Copyright Protection for Books

Good news, author. Your work is under copyright protection from virtually the moment it is created. From the moment you put your words to word processor automatic copyright is applied.

So if protection is automatic, then why would you want to file and pay money for an official copyright certificate?

Here are three reasons why you might want to file a copyright certificate in the US:

Number one, filing is required for a copyright infringement case.

If registration occurs within five years of publication, it’s considered a prima facie. In less legal terms, it means that it’s accepted as true unless concretely proven otherwise.

Also, there are 20 countries in the world that require you to file copyright because they don’t recognize automatic copyrights. Which means, in those countries, someone could republish your work and you have no defense in their courts unless you file for copyrights.

Number two, if you want your book considered for inclusion in the library of Congress, part of the process for submission is to file official copyrights.

I covered that topic in this right here:

Number three, you may just wish to have the facts of your copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration.

It makes the whole thing very official. If you file for copyright, timeline and ownership become very clear.

Registration is voluntary but could be useful. It’s totally up to you. Your work is protected by copyright but your ideas are not.

In the Unites States, the United States copyright office accepts registrations.

Copyright for Canadian Authors:

For Canadian authors, basically it’s the same for you. It’s totally voluntary and only really necessary in an infringement case. If you want to file, it’s through the Canadian Intellectual Property Office for a fee.

You may also like to read ‘Should you use a pen name when you write a book?‘.

How to Price a Non-Fiction Book for Sale on Amazon

Figuring out how to price a non-fiction book for sale is tricky business. You want a price point that is high enough that a reader knows the book is valuable, and that it opens you up to cross promotional opportunities. And, you want to be competitive so you don’t scare away your prospective readers.

As we discussed in why you shouldn’t price your book too cheap, the advice really varies on the subject.

To me, book pricing is one part art and one part science.

To figure out how to price a non-fiction book, first you want to know:

  • What is the ultimate goal of your book?
  • What are the distribution channels?
  • What formats are you printing in?
  • How many pages is your book?
  • And, what is the value you are offering to the reader?

By the way, Amazon’s really what you need to pay attention to as a self-published author. That’s where more than 80% of your book sales are going to come from, even if you have book store distribution. So really, you’re figuring out what’s going to make you stand out and keep that Amazon monster fat and happy.

But how do you figure it all out? Well, let’s take a look:

And, of course if this seems like a giant pain in the butt and you wish someone else would do it all for you, your Book Launchers membership includes pricing research and a price range recommendation. That’s just part of our service to help you write, publish and promote your book. We also do extensive category selection and keyword research.

 

How to Create an Audiobook for Audible, iTunes, and Overdrive

If you’re a nonfiction author, or you’re going to be, I highly recommend you put audiobook on your list of things to do, especially once your book is written. And I’m not just saying this because I listen to more non-fiction books than I read. I’m saying this because I’m not alone.

Books aren’t going away. Print books aren’t dying either.

The book market is shifting though.

How people consume books is changing. The biggest change is that we’re listening to books more than ever.

3 reasons why it’s time to create an audiobook for your non-fiction book:

  1. E-book and print book sales are stable or declining, but audiobook sales are growing.

    Nearly half of frequent audiobook listeners are under 35. But, audiobooks aren’t just for the young reader. Podcast listeners love audiobooks too. If you are a podcaster, it’s quite likely you have a built in market for your audiobook in your listener base. (And, here’s an article on turning your podcast into a book!)

  2. Credibility and trust.

    For most of our clients at Book Launchers, the goal of writing a book is grow your business and build your name as an expert. If that’s you, here’s a few cool thoughts for you.

    First, there are far fewer audiobooks on the market than there are print books and e-books. That makes it easier to stand out.

     

    audiobook listener

    The costs are higher to produce than the other kinds of books in some cases, even if you do it yourself, and that definitely reduces the size of the market. And it’s also a bit of a pain to produce. But if you’re the voice narrator, the benefit will be that your listener will build a level of trust with you directly.  That bond is so much stronger than if they just read your words. There’s something powerful about your voice being in someone’s head.

    Also, the fact that you have an audiobook makes you seem even more credible because few books have that audio component. When someone checks out your book on Amazon and sees multiple formats, it makes you look like the ‘real deal’. This is really important if you’re a consultant, a sales person, you’re selling workshops, you’re speaking, you’re doing media, and so much more.

