The non-fiction author's guide to making money: Build a marketing platform, crea


The non-fiction author’s guide to making money


Build a marketing platform, create an online business, and sell digital information products as a passive income for higher profit


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You have knowledge or skills to share and make money from. You are probably a non-fiction author already, or have considered becoming one. You want to increase your authority, and make more money by selling your expertise.


This is an ideal start in creating a better future for yourself! Today is a great time to monetize yourself on a global scale. With the right steps, you can make a good passive income, or even a comfortable six-figure living.


But you need to know how. Uploading non-fiction books to Amazon and waiting for a lot of money to arrive might not be the best option. It might take you years of frustrating work to learn how to do it right, and you will most likely continue to make poor sales during this time. Instead, we offer you a shortcut to how to leverage your skills and knowledge for faster and more effective results.


This book provides the blueprint for how to do it. It will explain how to build an author marketing platform, how to build an automated marketing system, and how to create an online business and sell your knowledge at a premium price.


This book is based on over a decade of experience in Internet marketing, years of blogging, and extensive research on platform building, social media management, Internet marketing, book marketing, and related fields. The most important pieces of that information are distilled into this book, saving you hundreds of hours by providing the most important steps for you to follow.


Technical developments have now made it very easy to self-publish books, and almost anyone can do it. Just write the book, create an account on Amazon Kindle, and upload the manuscript file along with the cover design. It is incredibly rewarding to see your book published on Amazon or elsewhere, and it helps build your authority as an industry expert.


But you may have also learned how difficult it is to make money selling books these days, and this is no different for non-fiction authors. In fact, it might be a lot worse for non-fiction authors than fiction writers, as the market and sales volumes are much smaller.


Add two additional problems, and you definitely have an uphill battle if you want to make any meaningful income by monetizing your expertise by selling non-fiction books:


p<{color:#000;}. With millions of books now available on Amazon, competition is fierce and it is very difficult to make your book visible, even in narrow niches. Most books are invisible at launch, and then slowly sink to the bottom of the sales lists.


p<{color:#000;}. The prices for eBooks are ridiculously low. Most eBooks now sell for just a few dollars, and some only a few cents. Very few books above ten dollars manage to sell in volume, and even most one-dollar books don’t sell well.


In short, writing the book and putting it on Amazon for readers to buy is the easy part. The difficult part is getting the book to sell enough to generate a meaningful income stream. Many tricks can improve your book marketing and increase your sales, but only to a point—at least for most authors.


It is true there is a lot of money to be made in book sales, but it is difficult to become one of the few lucky authors that reach that point.


A better approach is to compliment and extend your book sales by creating an author marketing platform, and create an online business through which you sell the same knowledge and expertise at a much higher price.


This book, and the accompanying free video course, will teach you how!


The free video course is available here:



By following the advice in this book and in the video course, you can learn to effectively monetize your skills and sell the same knowledge at a hundred times the price of most eBooks. This is all done using the same information! You will learn how to repackage your product and sell it in another form at a much higher price.


This is not snake oil. There is a lot of that around, however, with bloggers promising to get you thousands of readers in a month, or make you a millionaire in a year. We don’t promise either of these things, but there are many examples of people now making a six- and seven-figure income by doing exactly what this book will teach you. You can too. Nothing comes free, though. It will take time and require consistent work, and perhaps some luck too.


In this book, you will find sound principles to get more website visitors, find more customers, and sell your knowledge and information products at a much higher price. This is the blueprint for how to go from mediocre sales and a low book income, to a real online business with a relevant revenue.

Find your niche and focus


One of your most important considerations before you do anything is to define your niche and focus. You may think that your knowledge or services are generic and apply to a large audience. This may well be so, but that line of thinking will not serve you well if you want to create a successful online business.


The problem is that the Internet is crowded these days. There are thousands of lawyers, financial advisors, life coaches, software developers, photographers and [fill in your industry or niche] with good visibility online already.


Unless you are in a very specialized niche, you are likely to face stiff competition from competitors who are already well-known to your audience. And so, even though your skills and services may well be useful for a large audience, the trick to building visibility on the Internet is to limit your focus to a much smaller niche where you can stand out from the crowd. In other terms, it is better to be a big fish in a small pond. We call this ‘niche-down’.


By focusing on a more specialized niche, you will also have to accept that you will not target a more general audience that could benefit from your skills and services. The key is to focus, focus, focus. 


Pick a niche as specific as possible, but not narrower than there is a market big enough to monetize. You will have to give this a lot of thought. Try to find the intersection of your passions and skills, and a profitable niche specific enough to differentiate from the larger and more generic markets with tougher competition. It is important to niche-down enough, particularly before you have a healthy volume of traffic visiting your website. 


