Publishing The Backwards Book
The situation that most starting authors have (and I’ve seen the same thing you’ve run into) is: How the hell do you get from here to there?
You hear and (are constantly told) about these outrageously successful authors. But only a very small few percent of people actually achieve that.
If you want to be successful you’ve got to study success. What I found by studying all these guys that are making six- and seven-figures as an author is that most of them have been starting out with books and ending up with courses.
The beginning author, though, has to spend a lot of time and money they don’t have in order to do that. So most authors fail to make a livable income.
And as if we don’t have enough problems, how is it a solution to work backwards?
Let’s go back to basics. Books are an idea container. They aren’t just an e-book, a paperback, and so on. The one set of content is pushed out through all these different versions: e-books, paperbacks, hardbacks, audio books, audio CDs, and also — courses.
The great part about that is courses sell the books and the books sell the courses.
All these products tend to leverage each other. The advantages to courses is that they leverage existing content. You’ve already got this stuff there. So you just want to generate everything else out from it.
They also bring the audience from Amazon to you, rather than you pushing all your traffic to Amazon to get your sales. You actually are able to get these audience on to your mailing list and service them directly, and communicate with them personally. So you find out more and more about your audience and they get better service and better products from you. Eventually as they become superfans they then graduate into evangelists for your brand. They bring other people in as well. And all of this diversifies your income sources.
There’s difficulties in making courses. First, they’re video based primarily. And videos are very expensive in terms of time and money to produce any quality. For most courses they’re on somebody else’s platform so you have to drive traffic to them in order to make any sort of sales. Now, instead of being an author, you’ve turned into a full time marketer just to make money off this course. So courses don’t usually get produced until last – if they do at all.
But the trick with courses is while an e-book is $3.99, a course that covers the same material as ebook is $299 or even $1000. So they can earn you the most money, the most income, fastest.
For most book publishing: If you’re going to do this route of all these products, you’d write, edit, proof, and publish all your text versions.
Then you’d turn around and either hire someone else or just personally record the audio, edit that audio, and then publish it as an audio book and audio CDs.
Then you turn around to get the course, You’d have to record the video, you have to edit and produce the course. A lot of people are doing: they create the presentation, record more audio for that presentation, and then do a screen capture or marry the slides to an audio recording.
And all of this is expensive both in time and money. So you can see why it seldom gets done.
Now the flaws in the system, even on top of all we covered, is that most authors are working for Amazon as an employee without any benefits. Because, due to Amazon having these cliffs that they artificially generate at 30-60-90 day intervals. Most authors solve this by constantly writing more books. Every 30 days they have to come out with a new book, or maybe two months. And so that’s just another job – “Just Over Broke.”
And as a result of that, because you’re so busy working on your books, if you’re actually making money on your books you can get somebody hired out to do the audio, but the courses never get produced.
The highest-leveraged product you can have is a course and it will never get produced in most cases. Mainly, because there’s too much time and cost, and also revisiting this old data one more time isn’t as rewarding as writing a brand new book.
So what happens? You’re leaving money on the table. Tons of it.
A better way to make the course than what we’ve seen before in the conventional method is:
You do the research in outline you do for regular textbook that you’re writing.
Then you create a PowerPoint from that outline.
Then you record the video live with screen capture.
You use the PowerPoint and you just talk over it.
Then you pull the audio out of that and have it transcribed.
And then you’re able to create the course and publish all book versions at once.
So you leverage the sales on Amazon, and you also get extra sales outlets that are going to be pushing those courses for you.
You’ve got to look at your resources. What do you have to do this?
Ideally, a work-flow wouldn’t cost you anything or very little in order to get going. Producing a text book is this way already: you’ve got your text editor, you just upload to Amazon, and you got a book. Well, you do have to make the cover.
But the other resource you also have is that you’ve already got a microphone. Most people have a web cam, or they work on a laptop which has a built in camera and a microphone. If you’re doing podcasts, you already have a decent mic. Of course your Internet access is everywhere these days. You already have that at home and you’re using this to produce your products anyway.
Of all of this, transcribing is the key hurdle that you need to jump.
