Have you written a book?  Or do you plan to?

(Or maybe you’re in the middle of one, looking for that light at the end of the tunnel…)

If so, I imagine part of what you’ve thought about is all that money that’s going to come flowing in the door, as soon as your book is available on Amazon.

Bad news…

You won’t get rich off that book.  (Ouch!)

In fact, it’s the rare author who can even pay their bills off book sales.

But I will offer you hope.  In fact, I’ll tell you why some authors are able to make a ton of money off their books — while others will forever fit the “starving artist” stereotype.

It’s Mailbox Monday!

That means today’s article is in response to a reader question.  Actually, three today.

(That’s what happens when I have a list of entrepreneurial writers!)

Every Monday — and the occasional random other day — I answer reader questions about marketing, copywriting, business-building, selling, personal development, success, and more.

To submit your question for a future issue, click here.

Here are today’s questions…


How do I effectively book market a self published book?

– G


How can I market and find buyers for my book on social media?

– K


What I want to know is how I can make some money!  I am 75 years old and only get Social Security, so I really need to make money.  I just wrote a book for Amazon (that took over a year to write) and it’s been almost a month ago with very little sales.

I guess there is an over supply of books to read, so…

– KM

First things first…

I did kind of already respond the last question, in an article titled Head trash, assumptions, and why you’re stuck…

The “over supply” of anything, while true, is also a death trap for your entrepreneurial dreams.

Imagine if someone told Jeff Bezos that there were already bookstores and retail stores, and so he shouldn’t start Amazon.  (Actually, I’m sure MANY people did.  But he didn’t listen.)

Imagine if someone told Reed Hastings he was crazy for opening a video rental business, because Blockbuster and Hollywoood video dominated?  (Again, they did.  He was smart enough to ignore them.)

Likewise with any great entrepreneurial endeavor.  There are practically ZERO green fields markets.  Meaning, every significant market that could exist, exists.

But all markets are prime for disruption.  And for new players coming in and at least making their mark, if not overturning the old Goliaths.

Don’t ever blame market saturation for your lack of success.

In fact, don’t blame anybody but yourself!  It’s not that other people aren’t making your life harder.  They probably are.  But you can’t control them.  You can’t control the weather.  You can’t control politics.  You can’t control the markets.  You can’t control infectious diseases.

But you can control yourself.

If you roll over and blame outside forces for your failure, you need to look back and ask yourself, “Have I done everything in my power to offset and overcome those forces?”  And you’ll find in 100 out of 100 cases, the person who blames the market has NOT done everything in their power.  They used the market as an EXCUSE for failure.

Whether you are successful or not, if you avoid blaming the market and instead ask yourself, “What is in my power to offset and overcome those forces?  What can I do to give myself a better probability of success?”

…  Well, it’s not a guarantee.  But I would rather look back on my life, even if I’m a failure, saying, “I did my best.  I controlled everything in my control.  I put in the work, even when it was hard.  And I may have come up against some tough foes, but I never let them make me back down.”

And you know what?  That attitude turns you into a winner.  Just like a weightlifter who is willing to go up against increasing resistance grows stronger, your willingness to tackle increasing resistance will make YOU stronger, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

But wait, isn’t this about selling books?

Well, yes.  But if you choose to sell books, you are an entrepreneur.  And the above is some of the most important foundational mindset stuff you need to make it as an entrepreneur.  So with that foundation laid, let’s look at selling books.

Books make terrible products — on their own…

My books would never make me a living to feed my family, live in the house I want to live in, and live the life I want.

But they are an important part of my business.

Because books are a great entry point to a business.

SIDEBAR COMMENT: In this article, I’m really referring to nonfiction books.  If you write fiction, check out Write. Publish. Repeat. and every other bit of how-to advice from its authors.  The book title should give you a clue.  You must write a lot, and publish a lot, if you want to make a good living in fiction.  The faster, the better.  Though arguably this means the same principle applies.  Each book is an entry point for readers to find you, after which they will (hopefully) buy lots more books.  Back to nonfiction.

Here’s what a nonfiction book is great for…

— The world’s best business card.  Business cards are lame.  I had one for maybe my first couple months as a freelance copywriter.  But I’ve never had one since.  And it’s actually increased my income to be the kind of person who does NOT have one.  (That’s another topic for another day.)  But if you are trying to connect with someone and you have a book that’s relevant to them, it can be a very high-value business card.  Imagine the consulting client who you hand a book to about your 25 ways to grow a business.  Even if all they do is flip through it once, they’re going to believe you’re a much better marketing consultant than someone who simply handed them a card printed by the thousands at some online print shop.  Hand-write your phone number or email with a note along the lines of, “I’d like to talk to you about how to grow your business,” and you’re way more likely to get the call than the 25 people who are in the stack of cards they took home from the same event.

