Friday, June 4, 2010

Beyond Books: Building Multiple Streams of Income

by Dana Lynn Smith

It takes a lot of time and effort to attract people to your website and blog, so it's important to maximize your income opportunities from those visitors. Below are some ideas for earning money from products and services other than print books.


The easiest way to create an ebook is to convert your printed book to a PDF document. Nonfiction authors may also want to spin out portions of the book into several smaller ebooks or create ebooks that expand on the information in their printed book. You can also create ebooks by combining or expanding on articles you have already written.

If you'd like to publish in a variety of ebook formats, check into Smashwords. For a 15% sales commission, with no upfront fees, they will convert your book into several ebook formats and handle the online orders and payment processing for you. Book formats on Smashwords include PDF documents and formats that can be read by ebook readers and devices like Kindle, Sony Reader, iPod, and Palm. Smashwords is a good way to get started with ebooks.

Teleseminars and Audio Products

Free teleseminars are a great way to promote your products and services, but nonfiction authors can also earn income from hosting paid teleseminars or webinars. Be sure your paid sessions provide excellent value for the dollar and record the session for those who cannot attend.

Informational teleseminars, in-depth interviews, or live presentations can also be recorded and sold as a CD or downloadable MP3 file. Many authors charge extra for a written transcript of their teleseminars and audio products.

Package Deals

Increase your order size by offering add-on products for an additional fee. For example, when promoting your ebook, offer a companion audio product for a small additional fee. Novelists can offer several books together at a package discount. Children's books can be paired with companion products like stuffed toys that relate to the story. Package prices should reflect a discount of 20% to 30% of the price of the products purchased separately.

Home Study Courses

Once you have content in several formats, such as books, audio, and video, you can package them together into a comprehensive "home study course."Some courses also include individual or group coaching sessions. These courses are often presented in a three-ring binder which includes the printed text and sleeves containing the CDs or DVDs. Like packages, the price should reflect a discount off the prices of the separate products.


To sell your information products, you'll need to have an ecommerce system to process payments. Clickbank and Paypal are among the easiest to set up. Other choices include ecommerce processors such as Plimus. If you expect to generate more than $2,000 a month in online sales, consider getting your own merchant credit card account and setting up a shopping cart system. Kathleen Gage offers a free tutorial on choosing a shopping cart. If you publish ebooks through Smashwords, they will handle the payment processing for you.

Affiliate Programs

All authors and small publishers should belong to the Amazon Associates affiliate program. In addition to collecting a commission on sales of your own book, you can promote non-competing books and a myriad of other products. For example, cookbook publishers can promote their favorite small appliances and authors of parenting books can promote children's products available on

Many nonfiction authors offer their own affiliate programs, so check to see if there's a program for your favorite information products. You can also find affiliate programs on sites like Commission Junction. To maintain your credibility, only promote quality products that you believe in.


The easiest way to earn advertising revenue is to sign up for the Google AdSense program. But think carefully whether the ads will detract from your site and whether you might have a problem with inappropriate ads appearing. Because just a tiny percentage of visitors will click on the ads, you need a lot of traffic to make any money.

If your site gets a significant amount of traffic, you may be able to sell banner ad space or sponsorships to other organizations that want to reach your target market. This can be done manually on a small scale—just set aside one or more ad spots on your site and charge advertisers by the month for those spots. Run your own ads to fill any blank spots.

There are a variety of ways to generate additional revenue. Just be creative and look for things that are a good fit for your business and your book.

Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and author of the Savvy Book Marketer Guides. For more tips, follow @BookMarketer on Twitter, visit Dana's blog at , and get a copy of the Top Book Marketing Tips ebook when you sign up for her free newsletter at

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Informative article, thanks for sharing.