For example, you may be a software developer writing books on iPhone app development. While you can sell books and other information products on this topic, it might be easier to succeed if you narrow down further to iPhone 3D game development. Thus, you have a better chance of becoming visible, to create authority, and to be perceived as an expert by a larger audience.


An additional advantage of focusing on a specific niche is that you can target the type of customers that are a better match for you. To sell something, potential customers must first be aware of you. Then they can begin to like you, and finally to trust you. Creating this trust chain is easier if you focus on a narrow niche in which your offering fits the customers perfectly.


Once you have found a unique position in a narrow niche where your skills or services fit the potential customers, you need to be able to sell something. To many, asking for the sale is a scary and difficult moment. In theory, it is actually quite simple. 


Since you will rarely be able to sell a product the potential customer does not want to buy or have any use for, it isn’t worth trying. You will fail almost every time.


Instead, focus on potential customers who already want or need your product. That way, it becomes easier to get the sale. Try to make the potential customer understand that the hard decision is not to make the purchase, but that without the purchase, their life will be more difficult. This is much easier if you focus on a narrow and specialized niche.

Create your home on the Internet


In the previous section, you learned to find a narrow and well-defined niche in which your skills and services fit the audience perfectly. The more specific your target, the more successful you will be—to a point. After all, your niche must be big enough to contain a sufficient number of people prepared to pay for your products. Later we will discuss what those products might be.


For now, we need to create the foundation of your online business. You need to have a home on the Internet, to which your audience and potential customers will come and find out more about your expertise, products, and services.


To most people, the natural answer is to set up a website. This is certainly true, but a surprisingly large number of authors use a Facebook page instead of a website. Why? Because it is so much easier. However, this is a very bad decision.


Your online platform is the basis of everything you do on the Internet, and if you run it only through Facebook, then it is not truly your own. Social media platforms come and go, they change their services or policies, or they may suddenly block your page or do something else that harms your ability to serve your customers.The other consideration is aesthetic and function. While social media platforms are becoming increasing sophisticated, you are still limited to their design restrictions and the function of their tool.


For this reason, you should not rely on a Facebook page as the foundation for your Internet presence. You need to build your own platform by having a website.


Luckily, creating your own website has never been easier. Here is how to create one:


p<{color:#000;}. Find and buy a domain name (such as www.monetizeknowledge.com) that is free and relates to yourself, your niche, or your business.

p<{color:#000;}. Chose a content management system with which to build your website. There are many such systems available, but we strongly recommend WordPress, as it is easy to use, has a large ecosystem of plugins and themes, and is an industry standard. You need to have very specific needs to justify choosing something else.

p<{color:#000;}. Rent a hosted website service that uses the content management system of your choice (such as WordPress). Many hosting suppliers exist, and can be found by doing a web search for ‘WordPress hosting’.

p<{color:#000;}. To personalize and improve the look and feel of your website, download a paid or free theme. A theme is a set of colors and designs that modify the look of your website. Tens of thousands of different themes exist for WordPress, making it easy to change the look and feel to anything you can imagine. WordPress themes can be found in many places, including through the website software itself.

p<{color:#000;}. Configure the theme after it’s installed, for example, by setting your logo and desired fonts and colors.

p<{color:#000;}. Build your website by adding pages, menus, sidebars, and more. Many WordPress themes come with sample pages you can use and edit.


One of the most important sections to add to your site is the blog. A blog is a free-flowing stream of informal articles on anything that relates to the topic of your niche or industry. You should add blog articles for years to come, preferably weekly. Blog articles should be educational or otherwise share genuinely useful or valuable information.


Blog articles serve several important purposes:


p<{color:#000;}. They create a natural place for search engines like Google to find and drive traffic to. Thus, blog articles are great traffic generators.

p<{color:#000;}. A continuous stream of educational and valuable content creates a reason for your website visitors to come back regularly.

p<{color:#000;}. As blog articles should share knowledge, thoughts, or otherwise be educational or informative, they help build trust and authority.

p<{color:#000;}. Blog articles are a great place to promote lead magnets (we’ll cover this a little later) or products, thus helping to push website visitors through the marketing funnel and closer to the sale.


By now, you should have the basics in place. You have chosen a narrow and well-defined niche with specific needs you can serve well, and you have built a home on the Internet as the foundation for all other Internet marketing and business activities, which we will discuss in the coming sections.

Building an email list


With a website and blog in place, you need to start building your email list (also known as the leads database, or just “list”). What is an email list, and why do you need one?


Having an anonymous website visitor is great, but getting their contact information is much better. That way, you can keep in contact with them, nurture their interest and build trust, and promote offers for your products.


But how do you get website visitors to give you their contact information? These days, offering a newsletter email is not enough to entice your audience.


