these book sets at $0.99 and then raise the price later.

However, the reader can get anywhere from 3 to 10 complete books for very low price and be able to try out new authors.

Book bundles with other authors can be very effective when you are promoting the first book in your series. It gives readers a chance to get to know you as an author and if they enjoy your book, they can continue to invest in the rest of your books in your series.

My recent experience with book bundles

I recently had the idea create a book bundle like this for authors. I approached two of my colleagues with the idea and they said yes.

I included my book “Marketing Your Book on Amazon” which has sold very well over the past 2 1/2 years. However, this is one strategy to revive an older book and reach a new audience. One of my goals through this book set is to promote my email list, backend products, and services.

The logistics of putting together a book bundle

For self-published authors, it will be fairly simple to publish a book set or a book bundle.

  1. First, decide which books you want to bundle together. If you can, choose an unique theme for your book set.
  2. If working with other authors, you should have a contract you sign so you are on the same page.
  3. You will then take the original manuscripts for each of the books to be included in the book bundle and have them formatted for Kindle. If you want, you can have them formatted and published on other eBook platforms as well.
  4. Next, you will need to have a new book cover created. For book sets, you can create a box with a new cover and include a 3-D image of each of the books in the set. Here is an example: Love Brings Us Home (fiction)
  5. Once you have the interior formatted and a book cover created, you can publish the book as you normally would publish it.

If you have been traditionally published or have publisher book through a small press, you will need to contact your publisher and see if you have the rights to republish your manuscript in a book set.

You also need to make sure to get the most updated manuscript from your publisher. Your publisher may also be willing to publish the book set for you.

Marketing your book bundle

A book bundle can generate more interest because there is more than one book included. I would recommend planning a book launch event for your book bundle where you price it at $0.99 for a limited time.

This will allow your book to rise in the rankings quickly and potentially get noticed by many new readers.

After your promotional period, you can raise the price and continue marketing it online and off-line.

Have you published a book bundle or books set?

If so share your experience in the comments below. What tips do you have for other authors wanting to publish a book sets?

Should You Sell Your eBook On Amazon? Pros And Cons /sell-your-ebook-on-amazon/ Fri, 20 Feb 2015 14:05:00 +0000 /?p=8707

As an indie author, you have a lot of decisions to make. One of the biggest decisions is whether to sell your eBook on Amazon, on your own website, or both. Amazon, of course, is a top choice for most authors, but just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean this is what’s best for you.

Should You Sell Your eBook On Amazon? Pros And Cons

There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but reading through these pros and cons of both of the options will help you determine what’s best for you.


A Streamlined System

Amazon is very good at what they do, and their experience shows in how streamlined the whole process is for both authors, and readers.

A streamlined system is huge for authors because it makes publishing books easy, and a streamlined system is huge for buyers because with a single click, they can purchase books.

Needless to say, if it’s easy for people to buy your books, the chances of them doing so skyrockets. On many websites, cart abandonment is a big issue, but on Amazon, at least when it pertains to Kindle books, there is no cart to abandon.

Very Few Tech Issues

Related to the point above, when you publish your eBook on Amazon, tech issues are few and far between, and if there are issues such problems with the website, there’s a whole team of people to deal with the problem.

A Huge Customer Base

A huge customer base can be hugely helpful for a new author who doesn’t yet have their own customer base. No doubt many of the people who purchase your book on Amazon would have never found it if it was sold elsewhere.

The flip side of this is since the customers on Amazon aren’t really yours, you don’t even know who they are, and can’t market to them directly, unless you get them to opt in to your email list, interact with you on social media, etc.

[Tweet “Customers on Amazon aren’t yours, you don’t know who they are, and can’t market to them directly. Via @FutureOfInk”]

Of course, there is a positive aspect to this and that is that you also don’t have to provide customer service, deal with returns, and so on since they aren’t your customer.

A Lot of Competition

While there are plenty of buyers on Amazon, there are also many authors competing for their piece of the pie.