  3. It’s easier to stand out on Audible.

I couldn’t get actual up-to-date numbers on the size of the Audible library in comparison to the Amazon library, but in 2013, the Audible library only had one hundred thousand titles, and Amazon had millions.

Even though both catalogues have grown dramatically since 2013, you’re still standing out in a sea of probably no more than 20% of the size of the current Amazon library. That’s a much easier job for a nonfiction book. Don’t believe me? Go to audible.com and do a search in your niche. Instead of finding hundreds or thousands of books that you’d be competing with, you’ll probably find a few dozen.

So, how do you create a fantastic audiobook worthy of five stars on audible and other platforms?

Here are six tips for creating a fantastic audiobook version of your book:

Number one, set up your own studio, or arrange a studio rental.

You can’t just get a mic, open VoiceNote on your iPhone, and start recording. Second, you will be rated on performance, story, and the overall book. In other words, you don’t want your book to get panned in the reviews just because you tried to do your audiobook on the cheap, and didn’t get it edited, right?

If you’re going to use the equipment again, or you live in a remote place, setting up a home studio is easier than you think, and recommended. If you’re a podcaster or you’re gonna create online courses, it makes sense for you to do this so all your content creation is of a good standard.

You can often rent spaces for 60 to 100 dollars an hour, and most books can be recorded in less than three hours, unless you’re terrible. But that leads nicely into point number two.

Number two, practice.

I don’t just mean practice talking, I mean read your book out loud. A paid professional would read your book out loud two to three times before sitting down in a studio to record it. You’re not a professional, which means even though it’s your book, you probably need even more practice reading out loud in an engaging way.

Number three, get voice coaching.

While you’re reading, record 30 minutes of it, and send it to a voice coach. Google ‘voice coach’, and I’m sure you’ll find many. Ideally find one that specializes in audiobooks, or just hire Book Launchers and we have a multiple award-winning sound editor who will coach you. She’s taken home the Canadian equivalent of an Oscar twice for her sound work so, she’s pretty awesome. She also helped me with The New Brand You, if you want to hear what she did for my voice.

There are definitely things you’re doing that will detract from your performance, and Audible listeners rate your book based on performance so it needs to be decent.

The good news is when it comes to nonfiction, Audible listeners are a lot more forgiving. When it comes to fiction, they expect you to be a professional actor.

Number four, hire a professional sound editor.

Generally speaking, 10 hours of a book will take 30 hours to edit. This is audible’s guidelines and the suggestion of my audiobook editor. You can hire audiobook editors on Upwork.com, guru.com, and lots of different places. Generally, audiobooks will cost about 300 dollars per finished hour of product.

If you want to guesstimate how long your book will be, use this tool.

Number five, keep Audible’s rating system in mind when you’re making your audiobook.

I’ve already covered the audible ratings, but it’s important. Success is a balance between a good recording, strong pacing, and great editing, with good mastering. And if you don’t know what any of that means, that means you need help.

Number six, prepare for pick-ups.

What are these? They’re spots where it’s faster for an editor to replace your voice than it is to try to clean up the mess you made. The pick-ups are easy, but just know, you can’t take down that studio right away. You’re going to have to go back to the drawing board and re-record some sentences, even sometimes two or three words.

It might feel a little overwhelming, but you just might find it fun to create an audiobook. I know I loved it, and the really cool part is none of my other author friends have done it. It’s pretty cool to have done something most people haven’t done, and do it well. Plus, it’s the growing market for books and an excellent way to get in your readers’ heads!

 

How to Turn Your Podcast into a Book in Six Easy Steps

Turning the material from your podcast into a book could be a great idea! Read on to learn how ...

Turn your podcast into a bookI was stammering. My brain was frantically trying to deflect this uncomfortable question.

Red lights flashed (You’ll be fired!) and all tact was fleeing the building.

How do you tell someone that their book won’t sell?

As the lowly layout artist on a project turning a podcast into a book, I had dutifully placed the head shots of each interviewee in the book and had carefully aligned each biography. I highlighted where each question had been asked and where each answer was given. Despite my best efforts, the book was… terrible.

