Few publishers and authors will make any serious money from their book(s) alone! You might, but very few people do.Remember that you are not really an author or a publisher. In the paradigm of our new economy, you are an information marketer. Books are one of the ways that you market your information. But there are many more.The key to making money as an information marketer is to understand the concept of a back-end. Your front end product (usually your book) is what you sell first. Your back-end products are any- and everything that you sell after that.Ideally you don’t want to have your book on the market until you have developed a fairly extensive back-end. If your book is already out there, don’t worry, you can recover.Here’s the basic concept. After people buy your book, you want to get them to contact you. After they contact you, you want to trade them up to the more expensive products that you offer.Making Contact
As a bookseller, some of your books are sold by you directly. It’s easy to capture the contact information for those who buy from you in that manner. Those who don’t are another story. It’s very difficult to get their details.How do you get the contact information for these other customers? You bribe them! Any book you sell must have a mechanism for “seducing” your buyer to get back in touch with you. You need to make them an “offer they can’t refuse” in a prominent location in your book. Give people something of high perceived value with little or no cost to you. Offer them this item in exchange for their very valuable contact information.The ianson is that your database is your most important asset. A well-maintained database will pay you dividends forever!If you have already printed your book, you can stick a postcard somewhere in the middle of the book that makes them an offer. This is better than nothing.The best thing to offer people is a short report that is directly related to the information you cover in your book. You must offer something that can be digitally delivered. That way there will be no cost to produce or mail it. You will also want to have it set up to be delivered automatically.Moving Up
Once you have their contact information, you need to start mailing them on a regular basis. They have bought your book, now you want to trade them up to your more expensive items. Your “special reports” will be priced less than your book. Usually in the $5 to $10 range. I encourage you to do those as well, but I would rather have you sell them the more expensive items.After people buy your book, your goal is to sell them any- and everything you have. Since the book is the second least expensive of your items, you will primarily be up-selling them.Authors and publishers who develop higher priced products and sell them to those who buy their book will not only make more money, but they will also give their customers more of what they want. How often have you read a book that you liked and then wanted more? The problem is that few authors offer anything more. Don’t you be one of them.Sure, you can write another book, and I encourage you to do so. The problem is that books take a lot longer to produce. In addition, they are priced so much lower than the other products I am encouraging you to produce.What I am suggesting is that you work on producing some audio and video tapes for your market. These can be offered at significantly higher prices because of the higher perception of value. In niche markets, people will pay significantly more.You need to develop products at a variety of price points starting at $10 and going all the way through $1,000.I have a number of different niche markets that I target. Here are my price points in one of those markets. I offer a two-cassette audio program for $49. I offer a newsletter for $99. I offer a live recording of a seminar at $197. I offer a one-day seminar at $297. I offer one-on-one coaching for $500. I offer a package of all of my products in this market for $777. Finally, I offer a “three-day bootcamp” for $997.This is by no means an exhaustive list. You could offer a lot of other things as well. But don’t worry, you don’t have to offer all of them tomorrow.At the price point over $1000 is high-end consulting. A certain number of people who enter your “funnel” will eventually be traded all the way up to this.To make all of this work, you must have a system. A system that can be automated. Preferably one that is on-line and requires a minimum of effort on your part. When anyone buys your book, your system should immediately send them a “thank you” message (via e-mail) along with an offer to buy your next, more expensive product.Creating Products
The key to creating a great product is to have something important to say. Assuming you do, then you need to put the information into a logical order. I always recommend that people put together a very detailed outline. This is the starting point for any kind of product that you create.Here is a look at the different kinds of products you might produce.Audio products: You have three primary ways to produce audio products.Option #1: Record the program yourself. If you’re just starting out, you can do this with a very inexpensive recording device while you’re sitting in your own living room. I did! However this is not the preferred way to do things.Why? Well, it’s very difficult to keep people interested in just one person (no matter how articulate) talking “at” them on a tape. My suggestion is to go with one of the other options.Option #2: Do your audio program in an interview format. Take your information and create a detailed outline. Use this outline as the basis for the questions that your interviewer will ask you. For this to work with a fairly skeletal outline, you will need someone who is quick on their feet and has a knowledge of your field.This method is excellent for keeping people’s attention. Often those who are listening would have wanted to ask the same question that your interviewer did.Doing an audio recording in a professional manner makes it possible to control the environment and create a high-quality audio recording. You can record it in an audio studio or another, less expensive option where you can keep the noise to a minimum.Option #3: Record a live seminar. If done correctly, this is often your best option. The problem is cost.To do it correctly, you need to have a great audio recording device. Additionally, you need to make sure your audience is properly miked. Audios where this is not done will create a lot of frustration on the part of your listeners. Questions asked by the audience are often inaudible. To cover this, make sure you repeat questions asked by your audience members in addition to getting a great recording.Newsletters: Let me caution you in advance about newsletters. They are a lot of work!If you choose to do them, make sure to get subscribers to agree to digital delivery. If you have to print and then mail the newsletter to each one of your subscribers, you will have a monthly nightmare.Don’t try to do it all yourself. Get others to write articles for your newsletter. This will ease the burden on you in most cases. Occasionally the writing is so bad you are better off writing it yourself. Either that or you are dealing with a prima donna who wastes a lot of your time.People subscribe to newsletters to receive highly useable information. Make sure you give this to them.Seminars: Seminars can be a dangerous business if you don’t know what you’re doing. I heard a recent story about a guy who lost $30,000 on a seminar. He justified it by saying that it was “good for his positioning.” Positioning for what? Bankruptcy? This is crazy! I have never done a seminar that has lost money.Like videos, this is another area where you should get help from experts. You can do seminars very inexpensively if you do it right. The way to do this is to capture e-mail addresses and cut your mailing cost to zero!You will also want to look for joint venture opportunities with others who have a customer base that is similar to your own. The traditional split is 50-50 of the seminar fee.Video products: No matter whether they’re going to end up on video tapes, CD-Roms, or on the Web, you need to “capture” your video images first. I would not recommend that you try to do this yourself. Most people who do end up creating a product that looks very amateurish.To create a good video, you need two key elements. First, a great script. Second, a good production crew.If you are a great writer, you may be able to write the script for your video. For most people, this might be a component to “job out.” Very few people, even talented writers, can write scripts that will make a great video.Over the past 15 years, I have produced over 100 how-to videos. I was taught the business by a good friend of mine who was a professional video producer. He taught me some very important lessons that I have used to produce my own videos.Still you shouldn’t try to get into another business. Concentrate on what you do best!High-end consulting: Consulting work will inevitably result from following the system I suggest here. Very few successful consultants try to sell their consulting services directly. When people call you for consulting work, you’ll want to have a few things available.Testimonials are your most effective means of promoting and selling your consulting services. No four-color brochure will ever have near the impact of a large stack (which you will have at some point) of glowing letters about you and your work.Anytime you do any work for anyone, make sure to ask for a letter. Volunteer to write it for them and have them sign it.When you get someone who expresses interest, follow up. Be persistent, but not pushy. No one wants to work with someone who appears to need the work.Conclusion
Whether you have or haven’t finished your book, begin to produce some back-end products. Start with those which are inexpensive to produce.If you do all of the things described above, you’ll end up making a lot more money as an author or publisher.
Fred Gleeck has been an information marketer for 15 years. He is a speaker, author, and consultant. He coaches authors and publishers on how to dramatically increase their revenues through a variety of creative and nontraditional means. His new book, “Self Publishing for Maximum Profit,” will be out later this year. Visit his Web site at webmarketingmagic.com.