How to Self-Publish Your Own Books as a Business Model

Let me just be honest with you. This post is going to REALLY get into self-publishing your own book. Like really really. There are so many misconceptions about how difficult publishing is in general, let alone self-publishing.

But before we get started, let me just say that it irks me beyond almost anything else when I see online marketers, experts, and infopreneurs say they can teach you how to make $20K per month online in 3 months or less, or that they’ll tell you how to bring in $100K off of one course. Results will vary, skeazy marketers. P.S. Skeazy means you’re both sketchy and sleazy, bruh. It’s not a good look. Don’t promise people the same results you’ve achieved (or worse . . . only seen someone else achieve).

So, in this post I want to show you a bit of how I’ve set up publishing printed books for a full-time income, and how I honestly think that you, with a solid non-fiction book idea, can earn truly decent income from printed books in a relatively short time.

Why self-publish? Because it’s a legit business model. Let’s explore.

Traditional publishing looks super glamorous. Book tours. National TV appearances. Lovely and large royalty advances. A publisher going crazy over you and catering to your every whim. Nothing to do but turn in a manuscript and all the layout, design, promotion, and sales will be taken care of for you. Ballin’. Money rollin’ on in.

Reality? New authors get small advances, have to do a lot of their own promotion, and won’t likely get tours and crazy publicity opportunities set up for them. Also. The ballin’? Please let me break down advances, royalties, etc. for us.


The realness of profits in self-publishing vs. traditional.


As a new author, if you get a $5,000 royalty advance, you’re doing well. And that’s a beautiful thing, getting $5,000 dollars all at once for your hard work of writing a book. Yay. Money in the bank.

But. That $5,000 is a royalty advance. Meaning you won’t make another cent off of your book until you earn that $5,000 back in your royalties (which are a percentage of the book’s price or your publishing company’s profits).

Let’s take for example a soft cover book that sells for $20. If your publishing company gives you the standard 7.5% royalty (and let’s say they give it to you off of the list price of your book, which some company’s will only give you 7.5% of their profits off of each individual book), then you make approximately $1.50 per book. Though this royalty percentage is somewhat common knowledge in traditional publishing, you can check out by one of my favorite bloggers (former literary agent and current author, Nathan Bransford) for this statistic as well as a few other interesting tidbits.

You’ll have to sell 3,333 copies of your book to pay your publishing company back your advance.
This means you’ll never see another dollar of profit (after your original advance) until your book has sold over 3,000 copies.

So, selling 3,333 copies of your book, earns you $5,000 in the traditional publishing model.

Do you know how much you would have made on those same 3,333 copies of your book through the self-publishing model I teach in Self-Publish Your Book Already (1 of the 10 courses inside my online school, Publish Your Thing)? Assuming you charged the same $20 per copy and had ~170 pages in your book?

$30,000

Because you’ll be making over $9 with each sale.

So, selling 3,000 copies can either get you $5,000 or $30,000–which is enough for me to live off for a year.

That’s why I present self-publishing as a business model. If you want the fame and reach that traditional publishing can possibly get you, that’s completely understandable. But this post is for those of you who want to use self-published printed books (pBooks instead of eBooks) as a business model and way for you to make part or all of your living.

What to Send to Your Email List and How to Create the Wow Factor

If you’re like any business Internet human ever, you’ve probably wondered about what to send to your email list. (Wait, you do have an email list, don’t you?)

Email has a much higher engagement rate than social media and can be easily personalized. So let’s explore what you can send to your email list, how and why to “up your email game” and create wow, the types of things you can send out as free email gifts, encouraging email list signups, building a coming soon page, and more.

Our emails aren’t quick notes we’ve dashed off in Mailchimp, MailerLite, or ConvertKit, we use them strategically to nurture our audience and make them not only want to stay on our list, but to forward those emails to their friends.

What if you received replies to your emails like these? (Actual responses we’ve received, by the way.)

