Writing a book is good.
Publishing it gives much satisfaction.
But seeing it positioned as a bestseller is what you should really be aiming for to get even more results with your online business.
There are so many reasons why writing a book is good for your business (even offline!), and in this guide I want to explain how to turn publishing a text into a real web marketing strategy, capable of making your brand stand out and monetize it, so that your revenue does not depend solely and exclusively on selling your book.
Why it is important to write a book
Writing a book, and of course publishing it, immediately positions you among all those who have some knowledge or experience in the specific field and on the topic the book is about.
In the eyes of your current and near audience, you will be seen as the authoritative expert capable of communicating effectively to a wide readership, and able, above all, to accurately illustrate the topics you cover.
Writing a book is like spilling the beans about what you know and is probably the highest-and widest-form of content sharing you will ever accomplish.
There are no Youtube channels or Facebook pages that can supplant the power, quality and knowledge contained in a well-written book on a specific topic.
I write a lot, on the blog and in other media, have published several books all bestsellers (link) and have helped many people publish their successful book. Unlike what I do and am used to doing, some of the works I have personally followed, are novels, but my specialty still remains essays and manuals.
Some examples are novels such as Francesco Gradozzi's "The Penalist," while others are essays such as Giorgia Sottana and Gabriele Bani's "Io Sono - The Journey of Giorgia Sottana," and again books on LinkedIn by Valentina Vandilli.
Over time, my expertise on the subject expanded, eventually leading me to comparisons with many experts in the field and eventually to founding my own publishing house that relies solely on online distribution or through digital platforms, and adopts web marketing strategies for launching the title on the market to achieve the greatest possible effect.
When the book "SEO is Dead" was announced, it caused a lot of buzz just by its cover and title alone. With a well-thought-out pre-launch strategy, nearly 2,000 copies were sold before the text was even completed and collected data from all buyers through a marketing funnel that generated an important return.
To date, several years after its release, it is still one of the best-selling books on Amazon in the Internet and Business category.
An interesting case history. Francesco Gradozzi's legal thriller, launched in self-publishing, became a bestseller and was discovered by Fanucci Editore, which wanted it in its catalog, re-establishing it at the top of the charts both as a text (eBook and printed book) and as an audiobook, receiving high reviews from readers.
What book to write
The first consideration is: what book do you want to write and why?
We can divide the types of books into two: fiction and nonfiction.
By fiction we mean all short stories, novels, novellas, and any kind of text based on characters, a narrative plot, and a storyline.
For non-fiction. everything else: manuals, essays, dissertations, handouts, guidebooks. In short, anything that has an educational or popular character, and no connection with fictional stories or fictional characters.
If you decide to write a book, you will first need to understand why you are doing it, and once you have clarified that, you will be clearer about the path forward in terms of making it, launching it, and what perhaps matters most: monetization.
The motivations can be varied; I, for example, wrote my books because I wanted to make my expertise known to a wide audience and over an extended period of time. This applies to the first two titles I wrote a few years ago, "Selling Online at Zero Cost" and "Facebook Marketing at Zero Cost."
These two titles, which are still big sellers on Amazon today, allowed me to become known to thousands of people who consequently sought me out, contacted me, and some became my clients.
Quite another story, however, for my best-known book in the industry *"SEO is Dead "*, which had a deliberately provocative title-it raised a real hornet's nest in the SEO and web marketing community-had a more specific and direct motivation to acquire customers and leads.
As you can see you may be driven by various reasons, however, let's get some clarity and summarize them here:
You want to define your brand and clearly position yourself within a niche or market. From your book, the reader will understand exactly who you are and chase away any doubts about what your specific skills are.
You want to be recognized as one of the leading experts in the field, and you want to create a work that leaves its mark, that charts a course. In this case, aiming to be a bestselling author and receive major recognition from your audience will be key.
When your book is the medium by which you want to introduce yourself to your potential customers, even cold. This means that you always have a couple of copies with you and give it out for free whenever you meet someone interesting enough to your business to deserve a free copy.
I personally find it a bit weak as a strategy, but for some people maybe it fits....
