Creating Multiple Streams of Income
for Your Author Business
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Welcome to this week’s episode of the Indie Author Biz Guide podcast. In this episode, I talk about the importance of having multiple streams of revenue. I share ideas for both fiction and nonfiction authors of what you can do with your valuable intellectual property to add more streams of income to your authorpreneur business.
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Hey fellow Indie Authors! Welcome to this week’s episode of the Indie Author Biz Guide Podcast. In this episode, I talk about the importance of having multiple streams of revenue and give you some ideas of what you can do with your valuable intellectual property to add more streams of income to your authorpreneur business. Listen to the end for a free resource you can download to help you in your indie author business.
Welcome to the Indie Author Biz Guide Podcast. I’m Tora Moon, genre bending fantasy and sci fi author, indie business author, and entrepreneur. Here we talk about the business of self-publishing, or as I prefer to call it, indie publishing.
As an indie author, you have entered the wonderful world of entrepreneurship. On this show, I guide you through the rocky waters of the indie publishing industry. I share business basics and principles you can apply to your author business, really, any business. Other indie authors share their experiences and expertise to give you insight in your career and build your business.
You can download your free indie author business checklist, find additional resources, and the show notes at Indie Author Biz Guide dot com. And now, here’s today’s episode.
Every business has cycles within their fiscal year. Every business has its ups and its downs, and it has a natural flow and rhythm to it. And you won’t know this when you first start your business. You may find in the author publishing business that your sales might be higher in November and December when people are buying gifts for friends. And you might also see a uptick in January when people are buying books with gift cards they receive for holidays. You may also see a lower period and lower sales in the summertime when people are out and about and doing things and aren’t reading as much.
So what can you do to even out those ups and downs?
One of the ways that you can do that is through having multiple streams of income because this can mitigate and even out those fluctuations.
You as an author, whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, the things that you are creating from your imagination, from your creativity, is extremely valuable. It’s called intellectual property. And you can use that in multiple ways to generate multiple streams of revenue. And this is one of the reasons why I like being an indie author, is I can make those decisions and I’m not limited in what I can do with my intellectual property.
If you are a traditionally published author, you need to look at your contract to see what you can do or can’t do with your intellectual property. What rights and restrictions has the publisher placed on you when they purchased your rights? So this discussion is going to go with the assumption that you’re an independent publisher and that you own all the rights to your intellectual property.
INCOME STREAM IDEAS
For fiction authors, we can expand and have multiple streams of revenue from our books in the following ways, and many of these are also appropriate for nonfiction writers.
NUMBER ONE: MULTIPLE FORMATS
Number one, we can have multiple formats of our books. We can start when we’re first publishing, we may start with just an e-book. That’s fine. Those are pretty easy to get out and to publish. And as we go along, we can add another format such as a print book. We can add audiobooks, whether you narrate them yourselves or hire that out with the voice actor. You can do large print. A lot of people are now liking large print. You know, they’re having problems reading, so they like a larger print. If you’re doing fiction, and nonfiction too, people like reading hardbacks. You can make that hardback as part of your premium product and make it really special.
NUMBER TWO: MULTIPLE SERIES OR RELATED BOOKS
Number two, you can have more than one series. And when you’re writing nonfiction, that would be you were to have more than one book. Or like, I write nonfiction and I have a series. My series is the Indie Author Guides. I could possibly do another series that would be guides for entrepreneurs that’s not focused on publishing that it’s focusing on other businesses. And I could have multiple books in that series.
Now, if you’re writing in a genre which isn’t series, then what you would do is have multiple books. If it’s a mystery, and you have standalone mysteries. Or think about, can you do that mystery set in this world and have it those worlds connected?
Paranormal romance or romance does this quite frequently. The books are standalone, but it’s in the same world. You have the books about one couple, but you have the second couple gets introduced or is part of that first one. So there’s a little bit of a continuation so that people want to read and want to read more about this world.
NUMBER THREE: MULTIPLE GENRES OR PEN-NAMES
Number three, we can write in different genres or subgenres. And if you’re doing this in different genres, you may consider having a pen name so that people know that when you get a Tora Moon book, you’re going to get a genre bending fantasy and sci fi and whatever subgenre within there. Now, if I were to write a mystery thriller that would really confuse my readers, so I might want to do a pen name of something else. I don’t do that, so I don’t have another pen name figured out yet. But that’s where you would use a second pen name.
