Publish Profitably Every Time!
A niche is a unit that shares specific traits or behaviors in common. Proctologists are a niche. So are baianos, left-handed roofers, teachers, game show watchers, shepherds, and, yes, men or women.
My premise—provable again and again—is that, with reason, publishing to niches is far less risky, less expensive, faster, and likely far more profitable than publishing to just anybody (which is everybody). But there can’t be too few of them (many thousands at least) or too many (the smaller and more cohesive the niche, the better).
Which says that there are two publishing worlds: (1) the usual, bookstore-fed broad and general market and (2) the much smaller, usually direct mail-driven niche market.
There’s nothing particularly wrong with our cohorts who publish in (1). They have truths to share that they want in everybody’s hands and theirs is just about the only way to get it done. But they usually pay a steep price. If they publish through the standard houses, they receive from 10-15% of the gross, get paid a couple of times a year, and they have almost no control over the look, title, or distribution of their creation. (Still, some do get rich and famous that way.) If they self-publish to everybody, that hill is steeper yet: they get all of the profits after all of the expenses are paid while they muscle the big houses all the way to be seen, read, and bought. Sheer tenacity and/or a killer book can sometimes win that race.
This book tells you how the second route will let you test your book before you write a chapter. If the tested like it, you create a product they are eager to buy, formfit it to their needs and desires, and sell it directly to those who are most benefited. That greatly reduces the risk, speeds up the process two- or threefold (or more), and lets you create a base from which you can sell many more related products. In fact, from that core information you can create an empire that will feed and fan you comfortably forever. (Oh yes, the product looks just like you plan it, has your title, and every time it is bought it further trumpets your name as an expert in its field.)
I’m making some assumptions. That you want to publish, you haven’t got a ton of gold to start with, you are literate (or can find an editor friend who will make your words read right), you aren’t adverse to earning reliable and substantial profits, and you have something to say (or can get something) that will make others (who can read) better, happier, richer, funnier, thinner, whatever it is they will buy to get or be.
For example, if you are the expert on widget burnishing but the process defies written explanation and your entire worldwide audience consists of seven scattered aficionados somewhere on the planet Earth, this book isn't for you.
But if you can tell others, say, how to sell widgets, if there are many thousands eager to increase (better, double) their widget-selling commissions, and if they are accessible, you're already on the path to profitable publishing. And if you can expand the selling information and it would interest other widget hawkers to learn more by other means (such as articles, audio CDs, videos, newsletters, or consulting), keep reading!
Why am I talking about those other things when what you really want to do is publish a book? Because what you are selling is none of those. You are selling information packaged as expertise, and those are simply some of the ways such information is sold. And if you can sell your information one way, like a book, you can usually sell it, with modifications, most of the other ways.
I will focus on one of those ways here: an ink-on-paper book. But if I totally isolated the book from the other means, a couple of things would happen. I would give you an incomplete, diluted view of the dynamics of information sharing akin to describing how to play baseball by focusing solely on bunting or running. And I'd be grossly derelict in showing you how, with only a fraction of additional effort, you could easily double your effectiveness and income.
Thus you will read about other means as well on these pages. Still, the overwhelming thrust of this text and its purpose is book-related, and with the exception of two short chapters and half of the third section, EXPANDING, books and publishing to niche markets are the core and substance of these pages. By understanding the book publication process you will be able to follow parallel steps for the other means, if they are applicable and you are interested.
Three more thoughts best shared now.
One, it's not enough just to have knowledge stored in your head. Even consultants have to share and adapt what they know for it to be profitable. They must convert what they know into applicable information upon which they or others can act.
The same for you. What makes information valuable to others is more than its existence. It must be available, understandable, and usable. How is that best done? By some information dissemination means, like a book.
The second point: you needn't be the foremost expert in the world to share information. In fact, you don't have to know much about your topic at all when you begin. The critical point is that the information you finally share is accurate, complete, and applicable. Not whether you spent a lifetime gathering it or a couple of no-nonsense months. The quality of your information will be judged by those who buy it. If it's good, they will want more of that good thing in other ways. If it's not, you've wasted your time, money, and energy. You simply don't know something that others will pay to know.
The third point: self-publishers usually write the book, then publish it. But that’s not necessary. In this book I’m showing you how to publish a book—yours or others’. You needn’t be the author. You will make more money if you write it too because you needn’t pay royalties or some work-for-hire stipend. But a strong case can be made for finding other experts in a niche field, publishing their books, and following the “self-publishing” format, though I prefer “small press” to distinguish us from the big houses, whether we publish our own, others’, or ours and others’ books. In truth, it’s all just publishing. (But the niche publishing path, mostly the order in which it progresses, is quite different.)
So far we've flirted with theory and fiddled with philosophy. Let's get to your book. Like, why not let some big-bucks publisher just take the written prose off your hands, send you fat royalty checks, and forget all this foolishness about doing the rest yourself? Stay tuned.
Would you like to read the Introduction?