There are free services to do transcriptions. But as usual, you get what you pay for. YouTube will create transcripts for almost all videos. They use Google speech to text engine. The problem with these is you have no punctuation or capitalization in this stuff. And there some errors in this and some of those are very hilarious.
Your Chrome browser has sites and plug ins that will actually take advantage of that as long as you’ve got an Internet connection. They will actually generate this transcript for you using Google’s speech text engine.
Apple also has a dictation engine built into their Macs. You just have to go down and turn it on. But again, you’ve got no punctuation or capitalization. You have to do a lot of editing to get even a first draft.
There are paid products out there. Most of these are all from Nuance – Dragon Naturally Speaking products. There’s versions on the Mac, there’s a version for Windows, through browsers, and even through your iPad.
But again these don’t produce any punctuation or capitalization unless you specifically speak and tell them to. You have to pause and say “comma”, and then you have to say “break” to get a paragraph break. You have to say “period” to get a period. You actually say “capital,” and then the word, to capitalize the first word of that sentence.
Now if you’re doing all this, it may distract you from your inspired performance. On top of that, you can’t use that audio for the audio book or your video. And so you’re going to have to record two versions. It costs you for the program and then it’s going to cost you again in time to get this thing produced.
There are paid services to do this and you can find them really easily on the Internet. The average is a dollar a minute and it only takes a few days for them. You send them the file and they send you back the transcript. You can pay more to get it faster, of course. You can pay as much as 10 or 20 bucks per minute, to get it done the next day or overnight. The punctuation and capitalization is included. Of course for the better services, the more you want, the more you’re going to have to pay.
I found a hybrid called Trint.com. It’s only 25 cents a minute and you get a 30 minute free trial, if you want to try it out. You upload the audio and then the text shows up in the browser. I sent a five-minute file up there. And it was ready for me in less than two minutes.
Then I was able to edit the text right there in the browser. You could play the audio and correct the text as you go, without leaving the keyboard. It does includes the obvious punctuation and capitalization. There are some errors depending on how good the quality of your audio is. It’s a big start. You can edit and finish your first draft online then download it as a word doc. And that’s pretty pretty fascinating.
It’s built on some fancy programming that they found, which is being used in the TV industry to provide transcripts for all the massive amounts of video that some of these news agencies produce.
Optimal Work Flow
Let’s look at an optimal workflow then.
You would research your book as usual, outline and create a slide deck.
Then you record that slide deck with the screen capture.
Extract the audio from that.
You might want to edit that audio because you don’t want to send up stuff with a bunch of goofs in it that you are then paying to get transcribed. But it’s not vital.
Then they transcribe it for you.
Then that edited audio would immediately go right over into a podcast for promotion, or you could send it with the proper headings and you could actually create the chapters of your books. (You could edit it while you’re waiting for the transcript…)
And send that up as an audio book or audio CDs. Now the video you’re recording in one chunk is then cut down into shorter lessons. Of course you need to add headers and footers to these. The smart thing would be to put those headers and footers into your slide deck and let them go through as you’re recording.
From the transcript you can build course handouts from the text.
You can now publish the text, audio, and course versions all at the same time. And what that allows you to have the ebook, the paperback, and the hardback up there (if you want) which then makes the ebook look more valuable. Your readers can also buy the version that they most want to watch, or read, or listen to.
Your podcast uses the content that you just produced as audio to promote all these versions.
Your course is available and you have discount coupons in the backs of these e-books and hardcopy versions, so they can get a 50 percent discount off the Course. If they go to the back of the book and of course in your description for your book, you’re saying, “Be sure to check out the back of the book for a special discount only for readers of this book.”
You see how this leverages all possible ways, all possible things that you could possibly do? Of course you’re going to get more visitors, more buyers, more income. This is what we’re talking about.
The books promote the courses with coupon in the back.
The courses then sell the books as the course textbooks.
You can then take the video and edit it into a webinar, by just adding the call to action.
You’re also then able to generate PDF handouts and post these up onto SlideShare, with links so that people can come right over to your books or right into your course.
