Make More from Your Books

How to get more, make more, and do more with your writing so you can become a profitable writer.

Dollar bills falling from the sky

I can remember being told as a young girl that writing wasn’t a “real career” since most writers never made much money. They usually needed day jobs just to make ends meet, and even a lot of the famous ones died broke.

Then, there were the exceptions to the rule. J.K. Rowling, for instance, hit the billionaires list. That’s billion with a B.

So I began to study up on what she did differently and that led me to studying what all truly wealthy people do that most writers don’t do: They take each book and turn it into multiple streams of income.

For fiction writers, here are 10 ideas to get you started:

  1. Have an indie artist create character sketches for each of the main characters in your books. Pair those character sketches with a favorite quote from that character and turn the artwork and open a store on Zazzle or CafePress. Create all the products you can create with the image and the quote and let your fans know where to find them.
  2. Work with an indie musician and create a song for each character plus a song for each major turn in the plots you’re writing. Agree to split the proceeds you make. Sell the music on Spotify.
  3. Turn the book into a screenplay for a movie or television show, depending on which is more appropriate and shop that screenplay out to places like Amazon or Netflix.
  4. Did your character have jewelry or an object that they carried with them? Have a 3d model artist design it for you (along with the characters you had created in step 1) and then order 3d prints of them to use as a mold. Make those available for sale on places like Etsy.
  5. Turn the character art and the jewelry sketch-ups into fabric, wallpaper, and home decor designs using Spoonflower.
  6. Create a game around the content in the book. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be a simple card game like Memory.
  7. License the rights to the world and characters you built in your books. Cultivate your fan fiction writers into a source of income by allowing them to purchase licenses that include the lore you developed around that world, or to license the rights to use certain characters in your books in their books, and make an agreement with them that includes a small percentage of the profits they make off every book they sell. To ensure they don’t do anything you wouldn’t want them to do with your work, make sure you include a clause that requires your approval prior to publication as a condition of the license.
  8. Publish books that include the character and world backstories you created as you were writing these books.
  9. Develop non-fiction books around the research you did as you were writing.
  10. Create a free membership for a fan site and then sell VIP memberships that include a monthly Zoom or Google Meetup where they get to chat with you and ask you questions. Let them earn points for every month they maintain VIP status and then let them buy some of these extra goodies with those points.

For non-fiction writers, here are 10 ideas to get you started:

  1. Create a card deck of quotes that capture key points in your book to make them easier for people to review.
  2. Take some of your more quotable quotes and pair them with creative commons images and turn those into art work that can be sold through sites like Zazzle or CafePress.
  3. If the non-fiction book is a how-to, create kits that contain the ingredients to create the projects in your book and offer those for sale on your website. Also offer done-for-you packages that come pre-assembled. (As crazy as this sounds, sometimes after reading a how-to people discover it’s harder than they thought and decide it’s easier or faster to have it done for them.)
  4. If the non-fiction book focuses on history or geography, create tour packages: A virtual tour, a self-guided tour, and one that is guided by you. Charge more for the one you guide.
  5. Create tote bag packages that contain your book, a journal, and the card deck in one.
  6. Create workshops and courses around your content.
  7. Develop a podcast around the main theme of your book and interview experts that have something to contribute to the topic.
  8. Create a game that helps people explore the concepts covered in your book.
  9. Create a fiction book around the non-fiction content you wrote to introduce a whole new audience to the content you’ve created and open up brand new opportunities.
  10. Develop a reality TV show concept around your non-fiction book and pitch it to places like Amazon or Netflix.

Always remember: The book itself won’t make you wealthy. It’s everything you do WITH that book that will.

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