“I just wanted to let you know that I have learned so much from you over the past few years and appreciate all of your clear and no-nonsense teaching. When your emails pop into my box – I immediately open them because I know they’ll be filled with amazing goodness!”

“Thank you for this most excellent email. One of the best I’ve ever read! Full of great information.”

“This is pretty much my favorite email you’ve sent yet.  Well, since I’ve been receiving your emails, I mean. I haven’t seen EVERY email you’ve ever sent in your life, but of the ones I have seen, this is definitely my favorite so far.”

Is our audience the greatest of all time? Yes. Do we work behind the scenes to create the best emails possible for them? Yes. And we want to show you how you can also woo and wow your email list.

5 things you can send to your email list:

  1. Blog to Email Method. This is a basic method where you set up an RSS feed to send your blog posts automatically to your list or even better, to a segmented part of your list that has specifically requested blog post notifications. You can use your email provider’s scheduling features to send it out the next day or at any specified time. But…this definitely shouldn’t be the only thing you send out as you can create much more excitement and value for your audience with these other methods.
  2. Newsletter Method. You can create a weekly, biweekly or monthly newsletter that includes your latest posts/podcast episodes, your favorite resources/books/Ted Talks or a roundup of events happening in your business. While you can of course invite your list to your upcoming online events, masterclasses and workshops, it’s so important to do so in an educational and value added way, rather than a salesy way with fake urgency. We’ll talk more about this below.
  3. Extra Post Method. If blogging is a part of your business, you can create an extra blog post each week (or each month) to provide one additional post to send out exclusively to your email list. Eventually you can incorporate this special content into your site or other content, but at least for a period of time, it should remain exclusive to your email list. #SuperBonus
  4. Expanded Post Method. There are three ways that you can approach the Expanded Post Method. a) Most popular. Look back through your most popular content and create a second part of one of your most popular posts just for your email list. You can expand it by elaborating through a story, an extra case study or a video tutorial. b) Save the end for the email. While you’re writing a post and realize that the content just seems to write itself or it’s going to be a much more thorough post than you expected, you can save some of that content for the email c) Create an epic intro in the email. As with b above, when you’ve created a longer or particularly epic post, you can create an irresistible lead in via email. Make sure that the email itself is always valuable (read: they can still get value from it without having to click through to your blog.)
  5. Opposite Post Method. Send out something via email that’s DIFFERENT than your usual content. If your content is usually practical, provide something inspiring, motivational or personal. If you normally provide uplifting and motivational content, provide pragmatic tutorials or steps to accomplish something. Your audience may appreciate the change up.

Here’s what not to do…send sales emails. If the only time you find yourself sending emails to your list is when you’re selling something, they’ll unsubscribe. So when you write, think to yourself, “How can I help my audience?” not “How can I sell to my audience?”

Bonus tips

  1. Treat your emails like blog posts. They need to be on brand, well planned out, thoughtfully written, and…dare I say it? Epic.
  2. Edit the heck out of your emails. With blog posts, we can go back and edit them (and often do) but with emails, once you hit send, that typo lives out there in Inbox Land forever.
  3. Watch your language! Check your wording for heavy handed salesy or promotional language that may turn off your reader.

Increase your Wow Factor

You can delight and wow your audience by paying attention to little details that improve their experience with you and your brand.

Create custom on brand images for your emails that add to their value. Strong branding may remind them to go check out your blog or website, download that free checklist (that leads them to your online event), or sign up for your masterclass.

If you’re teaching something in the email (and we’re big fans of providing epic instructional content in our emails), relevant images that help your reader quickly visualize your content will help them learn faster, as well as make your emails stand out above the crowd.

Do you have a few more ideas of what you can send to your email list? What can you add to those emails to create your own brand’s wow factor? We’d love to hear!
Photo (c): Aila Images of Stocksy.com

7 Epic Time Investments You Can Make in Your Online Business

Let’s discuss time. You probably don’t feel like you have enough of it, what with running an online business and all. Specifically, let’s talk about ways to invest your time that will have epic effects on your online events, your brand as a whole and the way you do business.

