How to Earn a Full-Time Income as a Nonfiction Author

How do you go from an unknown writer to earning a full-time wage as a nonfiction author? Today, international bestselling author Tom Corson-Knowles (@JuiceTom) tells us what worked for him.

nonfiction writer

December, 2012 was a big month for me. I had my first $10,000+ month from my nonfiction Kindle ebooks alone, and I was finally starting to feel like I had “made it” as an author. I had achieved everything I had hoped to achieve as a nonfiction author (except I still wasn’t a New York Times bestselling author, but that didn’t matter once I had the money and freedom I wanted).

But those sales didn’t come easy for me. I remember when I wrote my first book over 7 years ago. I was broke, unknown, and couldn’t get an agent or serious publisher to read my manuscript let alone respond to a phone call or email.

So how did I go from an unknown, broke writer to a nice 5-figure monthly income from my books? I used what I call The Ultimate Author Marketing Strategy.

It’s a simple strategy that most long-term successful nonfiction authors have used, whether they knew it or not.

The entire strategy focuses on one simple yet powerful idea:

In order to earn serious money as an author, you must create incredibly valuable content regularly for your audience.

Here’s how it works:
  1. Add More Value
    Let’s pretend you have only one product (or service) that helps people – one book. That one book can be the beginning of an empire or the end of your career, depending on what you do next.If you want your business to grow, all you have to do is add more value. You can do this many ways. Here are just a few examples:

    • Write another book (preferably one that solves a problem for the same audience as the first book)
    • Publish additional versions (think ebooks, paperbacks, audiobooks)
    • Sell rights (think translation rights, international rights, etc.)
    • Start a blog (or write more if you already have a blog)
    • Create a paid digital product (like a video course, webinar series, or group coaching program)
    • Create a free digital product (a free video course, podcast show or free report)
    • Create a 1-1 coaching program
    • Create a consulting practice
    • Create seminars or workshops

    There are probably hundreds of additional ways you could add more value to your audience besides the ones I just listed. Feel free to brainstorm for more ideas of additional products and services you can create to add more value to the marketplace.

    As Jim Rohn said, “We get paid for bringing value to the marketplace.” If you want to get paid more, simply bring more value.

  2. Be Consistent
    It’s one thing to write a new blog post or start a podcast show. It’s an entirely different thing to be consistent. Right now, if you earn $5,000 a year as a nonfiction author selling books to a specific market, the easiest way you can multiply your income by 10 times is simply to be more consistent.Write, blog, market, and create additional products more consistently. Consistently doing the right thing and making progress is the formula for success.Don’t fall into the trap of writing one book and thinking you’re done. If you’re a real expert and you have a solution to someone’s problem, you’re never done until you’ve solved all those problems. If you want to earn more, simply solve more problems. The easiest way to do that is to simply keep adding more value more consistently.
  3. Focus on Your Audience
    Lastly, you must make sure you focus on your audience. If you write about fitness, keep writing about fitness. Maybe you write about fitness and business and quilting. That’s okay, too. Just make sure that you focus on providing serious value consistently to a single audience. Don’t try to sell your books on quilting to people who want to lose weight.If you write for multiple markets, just make sure to keep adding value to your audience. You might find that your fitness and business books are great, but your quilting books are selling much better and you enjoy that subject more. Then I would recommend focusing on that. It’s great to have multiple interests and passions, but if you’re looking to build a serious, sustainable business, sometimes you have to just focus on one topic for a while.
How to Sell More Books Every Day

Now that you understand you must focus on your audience, add more value, and be consistent, it’s time to get serious. You must begin to implement this strategy or else you’ll forget about it and wonder why you can’t seem to earn enough to get by.

Pick One Idea and Become the Best

The problem with the list of products and services you can create is that it’s too big to be actionable. Sure, it’s great to have a goal to create all of those different products over the next 5-10 years, but what are you going to do this month or this week?

In my experience, it’s best to just pick one idea and become the best I can possibly be at implementing that one idea. Maybe for you, it’s writing that next book. Or maybe it’s creating a podcast show or a video training course. Whatever it is, take that idea and run with it.

Right now, write down that one thing you want to create for your audience this year. Then get started.

You might even want to schedule time in your calendar each week to work on that new project. If you hope and wish and pray for a new book, it might not happen. But if you schedule it into your calendar, you’ve got a much better shot.

About the Author

Tom-Corson-KnowlesTom Corson-Knowles is the international bestselling author of The Kindle Publishing Bible and 19 other books. He is also the founder of Ebook Publishing School, a free video training program for authors, and the Publishing Profits Podcast Show where he interviews publishing experts about what it takes to succeed as an author today.

Tom is also a publisher at TCK Publishing, an independent book publishing company that specializes in publishing and marketing books online.

You can connect with Tom on Twitter or Facebook.

Photo courtesy of: CarbonNYC via photopin cc

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