In this guest post, Nina Amir, author of How to Blog a Book and the Author Training Manual, explains the importance of a multi-title book strategy for authors.
In Nina’s words…
I’m a big proponent of authors planning out their careers. When they come to me with one idea, I ask them what other books they plan to write. This allows me to see the possible trajectory of their career and how all their books might work together, one building on the next and helping them sell more books and create an author brand.
It’s important to do this type of planning early. Sometimes your ideas don’t fall in line. You might have one first, but a second idea comes along and ends up being your first published book. They still work as a series, or spin-offs, helping to create a brand.
That’s how it happened to me.
From One Book to the Next
I first conceived a process I called “the proposal process” and a book to take aspiring authors through it around 2008 or 2009. However, before I could get that book sold to a publisher, I came up with a second book idea, called How to Blog a Book. Since I still wanted to write the first book, and I felt the process could—and should—be applied to any book idea prior to being written, I included a chapter on the proposal process in How to Blog a Book.
This was a strategic move. It set me up to write to write my second book (formerly my first book). Only I later revamped that book idea to give it more depth and breadth, renamed my process “The Author Training Process,” and proposed The Author Training Manual to my publisher, Writer’s Digest Books. (I had an agent who did this for me.).
In this second book, I included a chapter related to personal development. It talks about attitude and results. In the book proposal for The Author Training Manual, I included a spin-off book—the next book I want to write—that elaborated on that chapter. If that book becomes my next, it allows me to move into another area of successful authorship related to this book.
In effect, if the publisher accepts this book, I will have taken a chapter in my first book and expanded it into a second book. I will then have taken a chapter in my second book and expanded it into a third book.
I also will have given myself a path as an author to move toward subjects that interest me and to expand my own career as an author and coach.
Can you see the strategy here? In the process, an author brand develops: I become known for producing books on successful authorship and on how to get books written and successfully published.
The Importance of Being a Multiple-Book Author
As you plan out your first book, always think ahead to the second or third book. Here’s why:
- First, publishers—should you want to go the traditional publishing route—don’t like to invest in one-book authors; they prefer to invest in multiple-book authors.
- Second, the more you write and publish, the more you sell. That’s why traditional publishers want to go into business with multiple-book authors, not one-book wonders. This speaks to what is known as the “long-tail effect.”
Your second book likely will stimulate sales of your first book, as will your third book or fourth book.
I can already see this happening with How to Blog a Book, whose sales went up considerably the last week of February as more and more people began to pre-order The Author Training Manual. I only expect this effect to increase.
You might even sell books that are unrelated in topic. One of my readers purchased How to Blog a Book and then went on to find and purchase an ebook of mine, called The Priestess Practice, which is only available on my website.
Accountability Partners Help Me Write
With each book I’ve learned something about how I write best. For instance, with How to Blog a Book, I shared the book as I wrote it—post by post. I got feed back, in some cases from my readers. My deadline was created by my blogging schedule of three to four posts per week, and this helped me write the first draft of the book in five months (minus two chapters). While sometimes it was hard to maintain that schedule, knowing I had readers waiting for posts kept me writing. They served as my accountability partners.
With The Author Training Manual, I wrote the draft manuscript in eight weeks as the text for my Author Training 101 course. The students received chapters straight off my computer as I finished them, and many of those very same students edited them and also offered anecdotes for the book. I blogged the book as I revised it, which I found a much less-satisfying process than actually blogging a book. I didn’t have the satisfaction of writing the book on the blog, and it was difficult to break the chapters into blog posts since they were not written for that purpose. Yet, knowing students were waiting for the text as I wrote it, made me get the first draft done quickly. In this case, my students were my accountability partners.
Your List of Forthcoming Books Keeps You Moving Forward
I have found that having a strategy for more books also keeps me writing and working. Whether you plan to self-publish or traditionally publish, knowing another book is waiting in the queue to be written, provides daily incentive to keep at the job of becoming a successful author.
For me, this means I keep building my author platform by looking for ways to promote myself and my work. I keep working on my brand, my websites, my expert status. And I keep writing.
My list of forthcoming books is quite large and diverse. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the list, and I wonder how I’ll ever have time to write them all. But that’s a better problem to have then to wonder if you have another book in you.
About the Author
Nina Amir, author of How to Blog a Book and The Author Training Manual, is known as the Inspiration to Creation Coach. She moves clients from ideas to finished books to careers as authors. She shows how to combine passion and purpose to create products that positively and meaningfully impact the world.
A sought-after author, book, blog-to-book, and results coach, some of Nina’s clients have sold 300,000+ copies of their books, landed deals with major publishing houses and created thriving businesses around their books. She writes four blogs, self-published 12 books and founded National Nonfiction Writing Month, aka the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge.
For more information, visit www.ninaamir.com and her blogs, www.howtoblogabook.com and www.writenonfictionnow.com. Her next Author Training 101 Course with LIVE Coaching is May 6-June 24, 2014.