You can also nowadays embed short video clips right inside the SlideShare decks and they promote this so their viewers get it. Their viewers stay there and they’ll watch your slide deck, because there’s a four-minute video inside the slide deck, and it has all the data they need. Of course because the more time they spend on your site, then the more likely they are to buy. So you see how this just starts leveraging all the time…
Of course then you can put up short video clips on YouTube promote all your products.
My approach then would be this:
Research and record.
Extract the audio send it to Trint.com
Edit it on Trint and download your first draft. We don’t have to do all four drafts.
Because your second draft puts in all the links and dresses it up.
And the third draft is then your line edit.
(Your fourth draft is usually where you speak it out loud, but that was done when you spoke it originally.)
And then you get it proofed and then you’re done.
That brings you into the usual route of book publishing, where then you take it and put up as e-book, paperback, and hardback.
Also then your audio would be ready, so you could have your audio book and audio CDs. Publish those as usual.
Meanwhile, you’re compiling the course with all the different parts of it. And then you go live with everything at once.
Now your mileage may very well vary. Because I tell everybody to test everything I tell you. Because there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
I found this in Launches. There are more ways to launch a book than Carter has pills (to use an old phrase.) You have to find the setup that will work for you. I’m just telling you: “Here’s another way you can try this. Check this out for yourself.
The main advantage of this approach is to publish all formats with less time in between. You’ll see these authors do this: they’ll put up their ebook, then they’ll come back and put up their paperback, and that will help sales of their e-book. Then they’ll hire somebody (and sometimes this is a year later) to do their audio book.
(Of course when we have an audiobook up there, that is one of hottest items to do right now. It will help raise your other book sales.)
But that’s where they stop. The course usually never gets done, like I said.
The whole point is that you can get all this done, with less time in between. You can get everything simultaneously being launched. Huge launch. Because you have all these resources, then people will find out more and it will create a huge buzz and leverage all your sales.
The other thing is you’re going to get your audience coming directly for you, more and more. They go on your list. They get in your course. You can communicate them. You can survey with them. You can find out what they want next, what they will want best, and you can produce more for them. The more you produce better, higher quality stuff, exactly what they want, then of course they’re going to spend more with you. They become fans, superfans and evangelists. They can sell your courses and books for an affiliate commission. Really simple.
I can’t say too much about how you have to test this for yourself, and try this out, and check it out.
I produced this for you after just a couple of days worth of research, as I thought you ought to have this right away.
I really do wish that you have every advantage to help your income rocket.
If have any questions go to http://LivingSensical.com
Leave a comment. And you can find my email and let me know.
Supplement: Does This Book Publishing Model Work?
This supplement is because I found I’d left something out of my slide deck. But also, I wanted to give you an update about this podcast you’re listening to.
Eating my own dog food, I submitted the audio from the video I created over to Trint.com The initial count on the words is 3005. When I took out the time stamps and such, it came up as just over 2900. Total time on the video is 17:24. That means I’m talking about 170 words per minute. Amazon only needs 2500 words to publish as an ebook. This current text you are reading would add another thousand, giving us around 4,000 total. And that would give us about a 16-page ebook on its own. I would still need another 2,500 words in order to publish on CreateSpace. (I could probably get some unpublished essays around here, or include some popular podcasts.) So you can see the gears turning in my head here…
It should be an interesting journey of its own.
What was most interesting in editing the text was that my “writing” style changed. This stuff really sounds like I’m talking to you as if we’re in the same room. Funny, isn’t it?
The section I left out of the original mind map I started with was titled: “Does This Work?” (And I’ve included PDF’s of that mindmap for download.)
The key part to this, is how does publishing backwards actually save time, work, to get more income?
I think I’ve beaten the leverage point about courses so you understand that courses will set you up with more diversified income sources, with those sources cross-recommending the other products and services you offer as an author.
But how does this save you time and effort?
Obviously, you don’t have to do things twice or three times to get everything produced. And that means you can actually “go live” with all parts of this at once. That will help you with leveraging the maximal income from each type of product or service. (Courses are a service, books are products.)
The trick to saving you time is in how much faster spoken text is than writing.
A person on average talks at about 150 words per minute.