The worst part was that the book could have been really good.

Some of the interviews unearthed great stories and some pointed advice.

The problem was that the “author” had put no effort into creating a narrative around their source material. It was a disjointed collection of interviews, transcribed verbatim from their show. There was nothing new added, no insight into the topic, no connection from one interview to the next.

I couldn’t fathom who would enjoy this book.

And that’s the unvarnished truth about most “interview books.” You can’t re-purpose existing content without putting in some effort to take it from one platform to the next.

A lazy attempt to do this can tarnish your name and the brand you’ve already worked hard to create.

But, if you have a podcast already, there is great news: you are half way to a draft manuscript!

You still have to put in some effort, but it’s much less than if you started writing a book from scratch.

You have already done a lot of research on your subject. You’ve conducted dozens, if not hundreds, of interviews all centered around the subject of your podcast. And, you’ve probably spent many hundreds of hours thinking about and possibly even writing about this subject already.

You have expertise, experience, and access to other experts.

So, how do you take that and turn it into a profitable book?

First, celebrate the fact that you have existing content to use and something many aspiring authors don’t have … an audience!

Podcast listeners are more likely to buy books than the average person too. Think about it … your podcast listener:

  1. Seeks knowledge over music… and knowledge seekers tend to read books too (or, listen to audio books!),
  2. Is already interested in your area of expertise,
  3. Likes to listen to YOU, so they are more likely to buy your book, too,
  4. Views you as an expert,
  5. Might be asking for more content via comments, emails, and social media posts!

So, how do you turn your podcast into a book?

1. Embrace Your Expert Status

If you host a successful podcast, you already read blogs for podcast ideas, search the news for relevant trends, and conduct interviews in your area of interest. You’ve learned what your audience wants, and you know how to use your podcast to reach your own personal and business goals.

Guess what? That makes you an expert and it definitely qualifies you to share that expertise in a book! Still don’t believe me? Maybe, you think you’re still too new in your industry, or perhaps your ‘story’ doesn’t have a good ending.

Think of successful books like Think and Grow Rich, or Chicken Soup for the Soul. These books were collections of interviews and stories. By doing that work, the authors became the known expert in their field of study. It doesn’t have to be your success story you share.

2. Collect & Analyze Your Content

If you haven’t yet, it’s time to determine your goal for writing your book.

With that goal in mind, it’s time to go through your content. Review what shows garnered the most reactions, listens and even social media shares from your audience. What do these podcasts have in common?

Take note of trends in topics, tone, and interviewees key pieces of advice.

Review interviews which featured interesting examples, a quirky angle on a generally accepted advice, or brought a new perspective to your subject that you don’t hear about very often.

Next, look at the comments sections of your most popular shows. What topics are people asking for more detail on? Where are commenters adding their own thoughts? These are places where your audience is already asking for more content or is highly engaged. These hot spots are perfect for chapters and sub-topics in your book . Start making a list.

You probably already do this but you can conduct a poll of your audience to test their interest in different topics within your greater subject area. This can be a great way to gauge interest in topics to explore in your book AND podcast.

Now, with all of this information, take a look at what you have. Identify any areas where you may need to add some research, or conduct a few more interviews.

3. Curate the Content and Create an Outline

Using the data you gathered in step two, it is time to pick your theme, or “through line.” This is the connecting fiber that strings your content together in a compelling way. When someone asks, “What is your book about?” your theme is at the heart of your answer.

Book Launchers is based in LA with a lot of Hollywood experience around the office. Taking a page from the movie world, we work with our clients to come up with a  logline. In a TV show or a movie, a logline is a sentence that explains the central conflict of the story, with both synopsis of the plot, and an attention-getting “hook”. The 4 Hour Work Week wasn’t about working four hours a week. That book was about ditching the norm of being trapped in a boring cubicle job and creating a business that allows you to live the lifestyle you’re dreaming about.

You need to be able to find the thread that ties your book idea into one sentence. This makes your book easier to write, ensures your book is engaging to read, and makes it way more marketable when it’s done.

This is pretty tricky to do well, and usually requires you get someone else to help you. At Book Launchers all our clients work with a professional writing coach to help them figure this out before they write their book. If you want help writing, publishing and selling your book, here are our membership options.

