Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Book Business is Tough

We have authors who come to us with dollar signs dancing in their eyes as they hand us their creation. I once even heard an author say, "I figured I would write, get published, and become rich." Well, in book land, that is not exactly how it goes. Some authors do strike the vein of gold for sure. Other authors will forever labor in mid-success world where their book sells well and makes money, but certainly not enough to invest in the mansion and Mercedes in the driveway. I typically recommend you keep in mind that your book should be used as a platform for something greater than the sum of the pages it's printed on. Hard number crunching shows you that a $14.95 book sold through the common sales channel of Amazon at $6.73 equals you better sell hundreds to get anywhere significant. With such a competitive marketplace, your book had better be really fabulous too. Because like the grocery-store shelf, the consumer has lots of choices these days. So add to that, your book should be visually appealing too -- this attracts the impulse buyer. But really the bigger message is that if you use your book as a platform for your business (and this can be done with fiction too) then you can reap the bigger rewards -- speaking gigs where you can do serious back-of-the-room sales, jobs to consult on other projects, and more opportunities to spread your point of view. I never recommend that authors get into the business of just the book. Notice even Harry Potter has merchandising.

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