Dominating the niche or filling gaps
Your goal is to be the only or most unwieldy author on a given topic when someone searches for that specific topic on which you have written.
For example, my friend Claudio Delaini, who works in the extremely vertical field of occupational safety in factories, has published dozens and dozens of books in less than 2 years, ranking authoritatively and massively on all marketplaces (especially Amazon), for certain search terms.
You want to use the book as a key to open doors to potential customers, capture leads, make sales. In short, you want to build a marketing funnel for your online or offline business.
I would say the latter is the most important motivation of all if you want to go in positive ROI, but it is also the most difficult to implement: you have to build a path, have the products, and know web marketing tools and strategies well.
I do not consider what some people come to me from time to time to present, to the so-called "personal satisfaction," to be a valid motivation. I clearly do not see what satisfaction there can be in self-publishing a book, since it is something within the reach of anyone.
In contrast, the creation and launch of a successful book are processes that require significant efforts and not inconsiderable time resources, ergo mere personal satisfaction--in my opinion--does not justify setting up such a machine.
How to write a book
There are several techniques that can help you, but to find out how to write a book you definitely have to experiment and find the right balance between the time you have and the focus you can benefit from.
Some methodologies are well known and have always been used by professional writers, I have studied a particularly effective one that combines in itself several strategies and methodologies, seasoned with a good routine and some excellent tools, useful for improving my performance as a writer.
Here is a summary of how to write a book efficiently:
- I create an outline of the structure of the book. First I write down on paper my thoughts about the work, get a rough idea of what I would like to accomplish, driven by *why* I am doing it.
- Market and competitive analysis. Having clarified the topic, it is time to get more specific, so I am going to analyze the market, studying what books have already been published on the subject and how much they are selling.
- Title creation. Based on my research I define the title that will then be the leitmotif of the entire work. For example, when I decided to write "SEO is Dead," I knew I would write a collection of alternative strategies to the usual SEO practices.
- Final structure. Now that I am clear about the market, the title, and what I want to achieve, I pick up the book structure I just sketched out and complete it.
- WRITING. To do this I put in the effort, devoting time (a little at a time) but with a lot of dedication and focus. For this I adopt the tomato technique, that is, I write during short sessions of 15-45 minutes, interspersed with rigorous breaks during which I do other things.
Once the writing is finished, we move on to what we might call the post-production of a book: COVER and TEXT REVISION.
For the cover, I can work on it myself (I've always done that for my titles) or make use of some good designers at low prices on Fiverr.
As for revising the text, I prefer to pass everything directly to someone better than me. I tend not to see my mistakes and overestimate the power of my vocabulary 🙂 🙂
Now our book is ready!
The publishing part is the easiest, for example, with Amazon KDP it is enough to upload the text and cover files to get in a very short time (we are talking hours), the final OK for publication on Kindle eBook and paperback.
Before publishing, however, we need to decide one very important thing.
The structure of a book.
Every book has a structure, whether it is a novel, an instruction manual, or an essay, and structure is crucial if you really want to understand how to write a book quickly and without stopping.
I always proceed this way, thanks to this list, checking off each item individually, in order of priority:
- Main topic: establish the theme around which the book revolves.
- Transformation: I decide what the purpose of the book is and what transformation it brings to my reader, in terms of benefits and pluses.
- Chapters: I divide the whole topic into macro chapters, in a summary way (then we will see how to make everything more precise and timely).
At this point I organize the entire volume into 4 parts:
- Introduction: where I present the problem and illustrate my solution in a brief but convincing way.
- Chapters with all my explanations.
- Conclusion: where I draw conclusions and invite the reader to take action (or do whatever else benefits them).
- Appendices: in this section I report all that useful information, such as biography, links, or other content that for reasons of unfolding or time, I had not reported in the chapters.
Thanks to this simple outline, I defined the entire structure of a book.
Now let's move on to the content and. you won't believe it but I follow the same pattern, chapter by chapter, only this time the structure of the book will be:
- Introduction to the chapter.
- Paragraphs with headings for each section of the chapter.
- Conclusions and call to action.