Next, compile your topics, and flesh out an outline (for more outline instructions, click here).

Organize your topics in a clear way, where topics and ideas build on each other. Consider where you can add your own personal stories, examples and case studies. Remember, you need to provide the material that sews all of these pieces together. Make a list of what you can talk about, and include that in your book outline.

Podcaster Lewis Howes did a fantastic job of this in his book, The School of Greatness. His through-line was the eight principles of greatness and each chapter covered one of those eight principles. Every chapter was formatted with:

  • A 1-page introduction called “getting grounded”
  • A personal story illustrating the principle of the chapter
  • A cited expert who helps to formally define the featured principle
  • Two more experts who bring further incite to the principle
  • 2-4 exercises with in-depth instructions to master this principle in your own life.

Once you have curated your content, it is time to transcribe the interviews you’re going to include. Rev.com is a great service for transcription. They charge $1 per minute of audio though so it could get expensive. You can also try Upwork.com or Fiverr.com to find someone to transcribe the interviews you need.

Warning to all podcasters turning their podcast into a book

First, make sure you have written permission to quote from these interviews. Your podcast should have release forms prior to an appearance on the show as part of your standard interview booking practices. If you haven’t done this in advance, it’s not too late to ask for permission now. Most podcast interviewees want exposure, so they will readily agree to be included in a book!

If someone is hesitant, you can offer to let them review the quoted material before it goes to print.

Second, your book is not about the experts! It’s about your perspective on the subject.

Use the expert interviews to supplement or support your thoughts, research, and stories. This book can be a great brand and business builder for you – but only if you are the dominant voice in the book.

Remember, your audience tunes in to hear your take on the world. They like your voice and trust your opinion. You cannot write a successful book for your audience that is absent of you.

4. Write Your Book

With your logline, an outline and your material all ready to go, it’s time to write your book. Because you’re turning a podcast into a book, you probably already realize you can speak out your book and transcribe the material to get your first draft.

Whether you’re writing or speaking out the content for your manuscript, here’s a simple approach to write your book quickly:

And, if you don’t think you’re a good writer, read how to write a book even if you’re not a good writer.

The most important part of the writing process when you turn your book into a podcast is to write as if you were talking to your podcast audience. Your audience already enjoys your “voice” and your presentation style. So why would you suddenly become “formal” if you are usually casual? This isn’t a stiff book report you gave in high school. The single biggest thing that will make your book unique is your personality!

Side Note: When I turn my interviews in my podcast into a book, can I edit the interviews?

When citing interviews, it is okay to take out ums, uhs, and other filler words. You can also correct grammar as long as you are not putting words into that person’s mouth. Typically, experts want to look smart and don’t mind you making them look professional. If in doubt, contact your interviewee and ask for their approval of the edited quote.

Once your first draft is done, it’s time to bring in a content editor. These professionals help hone your manuscript and craft your message. They also are very good at spotting leaps of logic, structure and organization issues, and places where your “voice” has changed. Content editors are always an invaluable part of your publishing team but they are even more important when you’re pulling together a variety of content. If you’re wondering what they cost, you can get our free Book Publishing on a Budget Guide.

5. Hire Professionals to Polish and Prep Your Book to Publish

You likely don’t have time to run a podcast and figure out the intricacies of ISBN numbers and copyright filings. It’s also a lot of work to find, screen and select editors, layout designers and cover creators. Most people who try to do it all end up taking twice as long to bring their book to market and end up publishing a half-baked effort- if they ever hit “publish” at all.

Bring in the professionals to give your book the presentation it deserves. The pros will make sure your book looks its best and is something you are proud to have your name on. Of course, this is what we specialize in at Book Launchers … we have the team to take your book through the phases of self-publishing and can even help oversee your launch. If you want to hire editors on your own and run a design contest to get a great book cover, there are videos on JulieBroad.tv that will help.

No matter what, you really need to invest in professional support when it comes to editing, layout and cover design. Imagine you met Arianna Huffington, Tony Robbins or James Altucher at an event and they asked for a copy of your book. Will you feel proud to give them your book if you didn’t invest in making it the best product possible?

Skipping on professional services to polish your book is not the place to save money. Honor your brand and set your book up for success and bring in the professionals to polish and publish your book.