The trick is to set up a leads generation system using a leads magnet. To harvest email addresses from your website, you should:


p<{color:#000;}. Create a free leads magnet—digital content your website visitors want to get. This can be, for example, an eBook, a short course delivered as emails, a video tutorial, a report, or something else you can offer for free that your audience is eager to get.

p<{color:#000;}. Create a landing page (a web page) that explains the benefits of the offer and delivers the lead magnet using automated emails after website visitors submit their contact information in a registration form on the landing page.

p<{color:#000;}. Add highly visible call-to-action buttons that promote the free lead magnet to all your web pages and blog articles. The buttons should have a strong signal color, actionable text like “Get your FREE eBook on [SUBJECT] now”, and redirect the visitor to the landing page offering the leads magnet.


With these three steps in place, you have an automated leads generation system that starts to collect email addresses. Please note the sequence above is the order you use when you build the system. The website visitors, on the other hand, experience the process in reverse order. They will:


p<{color:#000;}. Visit one of your web pages or blog articles (or read your book on Amazon Kindle)

p<{color:#000;}. Click a call-to-action button or hypertext link offering something they want for free, such as an eBook PDF (your leads magnet). The call-to-action button redirects the website visitor to the landing page.

p<{color:#000;}. Read more on the benefits of the offer on the landing page.

p<{color:#000;}. Submit their contact information in the registration form on the landing page.

p<{color:#000;}. Get the free leads magnet using an automated email.


The leads magnet you use should be educational or informative, and be perceived as valuable enough to entice website users to register their contact information to get it.


Make sure the leads magnet (your eBook, email course, report, video tutorial, etc.) is truly educational and builds trust. Only promote your products or services in an offhand manner inside the lead magnet; this is not the place for a hard sales pitch. Only show your expertise and build trust at this point.


Provided you have traffic coming to your website (more on that soon), you now have a working system that collects the contact information of your website visitors, thus automatically building your email list.


Growing your email list is one of your top priorities if you want to build an online business and monetize your subject-matter expertise. You can even add several parallel leads generation systems on your website, for instance having multiple leads magnets with related sets of landing pages and call-to-action buttons.


In fact, this is strongly advised, as you can then create different lead magnet offers with distinct targets, which increases the chance one of them will entice a particular visitor to register their contact information.

Sending emails


With a website and a leads generation system in place (lead magnets, landing pages, and registration forms), you should have the basis for a growing email list.


Utilize this email list to keep in contact with your audience and increase their interest and trust. When the time is right, offer your products or services. In short, you can send emails that help build your authority and to promote your products.


Before sending emails on a larger scale, you need to consider four important topics:


p<{color:#000;}. Deliverability rate and spam filters (how many of the emails arrive to the visitor’s inbox)

p<{color:#000;}. Open rates (how many of those are opened and read)

p<{color:#000;}. Click-through rates (how many readers actually click on the links supplied in the email)

p<{color:#000;}. Spam flagging and unregister rates (how many readers are unhappy to get your emails)


All emails you send need to be delivered, opened, and have a click-through to achieve the goal of making the lead engage with you in some way. Crucially, it should not cause the recipient to unregister or flag the email as spam. Knowing how to get your emails delivered, opened, and clicked is a big subject of its own, and is outside the scope of this course. You can read more on this on our website, www.monetizeknowledge.com.


Use your email list for a slow and steady delivery of engaging content (drip delivery). You should not send more than one or two emails per week, or your recipients will likely become annoyed and decide to unregister.


Make sure the majority of your emails provide educational or informative content that benefits the reader (not you), such as your weekly tips on your niche or ways to learn a specific skill. If most of your emails are about you or your products, you will lose much of your following. 


Effective examples of emails include:


p<{color:#000;}. Drip delivery of training content

p<{color:#000;}. Weekly or monthly tips & tricks

p<{color:#000;}. How-to articles

p<{color:#000;}. Weekly roundup of your latest blog posts

p<{color:#000;}. Invitations to free webinars

p<{color:#000;}. Information on new content, like new video tutorials or eBooks


Rarely send emails that promote your products strongly, and save that for product launches, discount offers, or other events. It is perfectly fine to promote your products in the educational emails too, but this needs to be done in an offhand manner with a soft sales message.


The goal is to come across as an expert who is sharing valuable knowledge, not as a salesperson. That will serve you better in the long term by building trust and growing your position as an authority on the topic.

Get traffic to your website


Now that you have found a well-focused niche that fits your skills, have created a website with a leads generation system, and are building an email list that you nurture by sending emails over time, you have a working skeleton for your online business.


The next step is to get traffic to your website. This is by far the most difficult part, and the one that may take the longest time, unless you want to pay for traffic. You choose to attract visitors either by paid advertisements, or for free by offering high quality content.


