by Ivy Rutledge
We all know that the publishing landscape has changed drastically over the last few decades. Have you considered the ways these changes can work for your business promotion?
The revolution in the publishing world means that anyone can publish. Business owners can tap into this zeitgeist and create an additional revenue stream while boosting their existing revenue streams. According to the Association of American Publishers, e-books have seen steady growth over the last year, and sales of downloaded audio products are growing even faster.
What does this mean for you? If your business deals in chunks of information that your customers need, consider writing a book or creating and selling digital products. Subscription services are enjoying skyrocketing popularity, and if you’ve got the original content to offer, your business could ride this wave.
The key to deciding whether to independently publish a book is to ask yourself these questions:
- Will this book add value to my existing products and services?
- Is there an existing, unmet demand for this information?
- Do I have the budget to invest in a publishing project?
- Am I willing to outsource parts of the project to professionals (i.e., ghost writers, editors, audio engineers)?
- Do I have original, valuable content? (Beware the sales pitch masquerading as useful content!)
What kinds of businesses should consider self-publishing?
1. Businesses that offer services to a niche client base. Examples of businesses in this category are small business coaches, personal organizers, and writers.
Does your company have popular speakers who are frequently booked for luncheons, conferences, and fundraisers? Tap into their popularity with digital audio downloads or a regular podcast. Write a book containing their most popular topics. Not only will these products stand alone as a revenue stream, but they will also promote your speaking schedule.
2. Businesses whose staff has specialized knowledge that existing customers want but seek elsewhere. Examples of businesses in this category are interior designers, lawyers, and photographers.
In this case, you’ve got a ready audience for your book. Create a guide to your specialty area, or write a book that targets a niche market. Offer the book as a supplement to the services you offer, or sell it alongside the product that occupies your main focus area. A podcast offering lessons would do well also.
3. Businesses that offer training seminars and workshops. Examples of businesses in this category are financial planners, college consultants, wellness experts, and corporate trainers.
This type of business is ripe for specialized handbooks and training manuals. Does your staff offer unique training? Write a workbook that other companies would be interested in using. Tap into the need for your services with a product that offers potential customers the flexibility to learn on their own schedule.
[pullquote]Create a guide to your specialty area, or write a book that targets a niche market as a supplement to your services.[/pullquote]
Here Are Your Business Promotion Options:
Podcasts are the modern equivalent of the weekly radio show. Producers of podcasts develop a series of episodes — usually 30 minutes — that are available for customers to download. Audio files are created and stored in the mp3 format, then released sequentially to a website using an RSS feed. Typically sold as subscriptions, podcasts are hot right now, and your business can benefit by tapping this audience and offering valuable content.
E-books are book-length digital files. With the rapid development of the indie publishing industry, you should find an experienced guide to help you navigate what can feel like the Wild West. Jane Friedman is a noted expert in the field, so begin with her website which is full of resources. In particular, her infographic “The Key Book Publishing Paths” is an excellent overview of your publishing options with advice for what to avoid.
Over 85 thousand titles were published in 2013 through self-publishing companies. Be aware, though, that production and distribution should be the final steps of a careful, thorough process. Do not rush through to the end; it will show in the final product! Be sure to avoid this list of mistakes by hiring the right professionals to assist with your project. Publishers Global offers this list of self-publishing companies as a starting point.
Print Books can be a bigger investment than e-books, and they require a different distribution channel. You will need to decide whether to invest in a print run of quantity of books or whether to utilize print-on-demand services, which only print copies of your book as they are ordered. This overview from Writer’s Digest may help sort out your options.
Digital Files (audio files, PDFs) are a simple, low-cost way to dip into the publishing waters. Single files can be sold on your website as downloads. Many services offer tools for selling digital files. If your website is built with WordPress, then plug-ins can simplify the process of selling downloads.
Whichever option you choose, be sure to do your homework and only engage with reputable businesses. With so many would-be authors passing through the publishing channels, self-publishing companies are seeing green and would love to sell you their services. If you’ve done your research, then you should be able to forge a plan that is appropriate for your own business goals and hire the right professionals for the job.
About Ivy Rutledge
Originally from Rhode Island, Ivy Rutledge lives in the Piedmont of North Carolina. She works as a freelance writer and editor, and she teaches workshops on commonplace books, creative writing, and nature journaling. Her writing has appeared in The Sun, Home Education, Mom Egg Review, The New Southerner, and Ruminate. Read more at IvyRutledge.com.