6. Launch Your Book … and Enjoy a New Revenue Stream

“How do you plan on marketing?” was eventually how I answered the “author” of the podcast interview book. I don’t think he was fooled by my Ask-a-Question-to Avoid-a-Question tactic, but it was the best I could come up with. The author planned on sending the book out via social media and promote it via their YouTube channel– a plan that was doomed for failure, then and now (see Why Social Media Won’t Sell Your Book for more information).

Obviously, you’ll promote your book on your podcast, but where else can you connect with your ideal readers?

Create a plan to sell your book. Start connecting with other podcasters, bloggers and potential book reviewers to begin lining up your launch promotions. Offer free copies to book reviewers. Give the experts you interviewed social media snippets, quotes and images to use to promote their involvement in the project. Turn your allies into your sales force! Give them reasons to be proud for being included in the book. Throw a launch party. Line up speaking gigs around your area to share your the big idea (that through line you created for your book). There are a lot of things you can do to launch your book … and promote it every month going forward.

Start checking items off the list. When the royalties start coming in, you’ll know the effort was worth it! And, soon you’ll find that you have new podcast listeners that have found you from your book.

 

Written by Jaqueline Kyle, Client Care Specialist, Book Launchers

How to Write a Book You’re Proud Of – Even on a Budget

In December 2016, the Huffington Post published an article titled ‘Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word?‘. The title sounds like click bait, but it wasn’t. The author loathes the idea that you – yes you! – can write a book, publish it, and have it for sale beside one of her traditionally published books. She says:

The problem with self-publishing is that it requires zero gatekeepers. From what I’ve seen of it, self-publishing is an insult to the written word, the craft of writing, and the tradition of literature.

She goes on to explain that every self-published book she’s ever read is trash and is only similar to a traditionally published book in that it has “words on pages inside a cover”.

The article went viral in the publishing communities – with most people being horrified, angry and disgusted at her archaic view. New York Times Bestselling authors who launched their careers by self-publishing shot her down quickly. Realizing she’d clearly made a huge mistake, she posted a sincere and pleading apology on her Facebook page and indicated that she’d asked the Huffington Post to take it down. Instead of removing it altogether, they allowed her to make a significant update to the original piece.

The new toned down piece is more neutral – calling for more controls over what can be published. She still says, “It shouldn’t be something that you can take up as a hobby one afternoon and a month later, key in your credit card number to CreateSpace or Kindle Direct Publishing before sitting back waiting for a stack of books to arrive at your door.

But, is Laurie Gough, the author of the article, wrong about self-publishing?

She was wrong to paint all self-published books with the same brush – and she realizes this now. But, she wasn’t wrong in her assessment of many of the books that are self-published.

I’ve bought a lot of self-published books – even highly rated and well reviewed books – from Amazon. Sometimes I’m stunned at the poor quality. One book, on writing and marketing a book, lacked all the elements of an actual book. It did not have a copyright page, a bio or a table of contents. It was not professionally edited, it looked like it was typed on a basic word processor, and the cover was a stock photo with some text.

I was pretty disappointed with the book even though the content wasn’t too bad.

Today, you can write and publish a book without money, experience or anything to say. You can even get it to Amazon Bestseller Status without having any content in the book! Brent Underwood did it with his fake book, Putting My Foot Down.

You don’t have to spend much money at all to publish a book. There are so many free resources out there. With minimal effort and expense you can be selling your book on Amazon.

Just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you should.

Do you want people to type your name into Google or Amazon and find out that you published something barely worthy of recycling?

My name is my most important asset and I want it associated with things I am proud of – especially published works! You probably should too.

How to Write a Book You’re Proud Of – Even on a Budget

First – start with the end in mind.

Why are you writing a book?

The first step to writing a book is to ask yourself why. There are a lot of very good reasons to write, publish, and promote a book, but knowing what your primary goal is before you set your budget is important.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you writing this book primarily to get the status of Best Selling Author?
  • Are you hoping to reach new potential clients?
  • Will you use the book to sell your product or service?
  • Do you have an important message to get out into the world?
  • Is it important that your book generate revenue directly (from book sales)?

You probably want to achieve all of the above, but you need to know what is most important. That will help you prioritize and make decisions.