You can get traffic by investing in paid advertisements such as:


p<{color:#000;}. Social media advertisements (for example Facebook or LinkedIn ads). Your paid advert is shown in the social media flow of people that fit a particular geographical or demographical filter, or people the social media platform think are interested in certain keywords that relate to your niche.

p<{color:#000;}. Search engine marketing (like Google AdWords) is when your paid ads are shown in search engine results when someone searches for a particular keyword phrase. The ads shown above, below, and to the right of the search results on Google are the best example.

p<{color:#000;}. Banner ads on other websites, such as local or niche magazines, web portals, or forums. While search engine and social media ads are easy to set up using a credit card, banner ads on other websites may take some more time to research and deploy.

p<{color:#000;}. Banner ads or promoted articles in weekly newsletter mailshots some industry magazines send out to their subscribers.


Paid traffic generation produces traffic instantly, but the return on investment depends on how well your website and lead magnet offers attract the visitors to register on your email list, and later to buy your product.


It is also possible to get traffic for free, although it takes longer to see results. To get free traffic, you can:


p<{color:#000;}. Create a big website with many pages and an active blog with many articles that search engines like Google can find and drive traffic to. Be aware that your pages and articles need to have a reasonably large amount of text that relates to the particular search keywords you want to get traffic to—search engines cannot find pages dominated by images but have no text with relevant keywords. This strategy works but is less effective than it used to be due to the massive number of web pages that exist about every conceivable topic, many of which overlap your own content. The trick here is to focus on a well-defined and narrow niche.

p<{color:#000;}. Inbound links from other websites. One of the best ways to get traffic, as well as coming closer to the top of search engine result lists, is to have other websites link to your web pages and blog articles. Try to get as many inbound links as possible. You can get this organically if you have great content, but you can also speed up the process by contacting other relevant blogs and forums. Ask them to review your product, offer to write a guest blog article for them, or respond to forum entries and link back to your own site. 

p<{color:#000;}. Social media sharing is another option to get free traffic. Take part in social media groups, share content, offer free leads magnets, and ask your social media friends to share some of your posts and offers. Make sure your social media posts are educational and informative, and do not try to push your message by using spam. A great idea is to promote all your new blog posts on social media. Don’t forget to link back to content on your website from your posts. As social media posts may have a short life-span (particularly on the fast-moving Twitter), it may become time-consuming to constantly push out new messages. Social media marketers use robots (like Edgar or Hootsuite) that automate this process, and you might want to do the same.

p<{color:#000;}. Produce multimedia and publish it on various platforms. For example, you can publish video tutorials on YouTube, publish PowerPoint presentations on SlideShare, publish a podcast on Apple iTunes or SoundCloud, or other media platforms that fit your content. A great option for authors is to write one or more short eBooks and publish them permanently for free on Amazon. Make sure the content you publish on all channels ends with information on a free lead magnet on your website, thus enticing the reader or viewer to visit your website and register for the lead magnet. Make the lead magnet offer a clickable link if the content sharing platform supports that.


Getting traffic organically is a slower process that requires a bigger effort than paying for traffic. However, your content continues to provide marketing value for years to come with no further work or spending on your part, while paid adverts lose their value as soon as the budget is spent. There is no reason you can’t do both, of course.

Create and sell products


By now, you have created the skeleton for an online business where you can monetize your subject-matter expertise. You have found a narrow niche in which you can build visibility and become known as a trusted expert. You have a website and blog, and a growing email list with an audience you can nurture through targeted emails. You have also learned how to get traffic to your website using paid and free options.


The final step in creating an online business is to create and sell products you actually make money from. If you have physical products you want to sell, set up a web shop as part of your website. However, this is not a viable option for most non-fiction authors, as it requires purchasing, stocking, and delivery of printed books. Ideally, you will use a low- or no-touch automated digital delivery system to create an (almost) passive income. For this, a different strategy is needed.


The website and free lead magnets discussed earlier were used to get traffic and leads, as well as to build trust and authority. You should now be perceived as an expert, and your audience should be eager to buy your products. What digital information products can you offer if you want to make money from your expertise?


Here are some examples:


p<{color:#000;}. eBooks or print books

p<{color:#000;}. Audio courses

p<{color:#000;}. Video courses

p<{color:#000;}. Consultations

p<{color:#000;}. Private or group training sessions

p<{color:#000;}. Private or group coaching and mentoring

p<{color:#000;}. Consulting services 


You should offer products in various price ranges, as it is easier to buy an expensive product from someone you have already purchased a low-cost product from. Few people will buy your most expensive product right away.