- Useful resources.
As you see the structure of a book is repeated in the structure of each chapter.
A good technique, if you are short on ideas, is to use storytelling and introduce each chapter with a short story.
How to start a story.
To figure out how to start a story you must-obviously-have something to tell. This sounds like a silly statement but it is not, and this step may cause you quite a few headaches because perhaps in your experience there are no stories to share on this topic.
No problem: online search.
For example, if the chapter you are starting is about "pizza toppings," you might begin your story with the story of the Pizza Regina Margherita.
Go to Wikipedia and draw from there.
But why use a short story?
A short story helps the reader in reading, making it more enjoyable, but more importantly making the lessons that follow memorable.
If you notice most of the things you learned are related to stories, episodes or experiences.
Do it and you will see that you will benefit.
What is different is if you are trying to write a novel.
Although I specialize in nonfiction writing, I also have some experience in novels and fiction literature, and I have helped several authors on their path true the bestseller list.
Whatever the time, action, or story, every novel always finds a protagonist and an antagonist, whether they are people, happenings, or elements (such as nature, a virus, an object).
In any case, the technique that has always worked and thrilled every reader is the one related to the hero's journey.
The best novel argument follows this pattern:
- We have a hero (explicit or accidentally born) who lives in a state of stillness.
- Something happens that upsets him or brings him into an uncomfortable situation.
- This situation knocks him down and apparently defeats him.
- The hero does not lose heart and devises a way to win.
- He gets up, he fights, he wins.
Trite? Perhaps so, but all successful novels are based on this pattern, from "The Betrothed" to "Harry Potter."
Let's take a comparative example:
- Renzo wants to marry Lucia / Harry is invited to the wizarding school
- Don Rodrigo prevents the wedding / Harry faces an enemy stronger than himself
- Renzo flees to Milan during the plague and is lost / Harry cannot understand what is happening and does not know how to unravel the secrets around him
- Renzo returns and confronts his antagonist also with the help of other characters / Harry with the help of other characters confronts the enemy
- Renzo reacts, fights back and eventually marries Lucia / Harry reacts, finds courage, uncovers secrets and defeats the enemy
If you want to do this exercise too, with any novel, you will see that the pattern is always this.
How to launch your bestseller
If you have followed me this far you will have realized that all in all it is not so much the "how to write a book" and publish it. It is definitely something time-consuming, but at the end of the day it is an activity within anyone's reach.
What really matters when we want to understand how to write a book, whether it's for your brand positioning or monetization of a marketing funnel, is knowing and implementing an effective launch strategy.
There are several ways to launch a book, and like any self-respecting launch, there are three distinct phases, let's look at them together.
- Pre-launch. It goes from the time you give the world notice of your intention to write a book, to the time you are about to make it available. This stage is crucial to the success of your book, and this is when you will gather most of your future readers.
Needless to say, advertising, intense activity on social media, on your blog and in general on any of your communication channels will be your main occupations during this period.
- Launch. When you have enough of an audience to get involved in your launch, it's time to get the title out and make it available but ... I would add something more if I were you, particularly if you're not yet as established and well-known in your industry. Something that will appeal to your readers.
Some examples: a series of in-depth videos, extra data sheets, an audio version of the book, a classroom course, an invitation to an event...
You can really indulge yourself and come up with the right combination of PRODUCT + BONUS that can attract attention and make a difference in your market, achieving in one fell swoop as many as three benefits: selling more, capturing your buyers' contact details, and distinguishing yourself from your competitors (who surely did none of these things).
- Monetization. I hope for your sake that you don't want to think about getting rich by selling a book, unless it's the next Harry Potter, I see that as pretty tough...my advice is to create a marketing funnel that offers something else to your reader.
It can be an immediate funnel to the sale, that is, with an offer proposed to your customer as soon as he or she has purchased the book-in jargon they are called UPSELL or ONE TIME OFFER-or you might be thinking of proposing something irresistible from there shortly.
Now that you have the contact information-at least the e-mail-of your reader, you can put it into a sequence in your autoresponder and try to convert it to new offers.