When you know the answers, your budget choices come down to this question:

Do I spend money, or do I spend time?

Some stages of self-publishing require you to invest both time and money.

Often, however, you can choose to ‘do it yourself’ to save money, or you can hire help to save time. There’s always a price to pay – but when you understand the costs and choices involved you can better plan your budget.

Please note – unless you are publishing a very small book (less than 100 pages) you should be prepared to invest at least $3,000 into your book project to create a high quality product.

In most cases, you can expect to invest at least $5,000.

To create a high quality product, you will have to invest some money in hiring professionals to ensure it’s the best possible product you can produce. When you do that, you’ll find that it’s also far more likely to grow your business, build your brand, and establish your status as an industry expert.

Just remember:

There’s publishing a book on a budget … and there’s doing it for cheap.

How to write a book … the Book Launchers way! We break it up into 5 Phases that take you from Concept to Copies in Readers’ Hands:

1 – Pen to Paper: Writing Your Book

2 – Process

3 – Publish

4 – Platform

5 – Promote

If you want a complete guide to help you estimate the costs and plan your book publishing project on a budget, you can download this workbook:
Click Here to Get Your Workbook
It’s free.

Phase 1, writing your book, will be the focus of the rest of this article. We’ll cover Phase 2 and 3 in our next post. What you choose to spend on Phase 4 and 5 is really subjective. Editing, layout and design are required to create a book you’re proud of.  An author platform, PR, and other promotions are really dependent on your goals, the subject of your book and your resources.

To give your book the best chance of success, you should do some research before you start writing.

Consider:

  • Who will be buying your book? This is two parts – who is your ideal reader, and who is already reading books like the one you’ll write?
  • What books will you be competing with? This requires you to research the categories your book is most likely to fit in, and read some of the books that are tops in those categories. Then, you want to understand how you’re different and what need your book will fill that isn’t being filled right now.
  • How will you market your book? Do you have a strong author platform to promote your book to right now, or will you be relying on other sources? What book is most likely to appeal to the people in your current platform or in the other sources you are connected with?

Starting with a plan for marketing, the final product sets the entire book up for a greater chance of success. Doing this first also ensures that the material you write has a unique angle that will stand out to hungry readers.

With a strong foundation in place, you’re now ready to create a book outline.

If you have never written a book before, you may want to find someone who can help with this step. A writing coach or someone who has experience writing books. Or, perhaps, you’ll want to do some reading about what makes a great book outline. Reading a lot of books in your niche will also help you get familiar with outlines and formats. Then, you set aside the time to write a bit every day until you get your first draft complete.

BUT …

What if you don’t like to write?

Or, what if you’re not a good writer?

Or, you just can’t find the time?

How to Write a Book without Writing:

There are a lot of good reasons to write your book yourself.

Writing your book ensures that it’s your voice coming through the pages. Readers (future potential clients, business partners, and contacts) get to know you, trust you, and want to work with you when it’s your voice. And it helps you solidify your concepts, collect important business stories, and improve how you explain what you do. This is all useful in business. It also makes you a more interesting guest for media, podcasts and conferences.

However, you don’t have to write your book to become a published author. You can dictate your book and then work closely with editors to refine the work, or you can hire someone to write your book for you (a ghostwriter).

How to Dictate Your Book:

Once you have an outline of what will be in your book, it should be fairly easy for you to then record yourself talking about each chapter.

Imagine you’re explaining each section to your friend or a client. Record your voice using Voice Note on your iPhone, Garage Band on your Mac or Sound Recorder on a PC (or any other way you have to record an MP3 or audio file). You can then send those files to a low cost but high quality transcription service like Rev.com.

Once transcribed, read through it, fill in some gaps, and then hire a content editor. A great content editor will ensure that the material is coherent, complete, and communicates your message in an engaging manner. You’ll spend more on editing this way, but you could save a lot of time and pain if you’re really not into writing.

The cost of transcription will vary depending on the minutes of content created. Editing costs depend on how much work is required to refine the material. But, this is an option many time crunched authors are turning to. It’s often easier to talk for 30 minutes than it is to sit down and focus on writing for the same time.

