by Alinka Rutkowska, author of “How I Sold 80,000 Books: Book Marketing for Authors“
If you’re an entrepreneur that doesn’t yet have a credibility book, you may wonder how to go about writing one. You know it would bring the rewards you’re seeking: business growth, profitable book sales, more customers and clients, and notoriety in your field.
Consider what writing books have done recently for these authors:
- Malcolm Gladwell (“Outliers: The Story of Success” is at 285 weeks on the NYT Bestsellers list)
- Mark Manson (“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” is at 138 weeks)
- Yuval Noah Harari (“Sapiens“ is at 64 weeks on the list)
A cleverly and well-marketed book is a powerful way to become known and grow your business. As an expert, your book is your ultimate business card. Nothing increases your authority in the eyes of your customers, employees, and strangers as much as being a published author – particularly a best-selling published author. With that said, most books struggle to sell more than a few hundred copies.
The need for authors to launch a book without going through the massive lead time and struggle to land a contract with a traditional publisher has created the concept of hybrid publishing.
What Is Hybrid Publishing?
To understand hybrid publishing, you must first examine the primary options in the book publishing world: traditional publishing and self-publishing.
A traditional publisher pays an author for the rights to their work, then creates the book and markets it through conventional channels like bookstores. In exchange for the upfront compensation to the author, most of the control and royalties earned over the book’s lifetime belong to the publisher. This model is very slow-moving and does not create immediate results for the author, especially if they want to use the book as a credibility device.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, self-publishing gives you 100% control over your book. All income and benefits go directly to you. However, there’s a challenge to this model: you must be able to complete an exhaustive set of steps to correctly write and publish the book. You can search the internet for many examples of a self-publishing checklist. (I have one in my book, Outsource Your Book, which you can download for free at the end of this article).
A hybrid publishing model sits somewhere on a sliding scale between those two extremes. You, as the author, will not be paid upfront as a traditional publisher would do. Instead, you will pay for help to complete the steps for self-publishing. You will have total control over the result, any compensation, the ongoing benefits like sharing it as a credibility piece, and all other facets of being a published author.
Is There A Market For My Book?
With the advent of social media, everybody has a voice. With such clamor, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out and get noticed. A well-written book, however, can and will draw customers straight to your doorstep or company website.
Perhaps you’ve wondered if the genre you’re considering is already too packed for you and your book to get noticed. (Who wants to read another book on how to sell? CEOs do–most leaders read at least one book per week.)
Although specific genres might already be full of books like yours, there’s always room for another bestseller. Think Stephen King + horror or James Patterson + history or Mary Roach + science.
Are you wondering what a book could do for your popularity?
- Authority – establish you as the expert in your arena;
- Visibility – customers, CEOS, businesspeople around the WORLD will know who you are;
- Credibility – a book is the new calling card for your company;
- Financial – the properly marketed book is a cash-generating asset (Yes! Even one book!);
- Invitation – top-ranked books provide many readers entrance into your world;
- Popularity – books open the door to speaking gigs;
- Consultancy – to be a consultant in semi-retirement a book is a perfect method to get there;
- Legacy – explain to your family and heirs just what you did when you were not at home;
- Ease – all the above happens without you having to write the book yourself!
The challenge is that many people think they can publish a book and immediately shoot to the top of the charts. However, if you don’t expertly present your product, even an accomplished author with a couple of bestsellers will experience lackluster sales.
I used to work in multinational companies, and before we took anything to market, it had to go through the 4Ps: Product, Place, Price, and Promotion. Why should a book be any different? Strategizing around the 4Ps can boost your sales and potential to piggyback on your revenue by growing your business.
What will the four Ps do for your book sales?
Product: write a book that will fit in and stand out. Check out Amazon’s best sellers in your genre to begin. Hint: write for a type that is already established and booming. Now imagine what you have to say compiled in a book and listed among the other bestsellers. How will you stand out? Do you have a new take on an old idea? Fresh content?
Place: carefully consider where and when it publishes. Think about casting a wide net to have the book available via all retailers or choosing to focus on just one. Imagine that Amazon doesn’t exist (humor me). Where would your book sell? Where do your customers hang out? Aviation Museums? Hair salons? Clothing stores? Military supply depots? Airports?
Price: must equal affordability and profit. It would be best if you priced your books so that you’re both competitive and make a profit. Choosing a price point is a long and detailed subject, but I can share a few quick tidbits. Sometimes authors want to price their first book low to increase sales of other titles. Sometimes authors don’t lower the price of their work but instead provide additional perks. Possibly a short freebie book, a free or low priced class, course, or club membership to incentivize sales.
Promotion: even before you write your book, there are steps to take to promote your soon-to-be bestseller. Reach out to your existing contacts and invite them to your launch team. Scout for Amazon reviewers who reviewed books like yours. Ask for partnerships and get those partners to encourage their audiences to join your launch team.
Want help with your book idea? Comment below, tell me about your book, and I’ll reply and let you know how to promote your publication for maximum reach — and book sales.
BONUS: GET YOUR FREE COPY OF OUTSOURCE YOUR BOOK
This guide will help you with a detailed map of the process to get your book published in the hybrid publishing world. Yours free as a valued reader of Young Upstarts.
Alinka Rutkowska is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. As the founder and CEO of Leaders Press, she has launched all of its books to bestseller status. Her author-entrepreneurs create authority, visibility, and popularity with her A to Z ghostwriting and publishing solutions.