Over the years, we’ve invested in seven areas that have paid off big time. We hope you’ll stick with us as we explain the multiple benefits and applications of each area.

Making these time investments can help any online coach or trainer, freelancer, infopreneur, blogger, or solopreneur . . .


1. Making videos. Even though we all hated being in front of the camera when we first started.

As an introvert with unruly hair, I (Regina) thought it wise to stay off-screen for most of my life. But, with the way the Internet evolves and explodes every single day, I thought it unwise to not try multiple forms of media. Periscope is the video of the day! No wait, it’s now Snapchat. Um…it’s Instagram Stories! Whoa…now it’s Instagram TV!

Whatever the platform du jour is, if you learn to create video, you’ll be able to pivot with the platform. If you run Internet businesses like we do, then the #1 rule for us is:

Once you arrive, don’t stay at your destination too long; you have to set a new course.

In other words, get ready to pivot.

Whatever goal you’re setting right now, once you hit it, celebrate, have a Martin Scorsese marathon, play some Scrabble and drop Z’s and X’s and J’s on your opponent, then set a new course. Even if your new course is taking your current project to the next level. Trying to apply IRL (in real life) speed to an online business is like trying to apply tortoise speed to the hare. Wait. Bad example. The tortoise beat the hare . . . but you get what I mean.

Area #1: Make some videos, yo. All the videos.

Benefits:

  • Videos increase the chances of people on the Internet finding you.
  • They take your brand to the next level of helpfulness.
  • They attract people who are prone to get a little lost in too much text.
  • They allow you to communicate certain things (tutorials, deep thoughts, etc.) more effectively than screenshots or words that don’t come with tones or facial expressions.
  • You can get out your thoughts faster when you speak (on video) than you can in text.
  • Videos allow you to express your personality (and personality quirks…) that help create authentic connections between you and your audience. That’s important in an impersonal world, yo.

Try: Facebook Live, Instagram Stories/Instagram Live/Instagram TV, Zoom recordings, G+ Hangouts On Air, YouTube tutorials, screencasts of your computer screen, recorded presentations, or any other type of video that helps you communicate with your ideal audience.

P.S. >> Tools: I use Camtasia or QuickTime for screen recordings, a DSLR and a lavalier mic for recording myself, and I upload most of my content to YouTube + Vimeo. Don’t underestimate the power of inexpensive (and free!) tools available to you. With just a $25 mobile phone tripod and your camera, you can build your audience and provide epic video content for them.


2. Writing a book.

Wait, writing a book is a time investment? Now you’re just talkin’ crazy…Let me tell you about the hardest thing I’ve ever done professionally. And the second hardest thing I’ve ever done professionally. It’s the same darn thing. Writing a book.

One was a physical 200-page manual and the next one was a 200+ page digital book. I just want to be honest with you here. THEY WERE NOT EASY TO CREATE. At all. But, I don’t want that to scare you off from it. Writing that first book is probably the best thing I’ve ever done for my business.

Do tell us why, Regina.

I will, my friend. I will.

Even though I feel my writing has changed + grown so much since my first book (so yeah, it’s a little painful when I read it), I’ve been able to use that book for IRL classes and its organization and information truly make a difference for people who are just getting started in business. I’ve been able to take some of the book’s content and make long format blog posts out of it; I’ve been able to modify some of the book’s sections and make them more specific for certain industries . . . then include them as content in my online classes and products.

Oh, and it’s made a little money over the last year or so.

Area #2: Invest some (serious) time in writing a book.

Benefits:

  • Writing a book will force you to create lots of content. Whether you give it away for free or charge for it, the amount of content you have to work with and form into different things will be worth it. You feel me? I know you feel me.
  • Your book makes you look legit. Straight up. It just looks sooooo legit that you have a book in your niche/genre/area.
  • Your book can help you make income. You can sell it solo, or bundled with other materials, or as a part of your workshop, or packaged with a baby sloth that you ship to my house. Seriously. I want a baby sloth even more than Kristen Bell. Please say I’m not the only one. And yes, I realize it’s probably not 100% legal or whatever. (note: the lawyer on our team just told me to stop suggesting that anyone ships baby sloths as a book bonus.)
  • Writing a book is just such a milestone that I truly believe you will experience a mindset shift after you’ve completed it. You’ll see your business and yourself differently. You’ll be someone who is a Published Author.

3. Learning doc layout + design.

If information is your game (I’m looking right at you coaches, infopreneurs, bloggers, authors, and online bootcamp instructors) or if you’ll be sending your clients documents (freelancers), then learning how to lay out and design attractive documents is vital. I invested time into learning Adobe InDesign at first. I could tell that it was going to take a bit more time to master than I had to spare in the moment, so I instead invested time in learning Apple Pages. Best decision ever.

The Free Create a Course Workbook The #LoveMyBrandKit, for you, for free

Now I’m able to create workbooks, slides, and downloadable PDFs that don’t take forever to prepare and publish or require me to hire a contractor to do for me.

eBooks and digital workbooks

Area #3: Learn how to lay out documents in the program of your choice.

Benefits:

  • You’ll be able to quickly create documents to add value to your content (checklists, media kits, guides, etc.).
  • You’ll be able to dream up digital products you can create and then actually execute them.

Try: Checklists, individual worksheets, adult homework, workbooks, products, eBooks, media kits, and other guides with your word processing or layout software.

 


4. Learning graphic design software.

I have invested many hours into learning Photoshop (as well as Pixlr and Canva), and it is so useful. Even if you just edit templates or designs you have made for you, knowing a bit about graphic design software will help you create the promotional materials you need much sooner than hiring someone every single time.

I honestly believe that graphics are what will initially help you stand out. Whether it be your Facebook cover photo (that you update with each event launch), your blog post images, or flyers + business cards to promote your brand, knowing how to “whip something up” can be crucial in this fast-paced business world.

Area #4: Find graphic design software that has the functions you need and doesn’t seem to have the largest learning curve ever (unless the software is going to be a key part of your day-to-day operations).

Benefits:

  • You won’t have to constantly wait for your designer to complete things if you’re able to do them yourself.
  • You’ll be able to quickly take advantage of any opportunities you see to promote your brand or products with graphics.
  • You’ll be able to add more to your emails, blog posts, social media accounts, and website when you know how to create or modify graphics.

5. Learning to take + edit photos.

Photography makes a huge difference on social media channels (like the vegan chef’s Instagram feed @fitmencook), your blog, in products, and anywhere else you need on-brand images.

Learn photography and editing with your device.

Area #5: Put an emphasis on learning the basics of photography and lighting, whether you use a mobile phone, or a point-and-shoot camera, or a DSLR.

Benefits:

  • You won’t have to always use stock photography to get your point across in your posts and products.
  • You’ll be able to catch more moments as they happen instead of needing to hire a pro just to get great images.
  • Custom photos will help you stand out, especially if you develop a style of your own.

Try: Learning the settings of your device and taking multiple pictures to get the hang of what makes something awesome vs. ordinary vs. poor quality.

P.S. >> Tools: Most of the photos on my Instagram feed are taken with a Canon T5i and a 50mm lens. But, some are taken with my phone. Almost all of them are edited with VSCO Cam or Snapseed.


6. Creating templates for blog posts, visual collateral, and resources.

This has straight saved me from going insane. All the content you create and clients you serve can be a lot to manage, there’s no need to add blog post graphics to your list for every single post.

Now that I’ve created templates (but you can always purchase one created for you if you don’t like design or purchase a pre-made set on Creative Market), I literally have a 3-step process to get a new image going for my newest post: (1) I open up my template, and (2) bring in the new photo I want to use, then (3) change the text.