Most of your customers will buy the low-cost product, and if you over-deliver, many of them will upgrade to the next-level product. For each step, try to leave the customer the desire for more, which is fulfilled by the next product that goes into additional detail.


p<{color:#000;}. Start the sales funnel with a relatively cheap low-end product that most people can buy, for example an eBook or a short video tutorial, that costs about the same as a lunch or dinner (less than $100). This product is preferably auto-delivered using email after the credit card payment has been fulfilled.

p<{color:#000;}. The next product could be a one to ten hour pre-recorded video training course that teaches your audience how to solve the main problem in your niche. This product should be in the range of $100 to $1,000, depending on the value the knowledge you share has to your customers. Some courses sell for thousands of dollars, depending on the topic and niche. It all comes down to the course’s value to the student.

p<{color:#000;}. For customers who want more, you can offer live group or private training courses that you run online as webinar meetings. Depending on the value of the skills you share and how long the training program is, you can charge anything from $200 to $5,000 for it.

p<{color:#000;}. If your expertise covers a big or complicated area and your audience can use their new skills to make money in their business or work, you can also offer a long-term coaching or mentoring program that stretches over several months. This could cost $10,000 or more in some niches, if you are a true expert in the field.


You can create an unlimited number of other products, but the concept of selling your books, video or audio training courses, and live training sessions is a common concept that works well for many with skills to share.


The key is that each of these information products cover essentially the same knowledge you would share in a low-cost non-fiction book on Amazon, but repackaged and sold at a much higher price.


The content on your website, free lead magnets, and low-cost products should only teach your audience WHY and WHAT they should do to solve a particular problem. Only the higher-priced products teach your customers HOW to do it.


That way, you create a path on which your customers start by buying a low-cost product that build trust and reduces the barrier to spending more money on you as a product supplier. As the low-cost product only explains the WHY and WHAT, but not the HOW, he or she is kept wanting more, and is warmed up to a sales offer for your more expensive product once the first product is consumed.


Every product in the price ladder should promote the next product, and to a lesser extent, the one after that, to entice the customers to move forward as soon as they have consumed the previous product. In effect, you create a sales funnel in which some of your customers are eager to buy increasingly more expensive products from you.


Of course, for each new step in the price ladder, fewer people will buy. However, the ones who do are likely loyal, and at the top of the price pyramid, you have customers who love what you offer them and who are prepared to pay a lot for your skills and expertise.


You can also experiment with monthly subscription plans if you have digital products to support that. Subscription models generally help to create a more sustainable income stream than one-off sales, for which you need to re-start the sales funnel each month. Membership sites are a popular route for this.


If you want to create a lifestyle of freedom and run your business using a laptop from anywhere in the world (known as the laptop lifestyle, or being a digital nomad), you should strive to create products that are scalable (auto-delivered eBooks or video trainings) and do not require hours-for-dollars work (such as a one-to-one live training session).


Additional revenue streams may be to sell advertisements on your website or affiliate marketing. The advertisement market requires high traffic volumes to provide any meaningful income, and has the disadvantage that your website is cluttered with content that may be distracting or that you do not approve of. Affiliate marketing is a better idea if you run an expert blog and write non-fiction books.


With affiliate marketing, you mention or recommend other companies’ products in your content (in your eBooks, blog articles, video courses, etc.) with a clickable hypertext link. If your readers follow the link and purchase the product, you are attributed to the sale and get a commission. However, many countries now have laws requiring you tell your readers if you are an affiliate receiving money from the recommendation.


The final option is the most difficult one, but it has the potential to transform your one-person expert business into a real company of almost any size. This is to create software products that solve a particular problem for the audience in your niche.


In its simpler form, it can be a smartphone or a tablet app, although that might not be the best choice for a sustainable long-term software business. The better option is to create a web application (known as Software as a Service, or SaaS), for which you charge a monthly or yearly recurring fee for using the functionality hosted on the application service you offer.


Examples of authors and bloggers who created successful software businesses this way include ConvertKit (a smaller business offering email marketing) and HubSpot (arguably the world’s leading and most powerful marketing automation system).


Creating software products is expensive and difficult, but can have a large potential. It is best to wait with this until you already have a thriving business using other types of digital information products, unless you happen to have a fantastic idea and a lot of money to invest.

Grow your business


By now, you know how to create an author marketing platform, build an online business, and set up a sales funnel with which you offer products at different price ranges. This is more than just a skeleton of an online business, but a working system to monetize yourself and your skills.


Unfortunately, you are likely to see poor results initially. Building a business—online or offline—takes time. How do you go about growing your business and increasing the pace?


First, you need to build more visibility and increase traffic to your website. Engage actively with other relevant websites, like blogs and forums, and try to get some visibility or links to your website onto them. Engage in social media, write more blog posts, and if needed, pay for traffic using search engine or social media ads.


Second, try to get more subscribers on your email list. You do that by creating more lead magnets that entice different types of visitors to register for different types of content. For each new lead magnet you create, you also need to add related call-to-action buttons and landing pages. Make sure the new lead magnet is promoted on your website, in blog articles and mailshots, on social media, and perhaps elsewhere too.


