Writing, publishing and marketing a book can be a tremendous investment of time and money--so much so that many aspiring authors won't embark on the journey until it's clear they will get something (preferably dollars) out of it. Trouble is, they don't know how to make money with a book beyond the traditional model of "sell book, get paid a royalty". Royalties can be slim pickings, sometimes just 7 percent of the book's retail price. If you're looking to make more you'll have to think of your book as not just a book--you'll have to have a bigger picture in mind.
Does Your Topic Have Moneymaking Potential?
Be honest. Do others want what you have to offer? If your book is a memoir, for instance, with stories that only your family members can truly appreciate, there won't be a big market for it. However if your memoir is a harrowing tale of recovery, that's different. Others would want to read it and connect it to their own experience in one way or another.
You'll want to think the same way about your fiction or non-fiction book. What's selling in the stores right now? Can you make such a connection? Can your book tie into a current wave of popularity (Chick lit.? Business leadership? Current events?) Or is your book different, but so totally out of the box that you can grab some attention for it? The clearer you can be with nailing down a market for your book, the easier your job will be.
Sell It In Bulk
Why sell one book at a time when you can just as easily sell 25, 50, 100 or more all at once? Think about getting a company or a group to make a volume purchase. Support groups might want all their members to have your recovery memoir; churches might be interested in passing on inspirational works to their congregations; businesses certainly are in need of free gifts for their customers. Do a little research and find out what possibilities exist for your book.
Use Your Book in Your Business
If you're an entrepreneur, a book can be an excellent lead generator. It's a way to reach customers who may not have found you through your usual marketing strategies. You'll see this technique at work in books such as "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind" and "No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs". These books offer invitations to free seminars, coupons for free gifts, contests, free trial subscriptions to newsletters. The authors of these books understand that while they'll make a little money from selling the book, the real funds will flow from turning the customer into a purchaser of their higher end products.
Use Your Book to Pursue Job Opportunities
If you're not an entrepreneur, you can still earn financial benefits from your book in non-direct ways. Think of it like this: your book becomes your business. You use it to attract speaking engagements, teaching gigs, or even consulting work. You could develop a workshop around your book. Many of the teachers in continuing education programs such as those offered through The Learning Annex (www.learningannex.com) are authors who have done just that. If you're in the corporate world, think of this: few people get to walk around with the word "author" on their resume, so it's sure to stand out when you're hunting for your next job. In fact, it may bring you better offers!
Prepare Your Plan of Action
If you've been putting off starting your book because you're not sure if there's money in it, then do your research. Take a few of these ideas, or use them to think up new possibilities, and map out how you could make money with your book. If the numbers look good, print them up, post them near your computer screen and let the vision of those potential dollars inspire you to your book's conclusion.