Hire a Ghostwriter

Alternatively, you may wish to hire a ghostwriter to do all the heavy lifting for you. A great ghostwriter will write your book for you. To do that, they will conduct research, interview experts, and spend a lot of time interviewing you. They need to know you and your material so well they can write as though they are you.

This costs money!

A good ghostwriter is expensive (typically more than $10,000 for a standard sized non-fiction book). You’re not likely to hire a high quality one on Fiverr. You’ll need to get referrals and check references to make sure you’ve got one you’ll be happy with.

And, for many non-fiction authors, it’s a great option to get a book done.

There’s a great article on the process and costs  over at Jane Friedman’s website. There’s also a chapter on it in my book, The New Brand You (yes, that was a shameless plug!).

Writing your book will cost you time and money no matter how you choose to approach it. Writing it yourself will cost a lot more time and much less money, but hiring someone to help you will cost a lot more money and still take some time. It’s your choice.

Here’s some rough estimates of what you can spend, and how long it can take:

 

Item Cost Range Estimated Cost for a 200 Page Book Time to Complete
Research Book Category, Title, & Competition* $200-$800 $300 1 month
Writing the draft manuscript on your own 0 0 3 – 12 months
Writing Coach for outline support* $250-500 $300 1 week
Writing Coach for Accountability and Manuscript Creation* $500 – 3,000 $1,500 3 – 6 months
Transcription Service $1/minute $500 3 days
Content Editor for Transcribed Material* $30 – $60/hr. (can complete roughly 2-3 pages per hour) $3,000 3-6 weeks
Ghostwriter Wide Range Depending on Quality and Scope of Work. $5,000 and up $7,500 3-6 months

 

*Your Book Launchers membership includes some or all of these services (check your membership level to confirm what’s included).

If you’re investing time and money in writing a book, no matter what your budget, make it something you’re proud of. Know your strengths and your weaknesses. Make sure you have the right support to keep you moving forward. Most people need accountability and guidance. Many people start a book and never finish.

It can be a long journey if you do it alone. Plan to bring on some support in the form of an accountability partner, a writing coach or join a mastermind group for support.

If you want a guide to estimate the costs of entire process, grab the Self-Publishing on a Budget Workbook:

Print vs Digital – Do You Need to Publish Your Book in Both?

When I went to publish my first book, I never asked myself the question of print vs digital. I knew that I wanted my book to be published in a physical form.

Without holding my book in my hands, signing copies, and seeing it on book shelves, I would never feel like an author. 

That’s me, though.

Your goal may be to publish at the lowest possible cost or, to make the most money on every copy of your book sold. Because of that, you may be thinking that a digital only version of your book is best. But, is that really the case?

Print vs Digital? Or, do you need both?

The answer is, it depends.

Whether you go print vs digital, or do both, depends on your niche, your goals and your target market. And, to a smaller extent, your budget may play a factor in the decision.

If you write fiction, you may not need a physical book.

If you’re in the romance genre specifically, digital is going to reach a huge portion of the market. For a great break down of the numbers on this check out Author Earnings presentation at Digital Book World 2017.

If you’re a non-fiction author the print vs digital decision is simple.

You should have both print and digital formats for your book. 

Print vs DigitalLooking at three years of sales data (June 2013 – June 2016) for my first book, More than Cashflow, 14% of my retail sales were from the digital format.

If you add in the 1,500 copies of my book sold at the back of event rooms and as part of speaking packages, the percentage of books I sold in digital format was even smaller.

More importantly, a digital only format would have limited my ability to use the book for a lot of marketing. Without a physical copy, I wouldn’t have been able to partner with Canadian Real Estate Wealth Magazine to do a big promotional campaign. They wanted physical books to give away to new magazine subscribers. If my book was only in a digital format, real estate clubs across Canada wouldn’t have bought my books for author signings when I came to town.

Now, that’s just a couple of marketing methods that worked really well for me. What about you, and your goals? Maybe you aren’t considering selling your book with those kind of promotions, where does the print vs digital decision land for you. Here’s my thoughts …

Print vs Digital: 5 Reasons To Publish in Both When You’re a Non-Fiction Author:

  1. Costs Aren’t Much Higher When You Look at Print Vs Digital. Most of the costs you’ll incur as a publisher are going to be incurred no matter what.If you’re producing a high quality product, you’re hiring an editor (or maybe a few different editors), a layout designer and someone to create a compelling cover design no matter what version of your book you are doing. (If you’re wondering what each element might cost – download our Book Publishing on a Budget Workbook).