Leverage your growing email list and send auto-scheduled emails with truly educational and valuable information regularly to nurture your audience, build trust, and keep them aware of you. As your email list grows, and as your recipients are warmed up by your high-quality educational content, you have more and more prospects who are getting prepared to pay for your skills and expertise.


Try to extend your product portfolio both horizontally and vertically. Add more product tiers in the price ladder for one topic. For example, add subscription models or a paid membership section to your website, and add more expensive product tiers that provide increasing detail or more of your personal time.


Also, try to extend your product portfolio horizontally. Your first set of vertical products most likely addressed the primary problem in your niche, for example by offering a book, a video training, a group live training, and private coaching on one topic. Are there any related problems your customers are likely to face once the primary problem is solved?


For example, if you sell web design knowledge, perhaps you can extend your product portfolio horizontally by also selling knowledge on how to set up a web shop, how to do web development, or how to do search engine optimization. If you sell knowledge on video editing, perhaps you can offer courses on producing audio podcasts or animated graphics.


This should all be consistently reiterated over time: attract more visitors, get more contacts into your email list, and have more products to sell. Repeat, repeat, repeat.


Creating a business is hard, but consistency improves the chance of success. Remember, the most difficult time is at the start. Once you are up and running, you have a working platform to extend.

But wait! What about my books?


Most of this book has centered on doing other things than selling books using traditional channels such as Amazon, Kobo, or Apple iBook. Should you stop doing that?

Not necessarily. There is no contradiction in selling books on book sites and building an online business platform in parallel, where you sell higher-priced information products.


In fact, your book sales are likely to improve as you develop a thriving online platform that helps build your authority. Your book sales can also be dramatically improved by promoting your books to the members of your email list harvested on your website.


You might also consider the pricing of your books and where you sell them. If you are in the low-cost camp, selling eBooks for under ten dollars on the large book sites, you might consider an alternative. When you have a strong platform on the Internet, with enough visitors coming to your website, you can also sell your books on the website directly, rather than relying on a big book site to do it for you.


Why would you do that?


On the big book sites, your book might not be visible in the crowd of millions of other books, and competing books are promoted to potential customers when they read your book’s sales page. That might drive customers away from your book.


Furthermore, the audience of those sites often has a no-cost or low-cost mindset. With loads of competing books available for free or selling for a couple of dollars, it becomes difficult to increase the price of your book. There is also no possibility to upsell more expensive versions of the book with bundled extras such as an audio version, PhotoShop or PowerPoint design templates, checklists, or example document templates.


On your website, the only book being promoted is yours. Furthermore, the audience has come to your site for your authority and expertise, not for low price. If you have a respected niche website, you can easily sell a quality non-fiction book for several times what it would be listed at on Amazon. It will not look expensive, as there are no cheap competing books to be seen on the same page.


Additionally, you can easily sell different versions of the book, with various extras bundled, at different price points. A $49 book can also be offered at $79 if an audio version is included, and at $99 or even $129 if you offer specialized templates like legal documents that are discussed in your book. Compare that to selling the same book for under five dollars, as is common on the large book sites.


Of course, selling your books from your own website is only meaningful once you have a healthy traffic volume. When you have that developed, you might want to do some math and compare the alternatives.

What tools can I use to build my online business?


Knowing where to start may be a big problem for authors without knowledge on web design and Internet marketing. In this section, we will cover the most important tools you can use to build an online presence, improve your authority, perform Internet marketing, and build an online business.


The website is the basis for any online business. In the early years, a website was designed by coding HTML tags in a pure text editor, and those files would then be uploaded to the webserver using an FTP transfer tool.


That was cumbersome and required the user to know how to write computer code. Nowadays virtually all websites are built using content management systems (CMS) that are very easy to use and can be operated by anyone. Content management systems include a web-based configuration and administration panel where you can create menus, pages, blog articles, and more, which are then published to the website automatically.


The most popular content management systems are Joomla and WordPress, both of which are free open-source options that can be installed on your own servers. However, by far the best solution is to rent web space from a company that can host a Joomla or WordPress installation for you. There are many web hosting services available, for example SiteGround and HostGator, that charge a low fee per month, and provide email accounts and other tools at the same time.


Nowadays WordPress is the most popular choice, thanks to its ease-of-use and drag-and-drop design capabilities. Arguably, Joomla is somewhat faster, but it is more cumbersome to work with.


To adjust the look and feel of your website, install a free or paid theme into your Joomla or WordPress site. This changes the personality of your website and should be aligned with your branding. There are tens of thousands of Joomla and WordPress themes available, for example from ThemeForest.


No website owners should ignore installing Google Analytics, which is a free cloud service that helps track exactly how your website visitors behave when they visit your site. Accounts are free and only require that you install a small tracking code on your website. You can then enjoy detailed statistics on exactly how your website performs and what your visitors are doing.


