What Will Be the Lifespan of Your Book? Plan While You Are Writing It!

489343960 364daa0308 m What Will Be the Lifespan of Your Book? Plan While You Are Writing It!
Image by Billie Hara via Flickr

Is your book dated? As you are writing, ask yourself:

  • Is this a book I can sell forever?
  • Am I jumping on a trend and expect it to be over in 2-5 years (and that is okay)?
  • Is this a book that will be dated, but I can do revisions and continue to resell it?

The goal as an author, I believe, should be to aim for number 1 or 3 if possible.  I had actually planned to do a revised version of So You Want to Start a Chronic Illness Pain Ministry, but as I flipped through it and started planning, it turned into an entirely different book, How to Start a Chronic Illness Small Group Ministry. It went from 70 pages to over 300 and is much more thorough, based on my years of experience between the two books and the hundreds of emails I’d answered with people’s questions. It just made sense to write a new book, not revise the older one.

Is your material going to quickly be dated? If you are writing on the topic of using Facebook to market your business, realize that if you are going with a traditional publisher, by the time the book is published, it may be outdated. And the people who would typically be your best consumers will realize this. As they are doing an Amazon.com search for books on this topic, they will sort by “date published.”

You may also be eater to do a revised version in five or ten years, but write about topics where you are the expert and will always be referred to as such in that field.

One example is, the originally self-published, “What Color is Your Parachute?” Obviously, how one looks for a job has changed considerably since the book was originally written in 1978, but people are still looking for jobs! So author, Richard Nelson Bolles, recently put out a newly revised edition. (Visit Amazon here to see just how many revisions!)

If you decided to write something like “chick lit” that talks about watching American Idol and hanging out at Starbucks, it may appear very dated in just five years (Okay, Starbucks will always be around, but they’ll probably be much more than a coffee house in five years, right?) And with Simon Cowell leaving AI this week, well, that season of interest has long since passed by.

It’s a general consensus that you make more money with a good back-list title than you can be as a best-seller. A backlist book can sell for decades.  This is a good thing to consider while writing your book. Do you want or expect to rewrite it in a few years, and what is your publisher’s expectations?

 What Will Be the Lifespan of Your Book? Plan While You Are Writing It!

Connect with Magazines to Become an Expert

magazines

magazines Connect with Magazines to Become an Expert
Magazines can be an excellent way to get your name out there in the public eye and be seen as an expert. If you are a reader of a magazine, you may realize that you quickly jump over the credentials of many experts when you are reading. But when the expert’s web site is given, or book name, as in Mary Smith, founder of “www.greatsite.info” , if the reader is interested they will make a note of it. Plus, writers and editors of other magazines read and study the magazines. If you are being quotes as an expert, it’s assumed that the other magazine has done their homework and that you really are a useful source!

I subscribed to about 30 magazines, everything from Woman’s Day to Christian Retailing, US News to Arthritis Today. I splurge about once a month and buy a People Magazine. I recently found very useful information about a person’s chronic illness in People when no other magazine I’d read (or even the Today Show) had mentioned. Since I am in the illness field, this was information I definitely wanted!

It may sound like a fortune to subscribe to all these magazines but I use some great services like Best Deal Magazines and others. Just Google “discount magazine subscriptions” for all kinds of magazine subscriptions that are $4-$6 per subscription–Often the cost of just one issue at your store.

I stack them up and then I go through this like a whirlwind with a big pen and scissors. I am looking for a variety of information, such as

  • Articles on topics I write on. What magazines are covering my topic that I should contact with a different slant?
  • Where could I offer good sidebar information?
  • What editor would I contact to let him or her know that I can be called to comment on certain topics?
  • What articles could I query them for?

Since I also have my own magazine, HopeKeepers, I am also looking for

  • Possible advertisers. Who is advertising where?
  • Writers or experts I should make a note of for my own publication
  • What’s “hot” and what’s “not”
  • News I may have missed on different topics

Lastly, one of the best tips I can give is to get out your book. Go through it chapter by chapter, thinking like a magazine editor and recognize what areas could make good excerpts for a magazine, or what quotes could be pulled from it. What parts of it would make a good sidebar to an article the magazine may want one of their writers to do? Grab a stack of your books, one for each magazine you are targeting and go through it and put post it’s on the pages that would be a good fit. What different slants can you give it?

For my book Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend I can pick out all kinds of slants, such as

  • How to encourage a chronically ill mom. Dad.
  • How to encourage the kids in the family
  • What can your kids do to help a family?
  • How to encourage a chronically ill co-worker
  • How to help a friend for uner $10
  • How to help a friend in less than 20 minutes

And this post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a great magazine resource, MrMagazine.com – check it out for lots of ideas!

 

Lisa and Joel Copen have a variety of experience in founding a nonprofit that receives over 80,000 visitors per month, music and sound editing, web design, and book marketing and publishing. They look forward to your ideas to make the series of ebooks on book promotion a practical tool to help you sell more books!

 Connect with Magazines to Become an Expert

© 2017 You Can Sell More Books All Rights Reserved