Should You Publish a Book?

by: Terry Dean

It used to cost a fortune to get a book printed and published. Today it can all be done online for considerably less than $1,000…and most of that is going to go to your cover designer.

Instead of ordering 1,000 or 5,000 titles at once, you can order 1 at a time using print-on-demand publishing. So it’s not a question of whether you can publish a book or not. It’s a question of whether you should.

Not everyone should publish a book.

If you have the dream of selling a million copies and getting rich through your book, keep dreaming. It can happen, but it’s a million to one shot.

Books have the lowest margin of any information product. A CD costs $1 to $2 to duplicate and sells for $15 and up. A DVD costs $1.50 to $3 and sells for $20 and up. A multimedia course with manuals, CDs, and DVDs may sell for $100 to $1,000 or more.

A book printed in low numbers costs $3 to $5 and sells for $20 or less in most cases. Can you make money from a book? Yes…but I would never want to be in a position where I had to make money from a book.

They’re an entry product and they’re a tool for generating publicity.

I would never recommend a book for someone’s first information product. Start with a CD, DVD, or even an eBook. If that proves successful, then consider a book.

Compact Disc Logo

Compact Disc Logo (Photo credit: Douglas Heriot)

While not everyone should publish a book…every consultant, coach, and information product developer, and professional speaker should!

Let’s say we’re both consultants or coaches and we’re talking to a business owner. You sit down on the plane beside them and give them your card. When they ask me what I do, I hand them my card and my book.

Who stands out as an expert in the field?

Now let’s say we both contact radio stations and offer to do an interview. You tell them how you coach people about success in business. I tell them the same thing and send them my book. Who stands out as the expert in this case?

The book author does…Face it. You might know more than the author right now, but they will often be perceived as the more knowledgable expert because they put it in a book. Will the radio host read the book? Not likely…There are some pretty crappy books that get major publicity.

That’s enough on that before I get myself into trouble.

Published!

Published! (Photo credit: JoshuaDavisPhotography)

If you want to be perceived as an expert in your field…create a book. You don’t even have to write it yourself. Put together the materials and hire a ghostwriter to create it if you want.

Now let’s say you want your book to be a profit center. It can definitely be that, but it requires you to create large scale publicity. If you do an interview on a major radio station, you can sell 300 books or more.

If you were published by a publishing house, you might only get $1 per book. So that appearance was worth $300. Using POD publishing, you might be averaging $10 a book…so you earn $3,000. That’s not bad for the hour interview. Get a major TV appearance…and you can sell tens of thousands.

You can also do book signings and other events to sell more books…but remember this all requires you to do something. If you want a fully automated business, books are not the job for you (although you could have a PR agent making the contacts for you). There are other products where this can be done much easier. The math simply doesn’t work out for paid advertising in most cases.

When I work with a author, I like them to have additional products and services to sell on the backend. Sure…it’s nice to make money selling your book. What else do you have? Do you have a CD set or a DVD showing your techniques in more detail? Do you offer consulting or coaching on the backend? That’s where the real money is in books for the average author.

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