For most authors, unless a book is a huge bestseller, it is challenging to make a living from book sales alone. We authors often supplement our income by giving speeches on subjects we’ve become expert in, or getting hired as consultants and coaches. But why stop there? The idea of better monetizing our skills also doesn’t have to end with the written or spoken words, or service providers, such as coaches and consultants, especially if you have other artistic talents, such as painting or music.
Here are 25 ways to monetize your expertise:
- Train others to spread your message like Dale Carnegie. Productivity expert and bestselling author Julie Morgenstern is just one of many examples of authors and experts who are doing this. (Go to http://juliemorgenstern.com/Organizing_institute.php to find out more about Morgenstern’s Organizing Institute training workshops.)
- Become a spokesperson for a company, product, service, or association related to your topic or area of expertise.
- Get corporate or association sponsors for your book or product.
- Imprint for sale clothing products, such as a T-shirt, hat, or apron, with your message, your name, company name, product title/name, or a quote from your book. (For an example of how this is done, or to order products, visit my publishing company’s store: http://www.cafepress.com/hannacroixcreekbooks.)
- Imprint for sale other products or novelty items with your book title or core message, such as mugs, pens, pencils, umbrella, sewing or first aid kit. (Of course make sure you have the right to reuse the cover in this way through an agreement with the original publisher and/or graphic designer.)
- Create a calendar based on your material.
- Use your material for a customized appointment book.
- Develop an app. (Karen Robertson, a children’s book author, whose app is called “Treasure Kai and the Lost Gold of Shark Island,” has become an expert on developing apps from books. She is the author of What is a Book App and Could YOU Create One? How 27 Writers Did! and Author’s Guide to Book Apps. For more information go to: http://digitalkidsauthor.com/)
- Turn your book or knowledge it into a one-person show.
- Use your book or material for a 45 minutes keynote.
- Sell foreign language editions to international publishers. There are more than 50 languages you can sell to although there are a core of 10 to 20 of the most popular languages to target. (Send me an e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> if you want to be notified when my book, Foreign Rights and Wrongs, is available for sale or to be on the mailing list to be notified about my next webinar or seminar on this topic.)
- Sell an English language reprint into other markets/territories, such as the United Kingdom, India, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Nigeria.
- Create a product that builds on a concept developed in the book/your talk/your area of expertise. For example, you could develop a game that is based on your area of expertise.
- Teach a course on your book or topic at a local college or adult education center. My very first published nonfiction book, The Vegetable Passion, was the outgrowth of a course I was teaching at The New School, “A History of Vegetarianism.” An editor at Scribner’s contacted me before I even taught the first class, sharing that she had seen the course description in the school’s bulletin, and she wondered if I had ever thought of writing a book on the subject. Pictured here is the reprint edition of that book now available as an e-book.
- Offer a workshop, from a 45 minute break-out session, or 1-1/2 hour workshop, to a longer three hour version.
- Offer an all-day seminar.
- Offer a two-day seminar.
- Turn it into an all-day workshop with guest speakers.
- Expand to a weekend retreat (Friday night to Sunday after breakfast or lunch).
- Create downloadable content that you give away or that requires payment.
- Turn your book or speech into a one-act or full-length play.
- On your own, collaborating with a screenwriter, or selling the film rights to your book, adapt your book into a screenplay as the basis of a feature movie or use your expertise for the core of a documentary.
- Turn your novel into the basis of a musical. That’s what happened with John Grisham’s first novel, A Time to Kill, which became a 2013 Broadway musical, of the same name. A Time to Kill is just another example of a long list of novels that have become musicals, to little or great success, such as the musical Charlotte’s Web, based on E.B. White’s novel, and the musical Big Fish, based on Daniel Wallace’s 1998 novel.
Isn’t it productive to find one or multiple ways to get more monetary and even creative mileage out of that book, speech, art work, song, or area of expertise? Definitely!