    You’ll spend a little extra to have your book formatted to suit digital as well as print formats but many  layout designers will include it in a design package.

    For my first book I paid an extra $500 to have it laid out for digital. Three years later, for my second book, that formatting was included in the layout charge. When I hired a cover designer one price included digital and print covers, as well as thumbnail and 3-D versions of the cover.

    And, the days of having to pay for a big print run to get copies of your book are gone. CreateSpace and Lightning Source’s Ingram Spark really support the indie author with print on demand solutions. You, and your distribution network, can order books as needed, one at a time.

    For roughly less than $7 USD you can get a copy of your book printed. This blog post breaks down costs for a 202 page paperback. There are no minimum orders and you don’t have to mess around with taking orders or shipping.

    So, really, except for the fact that you’ll incur costs to buy and ship copies to give away for marketing purposes, the costs involved with printing a book minimally more than that of creating a digital copy.

  2. The Sales Happen in Print: 70% of Non-Fiction Books Sold are in Print. Author Earnings studied print and digital sales, and found that non-fiction authors should pay close attention to print. 72% of books sales are happening online, but non-fiction readers are still buying print.
  3. Print Books Have a Long Marketing Life. Very few people will throw a book out (unless you don’t create a high quality book… another reason to produce a book that is comparable to a traditional publishing house). When your client gets your book, it usually sits on their desk or shelf for awhile. Other people will see it. Your client will be reminded of you. It may even get people talking about you. When they are done with the book, they will probably give it away rather than throw it out – so now you get to reach new people your business card or pamphlet never would have reached. A digital book doesn’t get any of this marketing juice.
  4. Your Marketing Opportunities Are Endless. You can use your digital book as a free give away when you speak, or as an opt-in gift online.

    If you’re a speaker, many organizations will pay you to speak and buy a copy of your book for every person in the audience. I had a lot of real estate clubs who would buy a case of my books when I was in town. They would promote my presence at their events to draw people to their event and offer a certain number of signed books as an incentive to get there early. Or, they would sell the books at the back of the room.

    I also used my books to generate revenue at events that I spoke at. If I sold my book for $25 I would make about $15 a book. At a larger event, that allowed me to pocket another $600.

    Digital books can be given away as part of other author’s promotions too. This is a high value give away to the author and potentially great exposure for you, with no out of pocket expenses.

    As a non-fiction author, you’re probably writing the book to share your message, help people solve a problem and make more money for yourself, right? That means the more marketing juice you can squeeze out of your book, the better you’ll do. Because of this, print vs digital isn’t really a question in my mind.

  5. Book Events are Weird without …. BOOKS! Try getting your local library to host a book event for you if you only have digital books. You have nothing to sign! Book stores won’t carry your book on it’s shelf in digital format.

    My two favourite moments as an author were seeing my book on the shelves of Chapters Indigo in Canada, and signing books after speaking at a major event.Plus, for events, an e-book just doesn’t have the same perceived value as a physical book. And, nobody is ever going to carry your e-book around waiting for you to sign it!

Ultimately, given the data and the market, the REAL consideration is:
First, what type of book are you writing? Fiction or Non-Fiction

Second, and most importantly:
What is YOUR GOAL for your book?

But, here’s one last thought to consider. It’s even more difficult to stand out if you JUST do an e-book.

There are over 4 million titles today in the Kindle Store on Amazon. This is from the New York Times in late 2015 … so those numbers are even higher today.

Your single biggest issue when you write and publish a book is:

How can I get my ideal readers to find my book?

How do you stand out?

When you focus on e-book sales you face a lot more competition. And, your competition prices their book anywhere from FREE to $19.99.

So … it is a tough battle ahead if your goal is sales volume and you go e-book only.

Every option has trade offs … but let me ask you this:

Are you REALLY going to miss out holding your book in your hands?

I don’t think I would have felt like a true published author without an actual copy of my physical book in my hands.

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And … if you enjoyed this, here’s something else you might like.

Wondering how to hire an editor. Here’s a video I created to help you: