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.

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 to Create a Course in 12 Hours

If you have a moment, I want to help you create a course (an epic “mini-course” to be more specific) that you can give away or sell to your audience, and I want to help you for free. Like seriously, I have a 20-page workbook and 5 training videos waiting for you, but I must start with the brief story of a time, long ago, when I created an entire mini-course in 12 hours. The story begins in the distant past known as . . . two days ago.

11 a.m. – I woke up // Don’t judge me, I got a late start.
11:15 a.m. – I remembered how I really want to create a quick, free Blog School this weekend to help people plan + create their blogs.
11:17 a.m. – I thought it would be fun to invite other friends across the globe to create their own short courses with me.
11:18 a.m. – I thought, “Maybe I can make it a bit of a challenge and post updates throughout the day.”
11:19 a.m. – Made up my mind and then posted a graphic announcing my plans on Instagram.

Mini Course Challenge Announcement

I started posting YouTube updates as I was creating my initial product (a blog school), which I still plan to finish soon, but then my path morphed a bit. I realized (somewhere in Hour 3 I think) that the mini course I was actually creating was a course on how to create mini courses. Yeah. It took me a minute to realize it. But see, #whathadhappenedwas:

I was working and posting videos and updates on one thing, but I constantly wanted to develop worksheets, resources, tips, and more for everyone else who was following along and creating their own mini courses.

Shocker, right? If you know me at all, then you know that I live to create and do adult homework. So the day I had so carefully planned out (translation: had not planned out at all really) morphed into the creation of a short course that I want you to be able to take for free.

Want to take a completely free course on how to create courses?

And here’s the thing, you don’t have to jump through any flaming hoops (unless you’re really keen to) . . . you get complete access hereI mean. Would I be mad if you tweeted the short tweet below? Not at all.

Take a free class my friends

And, would I complain if you put up with me as I share a few more shots of the workbook? Nope. It was a lot of fun to create.

How to create a mini course for your audience

So, what’s in this “Create a Course in 12 hours” workbook?

The workbook has 20 pages that cover the various sections of the mini-course. Between the five training videos and the worksheets, you’ll find materials to help you as you:

  • Decide on your topic
  • Identify your people (audience)
  • Create an outline for your course
  • Select the format for each part of the course you are creating
  • Decide on the delivery methods for your course content
  • Think up course promotion ideas
  • Edit your course
  • Format your course documents/videos (+ my secret tip for creating materials quickly)
  • And more (such as a Launch Checklist and lots of videos of me in my Jimi Hendrix shirt)

33 Types of Blogger Collaborations (For Fun + For Profit)

Ready for 33 blogger/brand collabo ideas? Some of these are just for fun (and to build community and blog traffic) and some of these can be done for profit (dollar dollar bills y’all and brand awareness).

So, I want to talk (1) reasons to collaborate, (2) types of free collaborations, (3) collaboration ideas for profit, (4) pitch etiquette, and (5) pitch “musts” in the form of a checklist.


Reasons to Collaborate with Other Bloggers

Collaborating with other content creators is about so many things beyond simply growing your blog traffic. Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Collaboration will expand your community and your opportunities to connect with people who want and need what you have to offer. Collaboration will also connect you with like-minded people; these connections can go anywhere (from friendships and people who share your stuff to long-term profitable relationships).
  • Collaboration allows you to be seen in a different light. I mean this in two ways: (1) The person or people you collaborate with will present you in a different way than you would. Whether in an interview, or an introduction, or a promotional tweet, the other person can say things about you that would look ridiculous, conceited, or just plain weird coming from you. (2) You can easily collaborate on something that is a hop outside your normal content—this allows you to pivot into new areas of expertise or simply add to what you already do.
  • Collaborations allow you to expand your offerings. You can begin to establish new areas of expertise for yourself . . . or collaborations can simply allow you to offer more products + content in your original area.
  • Collaborations will shed light on the feasibility and opportunity of new products and content. If people go cray cray for something, make it a product. If it fizzles out, modify it or move on.
  • Collaborations allow you to make more of an impact than you might be able to make alone. Two audiences instead of one. Two sources of ideas. Two people marketing something. Two voices adding value. You get the point.
  • Collaborations allow you to see things differently. You’re an absolute genius ninja, that is not to be doubted. However, sometimes it can be a beautiful thing to see the world, or a problem, or a product, or an idea through someone else’s viewpoint.
  • Collaborations provide a built-in sounding board and “checks and balances” system. Here’s the deal: We all have outlandish ideas at times. We all think of epic brand names, product features, and ways to word things that end up being not that great. Your collaboration partners mean that you will have constant reality checks. You’ll have another entity or two that’s a part of your target market to go, “Umm, I don’t think that’s going to go over as well as you might want. But good job though.”

SEO for Bloggers: The Non-Techie Guide

Regina here. Desperately hoping I can make “#SearchEngineSaturday” a real thing, because that’s what I want to talk about today . . . and it’s a Saturday. And honestly, what I really want to do is get at the most important facet of search engine optimization (SEO) for bloggers >> it’s all based on humans >> and spending our lives worrying about techie, crawly, spider-y, secret robots who arbitrarily rank our sites is probably a waste of time. Allow me to expand this point:

I hope someone who knows me just laughed in their head at that and said, “Of course you’re going to expand Regina. You always talk too much. I mean, share such lovely, long details with us.”

So yes, I am going to share the 10 things that over time will make the biggest difference for your blog’s SEO, but in order to do that, I think it is best to explain what major search engines like Google are doing and how it’s really about humans. P.S. I will not be using ANY techie words in this post. This is a post you could share with your grandmother, or your 8-year old, or your awkward Uncle Phil who wants to start making money with the Internets but doesn’t even understand what the Internets is . . . are . . . is/are . . . I don’t know which one to use there.

What are search engines really doing?

Search engines (such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo!) are providing a service to humans. They attempt to go out into Internet Land and discover all the pages available. These pages can be actual website pages (like an About, Bio, or Contact page) that give specific information or they can be your individual blog posts. Search engines like to have a record of all the pages possible so that when a human comes along and searches for a specific term, the search engine has a large amount of pages to pull from and show as results.