Each pen name is an author brand, and readers can learn to expect certain things from that author brand name, but it also increases your streams of revenue. So if this book over here isn’t doing so well, this one over here might be or you might have a different cycle for your cozy mysteries than you do for your paranormal romances. They’re different readers. So they’re very definitely could be a different sales cycle. And when that happens, then your income evens out. You’re not having the high peaks and high *low* valleys.
And this could apply to nonfiction as well, you can write a nonfiction about book publishing. Then you can write another nonfiction about reading tarot cards. There’s a disconnect there. So if I did that, I might consider having a pen name for the one where I’m writing about tarot cards and other forms of divination.
NUMBER FOUR: MULTIPLE PLATFORMS
So number four, you can sell on multiple platforms and in multiple ways that increases your visibility and it also increases your streams of revenue.
If you are only in Kindle Unlimited and the Select program, you’ve got one stream of income now only from there. And if that’s the case, then you definitely might want to consider putting your print books wide because you can’t have your eBooks wide, because you’re locked into that exclusivity with Amazon. You can put your other books in other places like: sell them on your website, do your print book on Ingram Spark, so then now it’s available all over. You can make it available to libraries. That’s part of that multiple income.
If you have multiple formats, you can also sell multiple platforms. For e-books, this would include Kobo and Apple Books, Barnes Noble. If you’re distributing through draft to digital, and I can speak to that because that’s the service that I use, some of the others I’m not sure, but with Draft to digital, my books are available to libraries and that gives you another source of income. So you’re not just relying on one source.
And while we’re talking about that, one of the reasons you would do that not only to even out your income, but then you’re not subject to the capriciousness of one platform. Something happens, your account gets disabled at Amazon, you still have other places for your book is selling.
If you listened to episode four on the Top Ten Things for Business Success, number four was “play in your own sandbox”. And this is playing in your own sandbox and not relying on just one platform that isn’t your sandbox. You have no control over what Amazon does or Kobo or any of these other platforms. So if you have your book on multiple ones, then if something happens with one, you still have an income.
NUMBER FIVE: RELATED MERCHANDISE
Number five, you can sell book related merchandise. We talked about maps. That’s a good one. You could sell….hmm… so Sentinel Witches my character, Catlyn makes jewelry. One of the things I could possibly do is sell the type of jewelry that she makes.
You could do mugs or other things. However, I have to warn you, be careful of using your book cover on merchandise, because in most cases, you don’t have a commercial license for the stock photos used in that book cover. And you don’t own the copyright to your cover. Your graphic designer does. They’ve licensed that cover to you to use on your book and in your marketing. And that’s generally the license that they buy for the stock images. It’s more expensive to buy a commercial use license for stock photos, even if you’ve got Deposit Photos. Those are not licensed for commercial use. They’re for marketing. And if you want to create a product with those, you need to buy the commercial license for it.
NUMBER SIX: AFFILIATE INCOME
Number six, you can do affiliate income. And most distributors, not just Amazon, have where you can sign up for affiliate programs so that any people that you direct to their website using your affiliate code you get credit for and then you get, you know, a little bit of money, a few pennies, for what they buy because of you directing them. You can put your affiliate numbers on your books to read links.
You want to be careful of how you use those because you really can’t use them in your newsletter. That’s a violation, so read the terms of service for anything that you do, that’s part of you being a responsible business owner is making sure you’re using things according to the terms of service.
For nonfiction authors, quite often you can get into affiliate marketing programs where I’m marketing your program to my newsletter, and anybody who signs up from that affiliate link, I get a percentage of what they signed up for. And that’s really common in the nonfiction world and in coaching and consulting.
NUMBER SEVEN: OFFER SERVICES
And the seventh thing that you can do is offer services. So you get really good at formatting your books. Maybe you could offer that as a service to other authors who don’t like to format their books, don’t have the program for it, don’t want to get the program for it, but they need their books formatted. You can’t just take your word document and load that up. If you want a pretty book and you want it to work right, you need to format it properly in the epub format. You need to properly format your print books so that things are the way that they’re supposed to be. That when somebody opens up your book, they’re not going to say, Oh, this is a do it yourselfer. No, you want it looking professional.
You could offer consulting services. Like that’s one of the things that I’m starting to do is I’m offering consulting services and coaching services to help other authors in their author business. If you’re really good with marketing, you can offer your services to help people with their marketing. Point out what they can do, what, how to load up your book on Google Play and put all the metadata so that it shows up and sells better. People need that help so you can offer those services.