Be sure to make sure that what you are going to offer is somehow related to the topics of the book he purchased. Let me clarify, if you sell a book that explains how to create fantastic homemade cakes, it won't make much sense to present him with a yoga class. Clear?
Bestseller to Longseller
As for me, I have always thought of my books as bricks that will one day help build my castle.
The idea of bestselling author is something that came later and happened more or less in the right place and at the right time.
It certainly wouldn't have hurt to have a publisher willing to bust his ass to sell my books and help me stay visible at all times, but it wasn't something I pursued or tried very hard to do, instead I preferred to go the self-publishing route and it took years to build a solid following of followers and to prove that I had something of value to say, as well as a lot of feedback from readers of my habitually free content (such as newsletters and blogs) over time, before I even found myself on traditional bestseller lists such as Amazon's.
Wanting to schematize the strategy for going from bestseller to longseller, I suggest moving like this:
1. One way to get on the bestseller list is to write a book that people want to read.
It may seem obvious trite, but authors often push themselves into uncomfortable or ambitious terrain, following only their own instincts, and without having listened to the audience or done the least bit of market analysis. Do you remember the time when Dan Brown came out with "The Da Vinci Code"? Within a few months, bookstores were flooded with books about the Templars, the Holy Grail, Freemasonry--in short, trendy topics that sold like crazy.
Now I'm not saying you have to follow fads, but since you're not Dan Brown, and launching a new trend is really really hard without the backing of a multimillion-dollar marketing structure, I'd say it's a case of giving strong consideration to what the public is looking for and wants. Really.
2. Another way, often overlooked, is to make sure your book stays on the list long enough.
This, too, seems to be trivial advice, but in fact it is not. Most authors, and all publishers, do nothing more than pitch one title and then move on to the next.
Independent author, in self-publishing, is the master of its own business, its own title, its own sales and especially its own marketing.
So why give up when the launch period is over?
Why not pursue campaigns, perhaps low-cost but ongoing, to bring a steady stream of sales to one's book?
If you think about it with 10 Euros a day you could bring 2 to 5 sales a day to your title on Amazon.
Does it seem little?
First of all, you would not be making a loss, but you would have a small gain.
Also, what you don't consider are that:
1) other authors do not apply this continuous advertising strategy;
2) a minimum of 2 sales per day is over 700 sales per year.
That in the rookie situation you're in now, that's ... 700 more sales than ZERO
Therefore, I want to reiterate the concept.
Anyone can get on the bestseller list for a few hours or days, but to be a true bestseller, you have to sell your title repeatedly over time and turn it into what are called longsellers.
This might be more difficult in the fiction category, where news, excitement, and fads can heavily influence the market, but not for nonfiction books where the quality of the information contained should endure over time and withstand new releases from other first-time authors.
How to write a book: conclusions
There are many paths to take, and figuring out how to write a book often requires you to come to terms with your know-how and the time you have, not to mention everything you need to know to become a bestselling author and keep your writing on the charts.
One tip above all is the continuous relationship and interweaving of relationships with your audience: both paying and potential.
One of the tips I feel like giving you is to try to build and maintain a community of FANs and admirers, to whom you can distribute new content, give insights into your own business, and offer new insights or thoughts.
A good place to start is always to create a consistently updated blog and a mailing list to write to at least once a week.
The feedback you receive from your followers and readers will surely also give you great insights into both content and style, distribution methods and launch strategies. Sometimes the best way to find out how to write a book is to listen to your audience.
If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is that readers do not want to be abandoned by their favorite (professional) writer.
To learn more about how to write a book, contact our team of experts today.
Let us build you an effective marketing plan that will help your publishing business grow and prosper.
We are ready to help you in this great opportunity to bring your story, your knowledge, your experience to the pages of hundreds of ebook readers, to the shelves of Amazon and bookstores.
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Start Me Hub Ltd. | Valerio.it®
Valerio Fioretti is the web marketing specialist for small and medium-sized enterprises. Bestselling author, speaker, consultant, trainer and business coach.
Start Me Hub Ltd. is a registered publishing house.