by Nina Amir
You might be patting yourself on the back for producing your first eBook—or even for coming up with your first book idea and for setting the goal of writing and publishing it in the near future.
Guess what? The majority of authors don’t make any “real” money until they’ve published at least three books! Hybrid authors, those who have both traditionally published and self-published books, don’t tend to earn a living from their books until they have 12…yes, 12…books on the market.
It’s no wonder that traditional publishers prefer to work with authors who have ideas for more than one book; they figure they stand to make more money on their investment.
Indeed, the more books you write, the more books you sell. This goes back to The Long Tail Effect, which says that if you have more than one book in the market readers will likely purchase those older books once they find your current book.
That’s why it behooves you early on in your career as a writer and author to determine if, indeed, you will become a multiple-book author and, if so, what types of books you will write. This allows you to map out your path to Successful Authorship and to create a set of directions to follow to get to this destination.
If you don’t do this, you later may discover you have traveled along the publishing path in a meandering fashion that took you hither and yon but left you lost and your potential readers without a clear trail of breadcrumbs to use to follow along behind you.
You don’t want that to happen.
Brainstorm Your Future Books
To avoid this problem, take time to brainstorm any potential books you might write.
These could be follow-up books, spin-offs or sequels. And ask yourself this question:
Is it possible that I could, indeed, become a multiple-book author?
If so, write a title and pitch (short summary or elevator speech) for each one. Then determine how each book relates to each other and in what logical sequence to write and publish them.
For example, one chapter in my book How to Blog a Book describes what I called the “proposal process.” When I wrote it, I had already conceived my next book, The Author Training Manual, which elaborates on that chapter. There is one chapter in The Author Training Manual that leads logically to a book I want to write in the future as well.
I’ve already brainstormed about 14 more books! Some pertain to different subjects, but I have determined a sequence so each one leads to the next in a way that makes sense.
If you are a novelist, you might have sequels to your current book. Or you might have ideas for other novels in the same genre or that have similar themes.
Memoirists could have novels or other types of nonfiction that spin-off based on themes and subjects.
To determine in what order to write and publish your books, answer these questions:
- Which book should follow my current project?
- Which book supports the first (or next)?
- Which book comes after that?
More Books, Better Brand
As a multiple-book author, you have a great opportunity to create an author brand. Look at all of your book ideas. Maybe you have three or five on the same basic topic. Maybe you have fifteen varying in subject matter.
Can you find an “umbrella” to tie them all together, something that links everything? To do so, answer this question:
How do all of these books fit together into a meaningful theme or in what way do they all do something similar for my readers?
A series of books, a certain type of books or a group of books in a particular subject area can become your author brand. They can become your area of expertise, your unique label or the “thing” for which you are known.
If you have trouble brainstorming books or determining how to make this exercise work for you, start with the brand and work out from there. Answer these questions:
- How do I want to be known as an author?
- What type of books do I want to write?
- What themes do I want to cover or what subjects do I want to write about?
- What are my values and how will I carry these out in my work?
- What is my purpose or calling, and how will this be part of my work?
- How will all my books be similar?
Then create your first book idea to support your brand, the second, and so on.
How and when your roll out your books—and what books you decide to write—then will become obvious.
This exercise will produce a clear map with directions for your trip to Successful Authorship. And you will become successful because you will sell more books under one brand. That should result in greater income for you as an author.
This article was originally published on The Future of Ink and is reprinted here in its entirety for our Magnolia Media Network readers.