Build your book into a business

Rarely can an author make a living solely from book sales. However, authors can achieve their dream of independence by building a business around their books.

Creating a business centered on your published works largely means monetizing your expertise. For example, you could deliver a service or provide products related to your book. You might sell attendance at workshops, online courses, teleseminars and webinars or videos that you offer about your book’s topic.

People always want and are willing to pay for expert advice. Writing a book on a topic – presuming you seriously researched it – makes you an expert. So long as your writing develops reader trust and likability, this expert status allows you to use your books as a springboard for selling related services and products.

Once you’ve published a book, ask yourself how you might sell services or products based on your title’s subject. If you’ve published a book on canoeing or kayaking, for example, you might offer outfitting services. If you’ve written about personal finance, offering investment consulting services makes sense.

To get business for your service, become a public speaker and offer workshops, classes, teleseminars and webinars about the topic. The fact that you’ve written a book makes you an expert who can give such presentations, which in turn creates opportunities to pitch your book. Such events also can help you leverage media appearances. Ultimately, however, the presentations and your books aim to generate personal services – like the aforementioned outfitter or investment consultant – that pay far more dollars to you than public appearances or royalties.

Many products beyond books also can be sold. For example, if a nutritionist or a dietician, you might create food products that follow your recommended meal plans. Or you might simply offer coffee mugs and T-shirts with your brand name on them.

Building a business around your book does mean you that you’ll spend less time writing. In fact, you’ll need to keep penning and publishing new books related to your business; the outfitter, for example, might pen kayaking river guides, while the personal finance author might knock out books about niche topics, such as investing in the stock market or how to save for your kid’s college education.

Your writing, presentations and services always benefit one another. After all, experts who offer services and products sell more books. As people learn about your services and products, visits to your website and attendance at your presentations will rise, generating more awareness of and interest in your books and services. More book sales in turn means more business and people attending your events. So long as your books and presentations help people to at least partially solve their problem, they will seek you out to meet additional, related problems that they experience.

Even better, as you provide more people with products or a service that they need, you develop ideas for new books, while high sales of particular titles you’ve written can help shift the direction of your business to areas that are more lucrative.

Admittedly, building a business based on your book does more readily lend itself to nonfiction authors. Writers who’ve published multiple books on the same topic or in the same genre also will find their efforts easier going. However, many novelists and authors of a lone title with a little creativity have successfully built a business around their book, usually in the fields of coaching other writers or manuscript editing.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.