How to Sell More Books by Writing More Books

This post is a blogged draft excerpt from The Author Training Manual (Writer’s Digest Books, March 2014). Read the previous blogged excerpt, here.

Will you be more than a one-book author?If your book’s business plan includes spin-offs, a series of books or follow-up books related to the one you plan to write, it shows that you have a long-term view of your career as an author and the creativity and stamina to create that career. A series of books on a topic or a novel with sequels can build a brand for an author. A brand makes you more recognizable to readers, more “findable” on the internet and generally helps sell products. That’s attractive to any publisher, and makes you a stronger self-publisher.

Create a Long-Tail

The more you write and publish, the more products you sell. This is known as the Long Tail. If you want to know more about this, read Chris Anderson’s October 2004 article, “The Long Tail,” in Wired Magazine, or get the book he wrote based upon this article, called The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. Here’s how the long-tail principle might work for you: If your first book sells well enough for a publisher to want you to write a second book, and that book sells well enough for you to write a third, it’s possible your third book might become a bestseller. Then people who never heard of you before will discover your first two books and start buying them, making them bestsellers. Not only that, a book you self-published, say, four years before your first traditional publishing deal that you never bothered to promote (causing it to sell only about 200 copies in the last 10 years) suddenly gets discovered by some of your new fans. Thus, that book starts selling 100 or so copies per day. This is the Long Tail effect in action, and this is why agents and publishers look for writers with plans to write many books.

Practice Niche Craft

Michael Larsen call’s spin-offs “the hottest tip” in the 4th edition of his book, How to Write a Book Proposal. He explains that by coming up with multiple book ideas you use niche craft to create a career out of your book idea. He says, “Agents and editors don’t want literary one-night stands. They want to discover writers, not just books. Writers who turn out a book a year, each book better and more profitable than the last, are the foundation of successful agents and publishers.”

My Spin-off Success Story

I love spin-offs and have a long list of them for myself in my business plans. (This book, The Author’s Training Manual, which I am blogging on this site—click here to find all the posts, was listed as a spin-off in the proposal for my previous book, How to Blog a Book, both of which were purchased by Writer’s Digest Books.)In most cases, each book idea clearly has been conceived out of another; they follow logically one to the next and serve as a map for my career path. I actually have many interests, though. I’ve grouped some of these interests together to create two distinct subject areas in which I work and write: authorship/blogging and self-help/ spirituality. Although there are some books I’d prefer to write now, I’m traveling along the map in a logical manner. By taking the time periodically to review my spin-offs with my branding in mind—and my vision—I can determine how to bridge the gap between my two areas of interest.  And my readers, hopefully, will come along with me. In this way, I can build my brand and my readership for both types of books at the same time.

Demonstrate Investment Pay Off

Spin-offs show you are a good publishing partner because they demonstrate your future plans to produce books. Additionally, they improve your ability to function as a successful self-published author for all the same reasons—as you write more great books, you sell additional copies of all our books. Your investment has more potential to pay off if you publish more than one book.

The Author Training ManualNote: You can read additional blogged draft excerpts from my new book, The Author Training Manual (Writer’s Digest Books, March 2014) here. Only select pieces from the manuscript, a “working draft,” were posted—not the complete manuscript. Read the next post in the The Author Training Manual blogged-book series by clicking here. Purchase the book on, or at

LeaLearn how to become a successful authorrn how to create a successful book—one that sells to publishers and to readers—by developing an AUTHOR ATTITUDE and writing a BUSINESS PLAN for a MARKETABLE BOOK. Register for the AUTHOR TRAINING 101 Home-Study Course, and go from aspiring to successful published author! This course is based on The Author Training Manual. If you like what you’ve read here, you’ll love the course.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles |

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