7 essentials of author profitability, Part 2: Creativity

Posted September 24th @ 10:41 pm by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Thursday’s profit tip for authors

Creativity plays an essential role in an author’s success, but it’s a different type of creativity than usually associated with writing and publishing.

Traditionally, creativity and its relationship to nonfiction writing has been approached from the ideas and expression point of view–especially at colleges and writing workshops. (For example, see Creative Nonfiction.Org.)

A new view of author creativity

Creativity plays a different role today for authors who want to create books that drive business. Today’s most profitable authors use creativity for 3 different, but closely associated, purposes:

  1. Develop a core body of knowledge. This involves identifying, communicating, and organizing a set of timeless, yet relevant, set of ideas, principles, strategies, and tips. The core body of knowledge delivers practical, not expressive, benefits and rewards to both authors and readers.
  2. Select a distinct and memorable, brand-creating title. A lifetime of profits can be based on a single creatively-inspired title, as Jay Conrad Levinson’s Guerrilla Marketing shows.
  3. Extending the brand into new markets and formats. Instead of moving on to new topics and titles after their initial success, successful authors renew their brand by revisiting their core ideas and title and expand them new formats, markets, and additional marketing and profit-generating projects.

Bud Bilanich’s creativity at work

Last week, in Part 1 of this series, I profiled Bud Bilanich’s Common Sense blog, emphasizing the clarity and execution of his 4 Cs message (Clarity, Commitment, Confidence, and Competence).

Now, I’d like to explore some of the ways that Bud has creatively leveraged his core content–which originates in his daily blog. He has managed to translate his core content into multiple forms of marketing and profit.

straight-talk-cov-one75Although not his first book, one of Bud’s most important books is his Straight Talk for Success: Common Sense Ideas That Won’t Let You Down.

Straight Talk for Success closely followed the immediate success of his “Success Common Sense” blog and Bud’s building his brand as “The Common Sense Guy” and allowed Bud to revisit, expand, and refine, his original blog posts.

Significantly, Straight Talk for Success is available in multiple formats, including hardcover, softcover, and e-book, at different prices for different markets.

memcards-samp-two-5In order to make his 4-cs Common Sense ideas more tangible, Bud then introduced a set of Memory Cards that condense his key ideas to their essence in flash-card format. Cards contain both a relevance statement and implementation ideas, plus a quotation that drives home the concept.

At a selling price of $10, Bud won’t retire on the profits, but it does give his fans another opportunity to revisit his ideas–and creates a nice add-on sale.

42-rules-pro-succ-one-75One of Bud’s most astute moves was to adapt his Common Sense ideas to the 42 Rules platform, with his recent 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success.

The 42 Rules series has been growing quite quickly, creating an enviable brand that’s in tune with today’s trend towards shorter, smaller, and less-expensive books.

By introducing a 42 Rules book, Bud is bringing his Common Sense brand–note the way it always accompanies his name–to the attention of a totally new book-buying market.

While writing his 42 Rules book, of course, Bud benefited from the opportunity it provided him to review his core ideas, select the best, and restate them in a fresh way.

success-gps-cov-rev-one-75Just as publishing a 42 Rules book introduced his book to a new publisher’s audience, his recent Your Success GPS for Walk the Talk, yet another large and growing publishing brand with its own established fan base.

In this case, not only is the selling price even lower, but the publisher emphasizes quantity sales to special markets like associations and corporations. This has the potential of introducing Bud to 100′s, 500′s, and 1,000′s of future prospects for coaching, consulting, and speaking opportunities.

Note how, once again, Bud’s “The Common Sense Guy” brand appears prominently on the front cover.

101commonsensetips-cov-one7Creative fusion of marketing & self-publishing

Bud has also extended his Common Sense brand into additional marketing and lead generating publishing projects.

The first project is a distillation of his 4Cs ideas into 101 Common Sense Tips for Building a Great Career.

What’s fascinating about this is not only its low price, but its practicality: printed copies can be inserted and mailed in Number 10 business sized envelopes.

It’s small size also makes it a perfect traveling companion, fitting in a jacket pocket.

Two versions are available; printed ($3.00) and e-book ($2.00). There’s a good reason for the token charge; it not only covers printing and distribution costs, but it’s an important qualifier.  If prospects aren’t willing to pay a small amount for 101 tips, they’re probably not going to make very good clients!

iwantyoutosucc-book-cov-oneIs this Bud’s most creative book?

Perhaps Bud Bilanich’s most creative venture, however, is his self-published 76-page book, “I Want YOU…To SUCCEED.”

Subtitled, How My Common Sense Coaching Can help You Create the Successful Life and Career You Want and Deserve, this book creates a bridge between Bud’s core Common Sense information and his personal coaching services.

The book explains his coaching philosophy and includes 5 stories that detail the benefits he brought to 5 different types of coaching clients. It describes what goes on during coaching sessions, the limits of coaching, and what differentiates him from other coaches.

I Want YOU…To SUCCEED is a compelling, hold-in-your-hand tangible book that, in a smoothly-paced editorial format, subtly convinces you that Bud is the only coach you should consider.

Bud used a content and design template prepared specifically to help coaches write a book promoting their services available from publishing resource Joel Orr to write and lay out his book.

In a recent conversation, Bud told me his total time for writing and producing his book, exclusive of the cover, was less than 5 hours.

Bud’s story leads me to think that the 4th way successful authors use creativity is to locate the best resources to help them efficiently turn their ideas into reality.

What’s your favorite example of author creativity?

What creativity tools do you use when planning, writing, promoting, and profiting from your book? Do you consider yourself a creative author, or a competent author who creatively markets your books and services? Who do you consider to be the most creative authors?

Share your ideas as comments, below.

1 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: 7 Habits of the Successfully Published, Part 4: Leverage | Personal Branding Blog - Dan Schawbel on October 2, 2009


  1. Bud Bilanich
    September 25, 2009

    Thank you once again for your kind words. I really appreciate them. If there is a secret to what you call my “creativity” it’s this. I work hard at finding as many ways as I possibly can to get my common sense success message across to people.
    Thank you so much for featuring me on your wonderful blog.
    All the best,
    Bud Bilanich
    The Common Sense Guy

  2. Roger C. Parker
    September 28, 2009

    Dear Bud:
    As always, thank you for your comments and “common sense” message.

    It’s so easy to forget the basics, and end up making things harder than they need to be.


  3. Roger C. Parker
    September 28, 2009

    I just received an e-mail from Joel Orr, who created the template package that helped Bud create his “I Want YOU…to SUCCEED” book.

    Joel reminded me that the template package is described in detail at http://joeltrainsauthors.com/book-48

    Joel’s story is presented in a very interesting format, one I’ll be profiling in the near future.


  4. Chuck Frey
    October 15, 2009

    Wow, what a great strategy for taking what a body of knowledge and getting the most out of it! I love the way Bud has taken the whole “common sense thinking” concept and has leveraged it in some very creative (and profitable) ways!

  5. Roger C. Parker
    October 16, 2009

    Thanks, Chuck:
    I appreciate your taking the time to share your comment. Especially since I consider you consistently one step ahead of the pack when it comes to creativity topics.

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