To make a lot of money in book publishing for a niche market, then you will need to understand how to reach people with online publishing too. If you are a known personality, great—build on that, but if you are building a name-brand business or charity, then your brand is your business.
For instance, have you ever heard of a little business called Niche Media? Well, as an Australian niche magazine publisher, their brands include MacWorld, Marketing magazine, Idea, Inside (interior design), Architectural Review (AR), Mezzanine and Desktop. They have 10 million views on their sites and send 100,000 EDMs a week. They are a large publisher, but most of us start as an indie or micro publisher. What is the difference?
An indie publisher publishes only their own books, whereas a micro publisher might publish a few different authors. For a while, Power of Words was a micro publisher (as a sole proprietor, so with a dose of risk).
Traditional magazines need two things to happen: good workers (staff/freelance writers) and high-paying advertisers (the money).
But online, you can build your own online publishing business. First, you have your books. Awesome! What a great start. Do they look like they are in a series? It’s something I wish I had done. Certainly, 10 years can be a long time and it’s easier to get every book cover planned designed as a template and write them later.
No Books Yet?
Even if you don’t have your own books yet, you can get started in the book publishing business and add other products to complement. Because you can actually joint venture with other writers to do an anthology.
Or, you could choose to be the publisher of other author’s books in a selected niche. One publisher I found collated books on marine life and shipwrecks and sold them through dive shops.
You could also choose to have a niche online magazine. It’s far too easy to start—it’s the continuing and optimising that’s the hard part. This can be in WordPress, like ours, or as an Issu digital magazine.
It helps also to have a bit of money aside for sprucing up the design once you have website traffic.
What not to do!
Remember, you don’t spend $3,000 on web development in hopes of getting an audience. You can bootstrap and DIY your way to an audience, then spend some money on brand, helpers, and really great products. This way, you really find out through comments, social media mentions, and enquiries, what your audience wants to know. So turn the comments on!
With only books, your reader feedback will be inside reviews on Amazon and Goodreads that you can’t take off. You won’t be able to respond to many of them. And only a handful of people review books out of their own goodness.
On your own book website, blog or forum, you can respond straight away.
Micro Publisher Tips
There are other ways to make money in the online publishing business:
- More products, e.g. magazines, designer journals, workbooks and unique products (take a look at Etsy for inspiration)
- Referrals to awesome affiliate products – these can make a lot of money
- Sponsored posts (once you have traffic)
Mostly, you’ll need to intimately know your audience, and so it helps if you are just like them! Moms/mums relate to other mum bloggers, and lady entrepreneurs. There is even an inspiring book all about their successes.
They talk a lot about reaching their audience on the social platform where mostly they hang out, e.g. Pinterest, Instagram.
Here is a (James Schramko) case study of a man who went from just ebooks with affiliates to a recurring membership model, in the area of health.
Being a Whizz at Analysis
You need to understand the Analytics of your site, because it tells you what your visitors like. This means either installing a Google Analytics plugin or going into the full Google Analytics around once a month.
What do you do when you know what visitors like? You write more along those lines! Also notice what they type in to find you (the popular keywords).
Get their Email Address
Work on converting your online visitors to either subscribers to email or to buy something. Sometimes it’s better to do the slow burn and get the email address when you blog, rather than turn them off with a full-on advertisement.
It should be the most prominent thing, so a pop-up with a good, visual offer 10-30 seconds in works wonders. SumoMe or OptinMonster do the same things, offering mega numbers of opt-ins. Hello Bar is simple and also free. They all connect with email marketing systems and if not, Zapier usually does the adding of email to database once set up.
You can’t tempt people with boredom, so make sure your offers and your blog or membership site is alive with enthusiasm and free stuff.
Some Cool Tools for Online Publishers
Ubersuggest.com – free keyword research tool by Neil Patel
AskthePublic.com – free research tool, perfect for finding questions for blog posts
MixPanel – user analytics, helps to optimise the lifetime value of customers (relevant for growing publishers)
Outbrain Publisher/Engage – helps to make money from your audience, with professional-level advertising for online publishers. (Far better than Adsense).
Some Cool Tools for Book Publishers
Adobe InDesign (from $28 pm) has a hidden extra at premium level for nil extra: Adobe Spark (make promo videos with their templates)
Kindlepreneur’s Kindle sales rank calculator – to determine the number of Amazon sales of particular books
Other Helpful Posts at JenniferLancaster.com.au
We talk about book quality here: http://jenniferlancaster.com.au/book-editing/traditional-vs-self-publishing-book-quality/
Examine your ROI on publishing here: http://jenniferlancaster.com.au/self-publishing/returns-on-your-book-publishing-enterprise/