— A credibility piece.  There is instant credibility in a book.  Right or wrong, it’s there.  Best if published by a major publishing house.  Great if published by any publisher.  Good if self-published ONLY if it feels like it could’ve come from a publisher.  If you self-publish, make sure you put serious effort into getting the little details right, so it looks like it was published by a publisher.  One way to use this: if you’re being considered for speaking gigs, media appearances, podcasts, etc., send your book ahead of time.

— A lead generation tool.  You can give away your book to people who are good potential leads for your business.  It’s an easy way to get good leads to raise their hand.  Especially if your book explains how to solve the problem that you solve in your products or services.  The hottest prospects will request your book to get a feel for you, then buy the products or services that solve the problem as well.

— A “welcome mat” offer.  I’ll go into more detail on this below.  But basically, a book can be a really great low-priced offer, to get interested prospects to spend their first couple bucks with you.  After which you offer one or more higher-priced products or services.

Here’s how to use a book as a “welcome mat” — the “free book funnel” model…

I imagine you’ve seen the “free book” offers?

— My Copywriter’s Guide to Getting Paid is a great example.

Perry Marshall’s 80/20 Sales & Marketing penny offer is another good one.

— Russell Brunson (from ClickFunnels) also has really good examples for both his DotCom Secrets and Expert Secrets books.

Basically the offer is that you get the book free, but you have to pay some small shipping and handling charge to have it sent to you.

Oftentimes, it’s positioned as, “I’ve bought you a copy of the book, but to get it to you I’d like you to offset some of the shipping and handling charges.”

This maintains the retail value of the book, plus allows the seller to charge some amount of money (and thus collect payment information).

Why do this over offering the book for free?  Simple: because once someone has spent their metaphorical “first dollar” with you, it’s way more likely that they’ll spend the second, and third, and fourth, and so on…

So once they’ve made that first purchase for an ultra-low-priced item, such as the shipping and handling charge on a free book, they’re far more predisposed to buying much, much more with you.

Plus, depending on the way it’s set up, buying the next items can be as simple as one click on a button on the next page they visit.

So what do you sell after the “free” book?

You have two main choices that make for effective upsells…

— More of the same, or…

— The solution to the problem your first offer creates.

More of the same means that if I sell you copywriting career advice, you may want to buy even more copywriting career advice.  Or if you buy something about how to do a webinar, you may want more on how to do a webinar.

The solution the the problem your first offer creates is a little more nuanced, but it can be very powerful.  If, for example, I told you how to build your email list, the next thing you might want to know is how to make the most money per month from every subscriber on that list.  Or if I sell you a webinar script template, the next thing you might need is a campaign map for the 28 moving pieces in an effective live webinar campaign.

(Incidentally, if these topics are interesting to you, you should probably be a BTMSinsiders member.)

The idea is that the book is just scratching the surface of the total value you (as the marketer) offer.  Or that you (as the customer) can get.

Here’s one of the simplest models for how many authors use their books to get rich…

Okay, so let’s say you wrote a book.  It’s on your expertise.  It may even be something that you offer coaching and consulting on, or some higher-level service package.  It’s probably also something you could do training on.

Let me lay this out for you, how you might structure your offer.

First, you sell the book.  Price it like a book, sell it like a book, but also probably do the free book offer.

Make sure in the book, you link back to the next step as well.

For people who buy the book, offer training.  While the book may have sold for $20 or less, the training is likely a $200 or more offer.

And for people who buy the training, offer a “done with you” service for $2,000 or more.

Get what we’re doing here?  Not very subtle.  Just adding zeroes.

Build out a funnel through something like ClickFunnels (or whatever you use to build funnels) that displays one offer after the next, based on someone buying and moving to the next step.

Then, start sending traffic into the top of the funnel.

You’ll note this is about more than selling a book…

Again, go back to my early point about it being very difficult to make any real money selling a book.

Publishers make a lot of money by selling a lot of books.  Most don’t sell many copies, but a few sell a lot and make up the bulk of their sales.

Authors need another revenue stream.

The books are a door into your world.

They are not your entire world.

For them to be anything but, you have to beat the dramatically long odds and become one of the few bestsellers.

It’s a far more reliable path to do what I’ve just laid out above.

Then, when you do that, all kinds of things become possible.

You can invest in Amazon ads.  You can invest in social media ads.  You can invest in ads on Google.  You can afford to spend many times the cost of the book to acquire a book buyer, because you know they will be many times more valuable to you than what you spent.

I know for many who hoped to get rich after writing a book (or even just to make a few bucks) this may feel like the long road.  But it’s a much surer, shorter road than fighting all the market forces that make this the preferred path.

Which brings me back to that point about doing everything you can to offset any forces that may work against you.  What I’ve just laid out is a plan, doing the work to implement is the breakthrough.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr

PS: Did you watch my video Friday about how to Build a Thriving Client Business?  I actually don’t recommend starting with a book — it would qualify as a much later milestone.  If you want to know what to do first, I cover all 14 milestones in 14 minutes here.