For general office tasks, you will need tools like an email client, a word processor, presentation software, and a spreadsheet program. There are four main options:


p<{color:#000;}. Microsoft Office 365 with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook for email and calendars. After a late start, Microsoft now offers excellent versions of the Office package for Mac computers and the iPhone, iPad, and even the Apple Watch. Office 365 is now offered for a low-cost monthly fee.

p<{color:#000;}. For a completely free solution, use OpenOffice, which is free and open-source. It is available for Apple OS X, Microsoft Windows, and Linux systems.

p<{color:#000;}. If you are in the Apple camp, you can use the Pages word processor, Numbers spreadsheet program, and Keynotes presentation software for free.

p<{color:#000;}. For a completely cloud-based solution, Google Apps is a good choice.


If you want a centralized repository for your notes and other records, Evernote or Microsoft OneNote are both great choices. Both have cross-platform support such that you can access your notes and records from any device, and they are all synchronized from a cloud server.


For cloud-based file storage, you can use DropBox, Microsoft OneDrive, Apple’s iCloud Drive, or Amazon’s S3 cloud hosting. They all provide cheap file storage solutions, with backup, that can be accessed from any device or platform.


Skype has a natural place in your toolbox. Not only does it allow you to call for free to anyone in the world (Skype-to-Skype) using your computer and the Internet, but it also provides the possibility to setup a group call for free. Skype also supports video calls and video conferencing, as well as screen sharing and file transfer. The ability to transfer files is an unexpected strength of Skype. It solves the problem of emailing oversized files, as Skype happily transfers a 1GB file without problem.


Skype also provides some paid services; like the possibility to call out to the normal land line system in any country, such that you do not pay for the international call but only for the connection out to the local number from their server in that country.


Skype also offers local phone numbers that allow customers to call in to a normal land line phone number, which is redirected to your Skype account on your computer. That way, you can easily set up one or more local phone numbers in any country, which are redirected to your laptop no matter where you are. Additionally, Skype offers voice mail and some other services.


Facetime is Apple’s answer to Skype, but it is limited and only works on Apple products, which severely limits its use.


With the eCamm extension for Skype or Facetime, you can record voice or video calls and save them for later editing and publication, perhaps as recorded podcast interviews or video trainings.


Grasshopper is another powerful virtual phone system. In addition to many of the phone functions of Skype, it supports toll-free numbers, voice menus to different departments, sending voicemails or fax to your email account, and more. It is a great solution for distributed or remote teams.


An excellent solution for web meetings with screen sharing and screen recording features is GotoMeeting from Citrix, which also works for webinars with a limited set of participants. With GotoMeeting, you can even give the controls (your mouse and keyboard) to a remote attendee, or you can take over a remote computer, which is excellent for remote support, troubleshooting, or work on someone else’s computer.


Managing all your social media channels can be very time consuming, but there are tools to help. To publish a message on many social media channels automatically, monitor social media channels, schedule queued messages, or otherwise manage social media channels, check out Feedly, Buffer, HootSuite, SocialOomph, SocialBro, SproutSocial, Tweeapi, or Edgar.


For more advanced photo editing, you can use the free GIMP or the industry-standard but expensive Adobe Photoshop. For simple photo editing, you can use Apple iPhoto or Microsoft Paint.


You can record movies using a digital camera or even your smartphone, and edit them using Apple iMovie or Microsoft Movie Maker. For more professional solutions, look at Apple’s Final Cut or Adobe Premier.


To record your screen when you run a PowerPoint presentation or demo software, you can use Camtasia on Windows or Apple Quicktime or Screenflow on Mac. Alternatively, use Skype with a screen recorder add-on.


There are many options for recording and editing audio. A free but somewhat complicated solution is Audacity, or you can use GarageBand on Apple platforms. You can also use the Adobe Audition software, or Auphonic sound editing cloud-service.


If you want to prepare the text you are reading in advance and read it smoothly while recording, you can use the free dvPrompter iPad app. It allows you to read the auto-scrolling text so you remember what to say when you talk into the camera or microphone.


For production of animated illustrations or banner ads, you can try the free Google Web Designer tool.


A podcast is a series of audio files that is distributed as a channel your audience can subscribe to. A podcast must be published in a special format that podcast reader software can understand, and is thus different from just publishing a series of MP3 audio files on your website.


If you produce audio podcasts, the easiest thing is to host them on a cloud service such as SoundCloud or LibSyn. You can also register your podcast with Apple’s iTunes to make your podcasts visible to Apple users and the podcast app on the iPhone.


Video tutorials and other video movies can be published on YouTube or Vimeo. High-end solutions include Wistia and VidYard.


A webinar is a meeting or presentation with remote attendees that join through their computers over the Internet. You can share your screen and record sound. The remote attendees can see your screen on their computer and hear your live audio.