For nonfiction authors their writing may not be their main source of income like it would be for a fiction author. You would have another practice that you’re doing, that you’re doing consulting or coaching, or you’re a healer…hm… you’re an accountant.
NONFICTION REVENUE STREAMS IDEAS:
ONE: SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS
Other things that nonfiction authors can do with their IP is one, you can add workbooks to go along with your book or planner or some other supplemental material that goes with your book, and that could apply to some of the other things that you offer.
Is there a supplemental material that you could offer to your coaching clients in and above your coaching? That could be an additional stream of revenue.
TWO: SPEAKING GIGS
Two, you could do speaking. You can put together several topics and get on the speaker circuit to talk about your topic at conferences and symposiums and seminars and other things. This is also available to fiction authors, we can do speaking.
With speaking, one of the ways that it can be another revenue stream is you may be given an honorarium or a speaking fee, or you use it as a marketing tool to market your other products and services, and it helps people get to know who you are.
THREE: PODCAST & VIDEO CASTS
Number three, you could have a podcast and or a video cast to share the information that you have in your expertise. Fiction authors could also do a podcast where they’re talking about books in their genre and talking to other authors in their genre. You could do a podcast of…so you write mysteries, so you could talk about mysteries and do a podcast about that. And at the same time, you’re using that as a marketing source for your books.
And as part of podcasts and video casts, you can become a guest on podcasts. And this is available to both fiction and nonfiction authors. Look at the podcasts that you’re interested in. Listen to them. Watch them. And those that you think that you have a topic that would fit that podcast and that podcast audience, quite often podcasters are looking for guests and they might have a guest application. Or you can approach them with, Hey, I’ve listened to your podcast, I really like it. I think your audience would enjoy this topic that I can speak about.
And when you’re approaching podcasters, you make sure that it isn’t about what the podcast can do for you, but what you can do for the podcast. Because that podcast is has an audience that it’s serving. So you want to make sure that what you’re doing is also serving that audience. And yes, it can be serving yourself and it can give you an opportunity to market your books or services or be more visible. And I’ve been on several podcasts and they’re great fun.
FOUR: COURSES & WORKSHOPS
Number four, as a nonfiction author, you can do workshops, masterclasses or courses. And your book can be the basis for these, or the book can come out from teaching courses or the things that you teach or your consulting and your coaching, you see the same type of problem over and over, so you write a book about it. That gives you another source of income.
FIVE: CONSULTING & COACHING
And of course, number five for nonfiction would be having your consulting or coaching or your other practice, and that’s probably your main source of income and all of these are other things.
SIX: BOOKS TO MARKET YOUR SERVICES
One of the reasons nonfiction people write a book is it becomes their marketing materials, almost a business card, if you will, for their consulting or coaching programs. It lets people know what they do. It teaches them something, solves a problem for them, and that their coaching or consulting goes on to solve other problems related to that.
In conclusion, it’s a really good idea to think about what you can do to put multiple streams of income into your author business.
One, it helps stabilize your business. It flattens out the fluctuations in your business cycle.
Number two, it gives you more financial security because you have more streams of income and more ways to make money. If something happens to one of those, you still have others that you can rely on for money coming in.
Number three, for creatives, which those of us who write are creatives, it gives us various ways and other ways to express our creativity. Which for me that’s a really important thing, is I write because I’m a very creative person, but I also express my creativity in other ways, and having other sources of income and other income streams lets me express that creativity in other ways.
So action steps that you could take to add more income streams to your business, I would encourage you to look at your current IP and what aren’t you doing with it. Where could you add another stream of revenue to it? If all you have are e-books, is it time to add a print book or maybe add an audio book?
Number two, maybe it’s time to write in another genre under a pen name and add more streams. Or for nonfiction, have you considered if there’s a workbook or other supplemental materials that could be offered along with your book or along with your course that would add another stream of income? Or perhaps it’s time to create a course around your book’s topic, especially if you write nonfiction.
And that’s part of what I’m doing, is I’m working on producing a course that goes along with my Business and Accounting for Authors. The book is the basis and part of it, but you’re also getting more information in the course. And it’s going to add another stream of income for my author business.
If you need help, my micro coaching or business development consulting would be ideal for you.
You can find out more information about these programs and all of my author services on my website at: Indie Author Biz Guide dot com. I hope this episode has helped you in your author business and figuring out how you can add more sources of income to your business. I will see you on the next episode.
Thanks for listening to this episode of the Indie Author Biz Guide Podcast. I hope you found value in it.
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Thank you, and I hope you have an amazing day!