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. The two might 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
Around 2008 or 2009, I conceived “the proposal process” and a book to take aspiring authors through that process. I wrote a short ebook to test the market; it was called How to Evaluate Your Book for Success. 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 in that book could—and should—be applied to any book idea prior to it being written, I included a chapter on the proposal process , or how to create a business plan for a book, in How to Blog a Book.
This move was strategic. It set me up 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.) It is an entire book on how to craft a marketable book—one that will sell—using a business plan for a book.
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, but it remains related to The Author Training Manual.
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. This helps you succeed as an author.
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 books 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.
You might sell books that are unrelated in topic as well. 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.Your List of Forthcoming Books Keeps You Moving Forward I have found that having a strategy for producing 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, writing spin-off books means I keep building my author platform with the books I write. I keep strengthening my brand, and I keep writing.
My list of forthcoming books is 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.