Webinars are thus perfect for product presentations, trainings, or remote coaching. A great webinar solution for small webinars is GotoMeeting from Citrix, while their GotoWebinar service is an excellent solution supporting hundreds of concurrent attendees. GotoWebinar includes services like registration and attendee management, scheduling of webinar series, in-webinar poll questions, and post-webinar surveys.


Using a marketing automation system, you can create an automated workflow through which you send a series of emails automatically to the website visitors who register in a form. In its simplest form, this is just email marketing or auto-responders dropping emails to leads in your database. Sending a series of emails automatically is also known as drip emailing.


Easy to use examples include AWeber, MailChimp, GetResponse, or LeadPages. Middle-end solutions include Infusion or Leadsius. High-end systems that can do some advanced tricks are, for example, HubSpot, Marketo, and SalesForce Pardot. These go well beyond basic functionalities, and are prohibitively expensive for small businesses.


If you have a business with a reasonable amount of real customers already, a customer support portal like ZenDesk can bring structure and better service to your customer queries. With ZenDesk or similar customer service systems, you can track incoming sales or support requests, offer self-service portals, and more.


Writing good text, also known as copywriting, is not as easy as it may seem. Admittedly, most word processors have a built in spelling and grammar checker. If you want something a lot better, use Grammarly, which is about the best grammar checker around. Their product is available both as Windows and Mac software, as well as a cloud service.


You can also use a readability test tool like https://readability-score.com, which provides statistics on the readability level of your texts to help you write to the appropriate audience for your site.


In case you want to charge for digital content or services on your website, you need a payment solution. Several options exist.


PayPal may be the easiest solution, through which your customers can send money to you using only your email address, provided both of you have a PayPal account connected to your bank account. You can also embed BuyNow or AddToCart buttons on your website, manage subscription payments, and more.


Other solutions include e-Junkie, SendOwl, and Gumroad, which are focused on selling digital files on the Internet. Stripe is another solution that is easy to use and has deeper integration with your website. Stripe requires some programming on the website to integrate it, although it is relatively easy.


Membership site solutions (like MemberMouse or WishList) and online video training platforms (like Teachable) often include payment solutions too.


Sometimes you may need to use freelancers to help with particular tasks or skills, such as web design, graphics design, copywriting, or book editing. You can find freelancers at all price points on websites like Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr, or 99designs.

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Final words


This book has given you the foundation to take the next step. With these tools, you can go from being an author to becoming an industry expert with authority, having your own marketing platform, and your own online business.


h3<. With the advice shared in this book, you can build an email list to use for engagement and the promotion your products, and you can sell the information from your non-fiction book in a repackaged format at a much higher price.


If you haven’t already, take this opportunity to watch our free accompanying online video course:



You can also share this eBook with your friends using email or social media like Twitter or Facebook. A PDF version of this book is available for free at:



Good luck!


The Monetize Your Knowledge blog team



Feedback and contacting us

You have hopefully found this book useful, and while we have made every effort to provide as valuable and error-free knowledge as possible, no product is perfect and can’t be improved. The same goes for this book.


If you have any feedback, good or bad, I would appreciate very much if you would like to share it with us. With reader feedback, we can improve future versions of this book for the benefit of other readers. We can be contacted using:



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This book is written by the Monetize Your Knowledge blog team:




Copying and distribution of this book is permitted, provided the book is shared in its original unmodified form.


The authors take no responsibility for the results of using of the information shared in this book, financial or otherwise. Examples of results or income projections mentioned in this book are purely examples and can not be guaranteed.





The non-fiction author's guide to making money: Build a marketing platform, crea

Do you want to make more money by sharing your skills and knowledge? This book, along with its accompanying FREE online video training course, will teach you how! Many non-fiction authors find it difficult to make money from their book sales. It doesn't matter if you are self-publishing on Amazon Kindle or using a publishing house, selling books is an uphill battle. This book and the complimentary video course will teach you the secrets to making a lot more money by using your expertise in a smarter way. The book covers how to: - Define a profitable niche - Create a marketing platform - Bring traffic to your website - Understand Internet marketing techniques - Build an email list and send marketing emails - Use the sales funnel and your portfolio of digital information products - Find tools for Internet marketing and online business - Grow your business beyond book sales This book is perfect for non-fiction authors, bloggers, and independent professionals who want to leverage and monetize their expertise. Whether you want a passive income, a comfortable living, or a laptop lifestyle as a digital nomad, this book will give you the tools and knowledge to build your own success. Download this book now, and get access to the FREE companion online video training course!

  • ISBN: 9781310608377
  • Author: MonetizeYourKnowledgeBlog
  • Published: 2016-04-02 10:05:17
  • Words: 8411
The non-fiction author's guide to making money: Build a marketing platform, crea The non-fiction author's guide to making money: Build a marketing platform, crea