How I use and modify my blog post templates.

Area #6: Develop templates (or hire someone to develop them for you) for any items you’ll be repeating somewhat frequently–blog posts, Pinterest, resources, etc.

Benefits:

  • All your images on the various social media channels will have the same feel to them and help your brand become more recognizable.
  • You will save a lot of time by using templates as opposed to creating something from scratch each time you want to publish a new resource/article.

Try: Multiple software platforms that are affordable and have support videos or free tutorials for you to refer to.


7. Creating a challenge (or even an email course).

We love challenges!

I’ve said it quite a few times before, but I’m saying it again because I really, truly believe it works. Host some challenges. This is one of the main ways my blog traffic grew when I was first starting out with this brand. I created a challenge years ago that I thought might be fun to do with a few people, but it started sending my site more traffic than any of my other articles. People like to be challenged because they love to reach milestones.

Check out this 30-day challenge by Jen Carrington as an example.

Area #7: Create a challenge your ideal audience would consider extremely important or engaging. Consider surveying some of your audience, family, or friends to see what they think a good challenge might be.

Benefits:

  • Challenges can be great for spreading your brand name.
  • Challenges can drum up excitement about your new online program or can be used as an ice-breaker in the beginning of your challenge.

  • Challenges are awesome for engaging and connecting with other people who have similar goals.
  • Challenges are typically pretty share-worthy.
  • Challenges usually only last a certain amount of time, which creates a sense of urgency for participants.

So, what do you think? What are some epic time investments you have made or want to soon make in your business?

Graphic design and article: Regina Anaejionu

How to Expand a Blog Post (or Series) into a Book

So, here we are, you and I . . . about to dive into: How do you turn a blog post series into a book? OR EVEN How do you turn a blog post into a book?

My friend, I do not have all the answers, and I’m sure there are multiple ways to go about it, but I can tell you what I’ve done in this situation in the hope that it helps.

When expanding on posts that already exist for free on the webs, I try to take a step back and look at the whole topic from the reader/customer perspective. This comes in the form of five questions you can ask yourself about your current post or series as well as five general idea-generating questions you can ask yourself to create an awesome chapter/content list for your book. You can download the worksheets below (just click on them) to help you work through and record your ideas from this post.

How to go from a blog post series to a book

For the purposes of this post, let’s take for example a series you did on car maintenance for your “modern superwoman” blog. P.S. If it is a single post you are turning into a book, break it down into the main points/sections you made. Below, I assume it is a series, but you can change my list out for your post sections.

How Being an Infopreneur Helped Me Earn Six Figures in a Year

If you’ve perhaps been following along with my blog, reading the income + traffic reports I publish occasionally, then you already know a little bit about how I structure my business and earn a living. But, what I want to talk about with you today is the revelation that has really helped me in my first year of business. It may be something you already implement in your business or it may be something you want to explore more, and I hope I can help.

You see, it’s my new favorite word. Daredevil.
Wait. That’s my new favorite show.
My new favorite word is infopreneur.

A person who makes money with their mind. With their knowledge. A person who loves learning, loves teaching, and loves the feeling of helping others really get something.

And here’s the thing. Even if you’ve been overwhelmed/underwhelmed with scammy-seeming people selling sub-par information products, I want to assure you . . . you can actually monetize your infopreneurship in ethical ways that benefit others. You can explore things like a monetized blog or podcast, books and workbooks, and of course classes or coaching. I have some resources for you, ninja friend.

And whereas this post was originally written in early 2015 (when I’d only been “infopreneuring” on this site for about a year), I have learned a lot since then and want to point you in the right direction if you’re interested in changing your business model around so that you can change your lifestyle through passive income and low maintenance products.

Starter Infopreneur Resources:

1. I have a free 5-day email course on getting started in infopreneurship.