I went for lunch with a best-selling author this week. I took him to Malmaison in Oxford (a former prison, but now a very swish 5 star establishment).
The author has sold over 50 thousand books and is one of the leading experts in his field. He’s published 3 books with a major publisher.
He’s at the pinnacle of his literary career. So hey, he should be rolling in it. Right?
But you know what? In his own words, he’s made “chicken feed” from his books and he’s still stuck in a job he’d rather not be in.
His work leaves little or no time for his true passion, writing.
“I’m coming up to retirement,” he said. “But I’ve yet to make any real money from my books.”
50 thousand books… that’s 50 thousand readers!
But like so many authors, he has NO idea who these readers are! He has no names or addresses. No means of contacting them.So the power rests in the hands of his publishers who dictate what his publishing advance and royalties will be – which is not a lot.
So here’s the advice I gave this author: start collecting names and addresses and building a list of your readers. Start a free newsletter for them. Put an opt-in box on your website to collect names and addresses.
If possible, automate the newsletter. Use a service such as getresponse.com or aweber.com, so that you can send out emails to your subscribers at the touch of a button.
I know I keep banging on about this, but having your own database or list of readers is an absolute MUST if you’re ever going to make money as an author.
The first sale of a book is always going to be the hardest. The second – to a converted ‘fan’ – is so much easier.
Millionaire authors know that ‘the money is in the list’. They never waste an opportunity to promote themselves or build their relationship with their readers by writing blogs, newsletters or ezines.
This means they collect names and addresses when they give talks or lectures. When they give radio or TV interviews, they use it as an excuse to mention their websites. They use the spare pages at the back of their books to advertise their ezines.
The big money is rarely in book sales. It’s in higher-priced products and services that are linked to the book.
Know who your readers are… Get to know them, understand them, build a relationship with them.
The majority of authors don’t know who their readers are… don’t make the same mistake.