Because of this, while Amazon has a lot of customers, without a solid platform of your own, you may find it very difficult to be noticed on Amazon.

Low Prices

Back in the days before Amazon, authors sold eBooks for a pretty penny, often ranging everywhere from $19.99 – $97 and perhaps even beyond.

In contrast, the price of Kindle books is typically around $2.99, even for a fairly lengthy book. There are exceptions, of course, with some books selling for as low as 99 cents, and others for much more than $2.99.

Amazon, has itself to a large degree dictated the price range of most Kindle books by offering a 70% royalty rate for books that are priced between $2.99 and $9.99.

(Kindle books outside of that price range bring in a paltry 35% of the sale price.)

Selling Books on Your Own Site

Now let’s take a look at the pros and cons of selling your books on your own website.

Higher Profit Margin

You stand to make a lot more per book on your own website for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that you can typically sell eBooks on your own site for much higher prices than you can on Amazon.

To a large degree, gone are the days when eBooks sold for $97, but it’s extremely unusual for people to sell eBooks on their own site for only $2.99, the going rate for Kindle books.

Nathan Barry typically sells his eBooks on his website for $39.00, and then packages the same eBooks with other types of media such as videos, and sells the packages for as much as $249.00.

When interviewed on The Smart Passive Income Podcast Nathan stated that when selling his books on his own site, he was able to price them based on the value he felt they offered, without being penalized by them being higher than the lower prices suggested by Amazon.

The Future of Ink’s very own Joan Stewart sells very short special reports for $7 and beyond on her own website. She realized that she could make a much higher level of income by selling short reports on her site rather than writing full-length books and selling them on sites such as Amazon.

In addition to the higher price point, if you sell eBooks on your own site, you don’t have to share the profits with anyone else. This beats the alternative of Amazon’s cut of anywhere from 30% – 65%.

Your Customers are All Yours

This was already addressed above, but it’s worth repeating here because it’s one of the major differences between selling eBooks on Amazon vs. selling them on your own site. For better or worse, your customers are all yours on your own site.

This means every little customer problem is one you have to deal with, but it also means you have the info on who buys your books, can develop a relationship with them, and potentially sell additional items to them.

You Have to Deal with Tech Issues

There are a lot of technical hurdles to selling your ebooks on your own site. You have to deal with everything from setting up sales pages, shopping carts, and delivery of the products.

Thankfully, there are plenty of tools to help you manage the technical waters, but you may need to hire someone to set everything up for you, and to fix things when they break, or invest a lot of your time dealing with technology rather than writing.

Your Online Store May Be Like a Ghost Town

If you don’t have much traffic to your site, and you have a small email list and social media following, you may find it near impossible to sell books on your own website.

Now it’s true that having your own platform helps regardless of where you sell your books, but it’s absolutely imperative if you sell your books exclusively on your website.


That brings me to my next and final point, and that is one of exclusivity. Unless you enroll your Kindle book in KDP Select you’re free to also sell it on your own site.

You may also choose to sell some of your books exclusively on Amazon and others exclusively on your own website.

Many authors find it helpful to experiment to see what works best for them, which is something you may want to try.

Your Turn

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Do you sell your eBooks on Amazon, on your own website, or a mix of the two?

How To Build Your Readership Six Ways (Without Social Media) /how-to-build-your-readership/ Tue, 17 Feb 2015 14:18:00 +0000 /?p=8706 by

Building your readership is the key to success in the current book market. Readers don’t just flock to books without the author putting in the time and effort to connect and engage with them.

How to build your readership six ways without social media

As an author, you have to establish yourself within the writing world and appeal to your audience.

Just like writing, building your audience is an ongoing process that should ideally begin before you publish your first book. If you’ve already published and don’t yet have a loyal readership, don’t worry!

It’s never too late to start and there are a lot of fun ways you can build your readership  all without even sending a tweet.

One – Speak At Local Events

Whether it’s a local writers conference, a reading or a book fair, be on the lookout for opportunities to get your name out there as an author.

Having a presence at events gives you the opportunity to build personal connections with potential readers and is a great way for authors to begin building their platform. Establishing yourself as a writing professional is the first step to platform building.

Two – Get Swagerrific

 Do you know what lasts even longer than a first impression? Your swag items!

While you’re at events, don’t miss the opportunity to give potential readers something to bring home with them, such as a sticker or a bookmark.

Giving them items they can hold onto will help to ensure the interaction turns into something more tangible, such as a newsletter signup or a social media follow.

It’s important for some, if not all, of your swag items to have your information on it, such as your website and social links.

One of my favorite places to go for great business cards and other swag items is Moo.

Schofield MOO

Three – Write And Accept Guest Blog Posts

You’re a writer…this one is a no brainer! Seek out blogs that interest you and share your target readership. Many blogs have guest post submission guidelines, but if they don’t, send an email to the blogger or blog team.

Contributing guest posts will introduce you to a whole new audience of readers.

Active blogs love guest posts because it’s less content they have to create, so if you have a blog of your own, always welcome well-written posts by other writers.

Contributors are likely to share their post with their network, introducing their readers to your blog and work.

[Tweet “Contributing guest posts will introduce you to a whole new audience of readers. #writingtip”]

Four – Be A Guest On A Podcast (Or Two, Or Three)!

There are so many podcasts that cover various aspects of writing and publishing—and then there are podcasts about everything else in the world.

Whether you want to speak about writing, publishing or another niche area of interest you might have, being a podcast guest is the perfect way to engage with a new audience.

Research and contact podcast hosts that appeal to you and inquire about being a guest on the show. This is a process, but the more gigs you secure, the easier they will come.

When you’re reaching out to both bloggers and podcast hosts, be sure to keep a running list of who you’ve contacted and their response.

This will help you stay organized and track who you might want to circle back to once you gain more exposure and credibility.

Five – Run a giveaway. Schofield-Rafflecopter

People love free. This is why the “free days” on Amazon have been such an effective marketing tool for authors.

However, running a giveaway through your own blog or website allows you to capture reader data, such as emails and contact information, which is a sure way to build your reader base.

Six – Join a writing group

Hey, writers are readers, too. From my experience, having a supportive network of fellow writers is necessary for many reasons, like keeping you sane and improving your writing.

However, these fellow writers can also become your biggest fans and are likely to be rooting for your success—and you’ll feel the same about them.

This type of support often extends past the critiquing process and could land you with a network of writers ready and willing to share your work. It’s a win-win-win situation, really.

Building a readership is contingent on engaging with your readers, so as your audience grows, it’s important to interact with them.

Whether you do this through your blog, social media, monthly newsletter, or a combination of all these things, keep your readers updated.

Share your guest posts, inform them of upcoming events you’ll be attending and keep them in the loop with your writing.

Also, share things that you think they’ll appreciate that have nothing to do with you. Balance is the key to successfully engaging your audience.

Perhaps most importantly, invite reader feedback and open the lines of communication. It should be a two way street between you and your audience, so if they aren’t talking back, you might need to reevaluate how you’re conveying information to them.

Don’t spread yourself too thin trying to do it all. Start out with one or two of the suggestions above and please leave your own audience building practices in the comments!

33 Revenue Streams For Authors – Even If You Write Non-Fiction /33-revenue-streams-for-authors/ Fri, 13 Feb 2015 14:05:00 +0000 /?p=8708 by

Most authors obsess over one statistic: the number of books sold.

33 Revenue Streams For Authors - Even If You Write Non-Fiction

They don’t see their books as springboards to other opportunities. Sure, selling a truckload is exhilarating. But for the really smart, savvy authors, only one number really counts: how many revenue streams they can create from a book.

Authors who haven’t published yet can start creating spin-off products from a book that isn’t finished. Simply tie the products into the topic of your book.

Here are 33 ideas to get you thinking about multiple revenue streams.

For Beginning Authors

1) Special Reports

These inexpensive PDFs, priced at $10 or less, allow customers to test the waters before deciding to spend more money with you. See Special Reports: Snack-size Samples That Offer a Tasty Sample.

2) Subscription Ezines.

Most ezines are free. But if your tips help people make money or your subscribers are in narrow niches that few other experts serve, you might be able to sell your newsletter.

3) Tips Booklets.License Your Booklets

Print booklets, chock full of short how-to tips, can be sold individually for a low price—say, $5. Or offer them in bulk to trade associations at a discount. You can give buyers the option of getting the digital booklet. Paulette Ensign, aka “The Tips Booklet Queen,” has built an entire business on teaching people how to publish tips booklets and even license them.

4) Templates

Teach people how to draw, build, write or create something.

5) White Paper

White PapersResearch a problem and explain how you think it should be solved. Sign up for Perry Marshall’s free five-day email course on how to attract customers with White Papers.

6) Cheat Sheets and Checklists

Buyers love these! Create several and sell the entire bundle at a discount.

7) Pocket Guidebooks.

A Foodie’s Guide to New Orleans would be a perfect spinoff product for an author who writes a murder mystery about New Orleans.

Teaching & Training

8) Adult Ed Classes

Contact your local school district, City Hall or tech school. They might love to offer a class on writing and publishing, or a topic that ties into your expertise.

9) Guest Lecturer

In addition to your topic, you can speak at colleges and universities about writing and publishing.

10)  Cruise Ship Workshops

Host your own cruise. Teach about your topic onboard, market it yourself (the cruise line won’t) and sell it as a working vacation.

11) Speak on Cruise Ships    

Cruise for free, or for a significant discount, in exchange for programs presented onboard for the cruise line.

12) Home Study Courses

Great for the do-it-yourself crowd.

13) Webinars

Let people attend live, and sell the recordings.

14) Certification Programs

Certify people to sell a type of product or service.

15) Email Course

You deliver this via an email autoresponder after someone registers.

16) Public Seminar Speaker

Present your own content or someone else’s at seminars conducted by companies like SkillPath. You’ll get first-hand experience at how to sell from the back of the room.

[Tweet “For smart authors, only 1 number counts: how many revenue streams they can create from a book.”]

17) Inner Circles

Let a select group of customers buy special access to you by phone or Skype. You can also upsell them to in-person training.

For Author Experts Only

18) Brand Ambassador or Celebrity Spokesperson

Teach consumers about how to interact with a company’s brand.

19) Corporate Spokesperson

Go after companies that need the kinds of readers and audiences who love you.

20) Trade Association

Collect membership fees and offer high value.

21) Licensing.

License your own content to be used by others.

22) Expert Witness

Attorneys hire a wide variety of expert witnesses to testify on their clients’ behalf.

Branded Retail Products

23) Desk or Wall Calendars

Great for fiction authors, too.

24) Board GamesThe Settlers of Catan

The Settlers of Catan board games, which have sold more than 18 million copies worldwide, are being turned into a book, proof that the book doesn’t always come first.

25) T-shirts, Hats and Accessories

Another profitable opportunity for fiction authors.


26) Membership Programs

You bill members monthly. It’s difficult to keep members for longer than three months, so offer high value.

27) Group Coaching

Offer this in person, by phone or Skype.

28) “Rent My Brain”

People who don’t need long-term access to you can rent your brain for an hour. At the end of their session, try to upsell them to a longer-term coaching or membership program.

29) Mentor Program

It differs from group coaching because it offers one-on-one training although you could include group coaching.

Publishing Services

30) Ghostwriting

Many people who want to write books don’t have the time or don’t want to learn how to write

31) Freelance Writing

Sell articles to print or digital media outlets.

32) Editing

Edit copy for newsletters, websites, articles or blogs.

33) Proofreading

If this is a new revenue stream for you, consider creating a profile at It’s a digital marketplace of vendors who are willing to perform a service for only $5. Many vendors try to upsell clients to more expensive services.

Those are my ideas. But I’ve only scratched the surface. What other products or services can authors spin off from their books?

Email Marketing For Authors – A Powerful Tool /email-marketing-for-authors/ Tue, 10 Feb 2015 14:05:00 +0000 /?p=8683 by

Remember when email marketing was big? Guess what? It still is.

Email Marketing For Authors - A Powerful Tool

While business pages focus on social media trends, and blogs and workshops on the Internet abound with how-to information on nearly every social media network, email has been trucking along.

Savvy marketers have been doing all they can to collect their web visitors’ emails and grow their lists for years.

You’re probably asking yourself, “What about social media?” Well, social media is a powerful tool to nurture relationships with your readers.

Email marketing enables you to communicate directly with each of your subscribers – your readers.

In a recent study, Pew Research discovered that 94% of employed adults use the Internet for work. This number is no surprise when you consider the widespread use of technology across industries.

Here’s the kicker: It turns out that email is considered the most important business tool by 61% of those polled. In comparison, just 4% consider social media networks as important.

Email Signup Case Studies

Take Derek Halpern’s About page on his Social Triggers website for example. He’s positioned three newsletter sign-up forms throughout the page.

There aren’t any columns with distracting information, and there’s not a single social media icon on that page. He wants your email address – desperately it seems.

On his home page, there are three signup forms and a floating box requesting your email that floats with you to the top or bottom of the page. Here are his calls to action:

  1. Get Free Updates
  2. Don’t miss out on these free updates! He includes an image (see below) and a quote from powerhouse marketer Chris Brogan.
  3. get updates (it’s free)

Caballo - email 2

Plus one of his page tabs is titled Free Updates. That landing page is almost austere in design with the only color on the page coming from the email sign-up box.

Let’s look at Yaro Starak’s home page. This is his email sign-up form on every single page of his website:

Caballo - email 3

Pretty powerful, right?

Marketer and New York Times best-selling author Chris Brogan uses a popup for his home page to entice web visitors to turn over their emails.

Caballo - email 4

On his home page, he uses this very personalized appeal to scoop up emails.

Caballo - email Brogan

There can be some bias against marketers in some writing communities, but, hey, these people really know how to use persuasive language.

Authors and Email Marketing

What does this mean for authors? I have a few suggestions:

  1. Sign up for an email application such as MailChimp (that’s what I use), Constant Contact (I don’t like it, but plenty of people do), or AWeber (many people love this application).
  2. Offer a premium for signing up for your newsletter or blog. I offer a free eBook (Twitter Just for Writers) on my website. People these days are more willing to turn over an email address if they receive an item – a book, a list of best practices, a template, etc. – of value in return. Some marketers offer a 30-day free email course. (How’s that for communicating regularly with your readers?)
  3. Use your email list to send quality content to your readers on a regular basis and include one call to action per newsletter. The content you select will depend on your genre and niche. Make sure that your call to action has a focused objective and the link should lead to a landing page where there won’t be any distractions. The thrust of the page will be to entice your web visitor to take action, such as purchase your newest book.

Don’t think that just because you invest in email marketing that you’ll be able to dispense with social media. Keep it up.

Through email marketing, you can communicate with your current website visitors. Through social media you can ask questions, better acquaint yourself with your readers, have discussions in real time, and find prospective readers.

 Email Marketing Best Practices

The folks at Hubspot recommend these three parameters before venturing into email marketing.

  • Create and use a simple template. You want to focus on your content, not the form.
  • Keep your template within 600 pixels. This way your recipients, if they use Outlook, can see your content in the vertical preview pane
  • Don’t neglect to follow CAN-SPAM rules. All of your marketing emails, including your series of gratitude emails, must contain the word “unsubscribe.” In addition to providing an unsubscribe option in every email, you must also include your company name and address.

I will add one more parameter: Always include social share icons in your newsletter so your readers can share your content wherever they like to hang out online.

Here are some more tips I like:

  • Write compelling email subject lines. What would entice you to open an email? Try to replicate that.
  • Use actionable language in the present tense.
  • Personalize your introduction.
  • Edit your content carefully. People don’t like to read long emails so make your content concise, meaningful, and useful.
  • Create a visually appealing newsletter and use images.
  • Use the most impactful images you can find.
  • Use clear calls to action, and just use one per newsletter.

To learn more, check out Chris Brogan’s book, Trust Agents or The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing by DJ Waldow and Jason Falls.

How To Get Influencers To Notice You /get-influencers-to-notice-you/ Fri, 06 Feb 2015 14:05:00 +0000 /?p=8682 by

Getting high-profile people to write a blurb or endorse your book is always a great goal – or even getting someone to share your stuff is fantastic.

How To Get Influencers To Notice YouGoing after them, however, can be tricky because in the age of social media and access to everyone, it’s easy to get carried away when targeting an influencer.

I’ve spoken to some authors who will just create a “hit list” of folks they aspire to get endorsements from or influencers they want to reach and start plugging away. Sometimes that works and sometimes that doesn’t. More often than not, the latter is true.

Though it’s not always easy to get endorsements, it’s definitely possible. Also, the higher you go up the celebrity food chain, the more involved the process becomes.

Let’s say right up front that the more you network, the faster you’ll get influencers to notice you. If people know you, or have at least met you, they may be more inclined to help you out.

I understand the passion behind your project and that you want to get it out to the world, and certainly an influencer could help to cut that time in half but if you pitch the wrong person in the wrong way, you’ll just waste your own valuable marketing time.

Sansevieri Endorsements

First: Do Your Homework

Alignment: When I get targeted for a blurb, I’m always amazed at how often the book I’ve been asked to blurb has nothing to do with my area of expertise or what I’m known for.

And while I get that someone like Guy Kawasaki has millions of followers, and gee, wouldn’t it be great if he shared your stuff, wouldn’t it make more sense if Guy was actually interested in what you were selling?

So that’s step one: make sure that whoever is on your list has a direct interest. Not indirect, not through some random thing they were involved in ten years ago, but a direct connection. The more direct the connection, the easier this will be.

Conflict: Remember that when you’re doing your research, see if there’s a conflict with your book. Do they have a book or product coming out that they are currently promoting?

Sometimes these things can present a conflict and other times, they present an opportunity. This might be a good chance to offer to share it with your crowd.

Though it may not be as big as the influencer’s (and likely it isn’t) it’s still nice to offer the gesture and most people won’t turn down a free mention of their book or whatever it is that they are marketing.

Relationships: Marketing is all about relationships, we know this, and as I mentioned above: people who know you are more inclined to help you. Build those relationships, and as you do, consider this:

Add Value: Gaining the attention of an influencer for anything – whether it’s a blurb or a social media share – has to be a two-way street. Share their stuff, help them out, offer value.

Don’t just show up with your hand out because I can almost guarantee you, you won’t get a positive response.

Do Your Research: If you have your sights set on someone, study them, know what they’ve written, what they like and don’t like. I’m so flattered when people take the time to get to know my work and even a few times where people have mentioned my dog.

Get to know who they are, even referencing something they recently shared on social media, a trip they took, whatever. Let them know you are paying attention and that you care.

This makes a huge difference! Ask anyone who has ever been pitched a product, blurb or a social media share.

Practice Good Email: As much as we all know how many emails big names and influencers get, I’m still surprised at how often I see pitches that are unfocused and rambling. While I don’t get near the amount of email that a celeb or influencer does, I am still amazed at how many unprofessional pitches I’ll get.

Consider this: regardless of how you are pitching, your subject line is crucial and most of us have a preview on our phone, too, so aside from a crafty subject line, consider a subtitle that will be the first sentence they see before even opening the email.

That’s how a lot of us scan email these days before we decide to open it, file it, or just dump it.

And if you’re lucky enough to get an influencer to open up your email, make sure that the body of it is tightly a tightly focused pitch that is ideally no longer than one paragraph.

The big “why”: This may seem like an awfully obvious thing to do, but you need to be sure and be clear on the “why” – meaning why they should do this for you. I would recommend that you include this in your pitch.

Be clear on their WIIFM (what’s in it for me) factor before you put your pitch together. I’m not suggesting you pay them, but offer them some insight on how their blurb or their social media share could help this book reach more readers because it helps them accomplish XYZ.

Don’t mention that it’ll help you sell more, though that is also true. This is about reaching more readers.

[Tweet “Let’s say that you want a high-profile person to blurb your book. [Your How-To Guide]”]

Step Two: How to Pitch Your Target

Now that you’ve done the above, it’s time to really go after what you want. Let’s say that you want some high-profile person to blurb your book. Where do you begin?

In-Person Events: If they’re speaking somewhere or attending an event and you think you can get even thirty seconds with them, it’s worth the trip or drive or whatever.

Trust me, I’ve gotten more blurbs from in-person stuff than anything else.

Prior to the Event: If you know you’re going to be at an event with someone you are trying to get to know, follow the event hashtag in the weeks leading up to it.

Participate, offer your own insight, tweet to that person’s Twitter account and tell them how much you’re looking forward to their talk. They may not remember you when event time comes, but they just might and it could be worth the effort.

Reaching someone without an Event: Even if you can’t gain access to them in person or maybe the event is too pricey to attend you can still add value by sharing their stuff on social media, wishing them luck at the event.

I had a friend once who couldn’t afford to go to the event, but instead asked to meet the person after their talk in the lobby.

Prior to this she’d been doing a lot of legwork around this by becoming visible in their Twitter stream and sharing their content, responding to some social media updates, even commenting on their blog.

By the time the event came around, her invitation to meet didn’t come totally out of left field.

Step Three: Making the Pitch

The Pitch: If you’re going to a talk someone is giving and you want to pitch them there make sure you are ready. Have two copies of your book with a letter (the ASK) and your contact info (a business card) attached to the book.

Don’t just insert it, make sure it’s glued or taped on. Trust me, if it’s loose it’ll get lost. When you hand it to them have your pitch ready. Two to three sentences – that’s all you get.

Don’t ramble, don’t hem and haw your way through this. This is your moment to shine, have the pitch ready.

Follow up: Before you leave them with the book make sure you have a way to follow up. Sometimes they’ll say “I’ll get in touch.” Well, it’s better if you can follow up, so be politely persistent about it.

I’m a firm believer that even the most high-profile influencers are reachable if you take the right actions to do so.

Like-minded influencers will often be excited and more than willing to help you out but the relationship doesn’t have to end there.

I find that these situations often morph into very mutually beneficial long-term relationships which means that you shouldn’t drop this effort once you get your blurb or mention.

Stay on their radar screen, because reaching influencers is not something that has to have an end date or be a one-time thing.

How To Write Fascinating Amazon Book Listings To Sell More Books /fascinating-amazon-book-listings/ Tue, 03 Feb 2015 14:05:00 +0000 /?p=8679 by

While authors are generally focused on writing and selling their books, I want you to wear a different hat for the next few minutes.

How To Write Fascinating Amazon Book Listings To Sell More Books

Instead of approaching book sales from the viewpoint of the author, I want you to pay attention to your own shopping habits when buying books from

As a customer, what do you look for during your search? Of course, the title is all-important. If the title doesn’t capture attention and convey a solid message about what the reader can expect, you’re in trouble right from the start.

But what else appeals to you when looking for a book online?

If you’re like most customers, the book description is crucial in convincing you that the publication you thought you might like to buy is a must-read for sure. If you take the time to look around at best-selling books on Amazon, you’ll see that the heavy hitters have a lot of things in common when it comes to their descriptions.

I’ll evaluate the top three here so you can use them to write (or beef up) your Amazon book listings and make more sales.

One – Focus On End Results

People buy books for a reason. Most don’t just purchase and then store them on a physical or virtual shelf as collector’s items. They want something from your book.

What is it? And is that “something” enough to convince shoppers that your work is worth their time and money?

There’s an old marketing question that encapsulates the customer’s mindset: What’s in it for me? Will your book provide information that:

  • entertains – novels or autobiographies
  • educates – textbooks or how-to books
  • empowers – business books that teach money-making skills
  • enlightens – reference books

…or something else?

Here’s a fictitious example. Let’s say your book is a business publication that will teach people a new skill. Is learning that skill set the end result?

Nope! The result is what readers will be able to accomplish with that new skill. If your book entitled “The ABCs of List Building” is about showing authors how to build a list of adoring fans, that’s great.

Most people would love to have a loyal following, but the interest in your book would be short-lived if the authors didn’t understand how to apply that to their business and get something in return, namely, a result.

Explain to your prospective readers that — using the list-building magic you talk about in your book — they can develop a marketing plan that automatically promotes their current books and new publications so they literally earn money while they sleep. Now, that’s interesting!

Here’s a good example:


Two – Use Power Words

Depending on what genre you’re writing, chances are good that the content of your book is not written using copywriter-speak.

Most authors are not copywriters (or professional marketers, for that matter) and, while you can bang out book after successful book, you might struggle when it comes to creating a sales message.

One of the easiest ways to make your book description more enticing is to use power words. No, not hype. I’m talking about words with a little oomph: words that paint vivid mental pictures.

What if you went to Amazon and found this book description:

In Quiet, Susan Cain says we undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She talks about Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how it has come to fill our culture.

She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a salesman who taps into the power of questions. Thoroughly researched, and filled with stories of real people, Quiet has the power to change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

Interesting? Sure. If you are an introvert or know one, you might consider buying this book.

But notice the difference when you add power words:

In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture.

She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, 

Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves. [This is the version used on]

As a potential buyer of this book, do you see (or even feel) the difference as you read the second description? The top version is good; the bottom one is exceptional! Don’t settle for ordinary; step up your game by using power words.

Three – Toot Your Own Horn

Remember the question I mentioned in Tip #1? In addition to “What’s in it for me,” your readers are also asking, “Why should I believe you?”

Sure, you wrote a book, but so did lots of other authors. Why should the shopper take you at your word?

Including some credentials in your Amazon book listing is a great idea because it instills trust in your prospect. Here are several wonderful examples of how to work this in:



 (Notice the use of power words such as “world-renowned,” “groundbreaking,” “super-human,” “electrifying,” etc.?)

When you combine these three techniques for creating your Amazon book listing, you’ll position your work in a more engaging light.


Once people are intrigued by your description, they are all the more likely to buy!

Recommended by The Future of Ink…

Want to improve your chances of showing up high in Amazon’s internal search engine and Google? Have a look at Author Advantage: How to Create Amazon Book Descriptions That Sell by Karon Thackston. 

How You Can Use Thunderclap To Promote Your Book (Video) /thunderclap/ Fri, 30 Jan 2015 14:05:00 +0000 /?p=8678 by

How You Can Use Thunderclap To Promote Your Book (Video)

ThunderClap is a cool tool authors can use to reach more people. You can use it to:

  • Build a book launch team
  • Promote a sample chapter
  • Share a book promotion or
  • Get the message out about your cause/charity

You can get started here.

With Thunderclap, you need to choose a supporter goal. If you don’t get enough supporters by your campaign’s end date, none of your messages will be sent out. So it is important to meet your minimum goal.

On Thunderclap you can start with a goal of 100. The main advantage of a larger supporter goal is that it appears to be a bigger accomplishment. However, you can raise your goal later if you want.

Video Tutorial
(4:12 min)

 Examples of How Authors Are Using Thunderclap


Kim Garst

Brian G Johnson

Peg Fitzpatrick and Guy Kawasaki

Other resources:

Facebook group that supports family-friendly Thunderclap campaigns

Platform similar to Thunderclap requires less support (HeadTalker)

Have you used Thunderclap or supported a campaign? If so, share your tips and advice you have for using it effectively below.