Now, when I type, I can get about 2,000 words out in an hour. Stephen King allots two hours to get that much. Some other how-to books set it at only 500 words per day to not overwhelm you. Chris Fox livened things up when he produced a book that showed people how to train themselves to write 5,000 words an hour.
But get this: talking is still faster. 150 words per minute is 9,000 words per hour.
And the way Chris Fox gets his speed is at the expense of typos and other errors you’d normally stop to correct. So you then have to come back to that same text to correct errors on a second day, which may bring you back down to the level of a 2,000 word author. But you’re talking about the total time editing and producing a book, not how fast you can get the first draft done.
By recording and then transcribing your books, you produce them faster and so can publish more books each year, or spend time doing something else instead.
I’m a great fan of publishing short reads. These are books that are less than 100 pages and can be as short as 2500 words on Kindle. Short reads prove the genre to you and enable you to break into additional genres and markets. Instead of producing a huge book at 100,000 words, you publish ten 10,000-word books as both ebooks and thin paperbacks.
Instead of investing six months coming to market with your massive work, you are publishing every two weeks and building audience while you prove the market. You could be producing a major flop at those 100,ooo words and have nothing to show for it. Or, if people don’t like your first four books, then go ahead and publish the collection as a higher-priced ebook and paperback, and move to a nearby or completely different genre.
Publishing bi-monthly proves the market in just two months, and if you’re writing good stuff, you are making income every month instead of living off savings. This is what E. L. James is doing right now, publishing a few chapters at a time of her next book and then improving these according to the feedback she gets. When all the chapters are complete, she’ll publish the massive book, which will look like a bargain.
Now, most chapters are about 2,000 words long, so an hour and a half of transcriptions will bring that out for you.
Since we have a system described in that video which can have the transcript back to you the same day, you can get your 2nd and 3rd drafts done in another day, and then send it off for proofing. Create or meanwhile get someone to generate your cover, and you can have that ebook and POD paperback published by the end of the week.
You can be publishing a book a week, or 50 new books each year.
That’s instead of two massive books which might not sell.
That’s what speaking your book does for you. It speeds the whole scene up remarkably.
You’ve saved time and effort. And also made sure that you’re going to get paid for your work.
Now, on a week’s schedule, you’re also going to have to get that course launched as well as the audio book. So that’s probably the second week, meaning now we are down to “just” 25 books published in a year.
As I said in the video: books sell courses and courses sell books. So all your products will pitch the other books and services you offer. You’ve also added Udemy and Skillshare to the mix, so they are going to be pitching your courses and sending people to Amazon. Because there’s a special discount offer in the back of the ebooks and paperbacks, Amazon will be sending people to your course and to your mailing list as well.
Now you’re more productive, and have more income. What are you going to do with all that money and free time?
Something to think about.
And it all started when you decided to start publishing backwards from your course.
Check my math again. Test everything for yourself. Come up with a plan that works for you and your own resources. Then get really busy getting that plan done.
With all the existing authors we have, they are still not keeping up with the demand for new books. Meaning that there is still plenty of room for people who can crank out tons of content regularly.
Here’s a chance for you to earn a bigger piece of that pie.
Keep me posted with your progress…
Note: The downloads I mentioned above are available here, along with the audio.
Overnight, I resolved to publish this as an ebook and paperback.
So I found and added some articles which have to do with the model of building books backwards from courses. As well, they are mostly very unique ways of self-publishing you haven’t been hearing in all your studies.
At this writing the book is well over 11K words, enough to generate a 50+ page paperback.
Since none of these articles have been seen in print before, it’s a fair trade.
But no, this didn’t mean I created a course out of these. And while I have audio for all these essays, it’s not going to be an audiobook any time soon.
Because this book started out as a simple report while I was busy outlining a course I needed to build. Essentially, it’s a preview of that course.
You will see a book show up which contains all the data of that course soon – but I have to get back to it. Now.
Meanwhile, I’ve included the links to all the available audio in podcast format so you can download a version of this book to take with you.
Get access to a no-cost, full and growing library of Really Simple Writing & Publishing references.
PS. Did I mention there are free downloads inside?