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The Career Author Podcast: Episode 132 – Authors Services as a Revenue Stream

Authors Services as a Revenue Stream

Authors Services as a Revenue Stream

Selling only fiction is tough. In fact, only a small percentage of authors (both traditional and indie) make a full-time living solely from fiction. Therefore, you need to think more like a business person if you want to be happily self-employed. In response to a listener question, J. and Zach break down the different ways you can create author services that can function as additional revenue streams and keep you happily self-employed.

The Career Author Podcast is a podcast where co-authors J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon share their struggles and successes as full-time authors, advice for improving your writing craft, and honest discussions of what it takes to build a successful career as an author.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • The need for your “special sauce” and why niching down is critical
  • Types of services you can offer that serve the writing and publishing community
  • The channels you can use to build a client base
  • How to balance your time between writing and working on your business

Also, J. explains why Kindle Highlights can change the way you research and learn.

Send us your ways and hacks – https://thecareerauthor.com/waysandhacks/ 

Leave us a comment: Do you have author services as a revenue stream? If so, how is it working for you? If you don’t yet, what will be your secret sauce?

Thanks to our Patrons.

Podcast sponsored by Kobo Writing Life – https://writinglife.kobobooks.com 

Get exclusive bonus content by supporting The Career Author Podcast on Patreon at www.patreon.com/thecareerauthor

Want to work with us? Get the details at https://thecareerauthor.com/services/

Links:

Beyond the Galaxy – https://books2read.com/beyondthegalaxy 

Beyond the Galaxy book trailer by Chris Yee – https://youtu.be/9ZkrQ6LpvAw 

Your Kindle Notes – https://read.amazon.com/notebook 

48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal – https://amzn.to/2BtS1I4 

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life – https://amzn.to/2YqBCx8 

J.’s monthly mastermind membership – https://theauthorsuccessmastermind.com/join/

The Career Author YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/thecareerauthor

Three Story Methodhttps://books2read.com/threestorymethod 

Three Story Method Workbookhttps://amzn.to/37SAR1a 

Molten Universe Media – http://www.moltenuniversemedia.com

Events – https://thecareerauthor.com/events/ 

43 thoughts on “The Career Author Podcast: Episode 132 – Authors Services as a Revenue Stream

  • Morning guys. Great way today J. I started highlighting Kindle books a few years ago but stopped because I thought “what’s the point?” I didn’t know about exporting of them to a document. Now I can see a use for it. Thanks J.
    To answer your question I have skills, experience and qualifications which could generate extra income but they would dilute my writing time so I don’t utilise them. I retired to write.
    Among my skill set, the one I treasure most is my creativity; my ability to generate ideas. I could get interested in acting as a consultant for writers, or with coaches who have clients who lack ideas. I’m not sure about monetising it, as to me it doesn’t seem like work because I love creating ideas. I sometimes see writers who get half way through a novel or series and then can’t think of an ending. I can help them. I could try it as a free offer for maybe a year and develop a monetisation model later with experience.
    Great show today.

  • I don’t think I have anything guys, seriously. Racking my brain and I got nothing. Looking forward to seeing what other people come up with, just to look for possible help.

  • I was really honored by the shout outs. I’m seriously speechless. Thank you. I won’t be able to thank you enough for the way you are guiding me through this.

    • Yeah, dude. You’ve got a really unique service to offer here, and J. raved to me about it privately. I think what you’re doing is awesome. Keep it up.

    • I haven’t even listened to the episode yet, but I can imagine what J and Z are saying about what you do Jeff. I’ve used you and it was fantastic. You really helped that story and those characters instead of a generic set of suggestions that you use for everyone.
      As that super guy – The Ender says – “I’ll be back”

  • Thanks for the shout out! I had fun making the trailer for the anthology. I guess that would be my “secret sauce,” but honestly it’s just a hobby right now. I don’t think I’m proficient enough to build it into a business (although I’ve teased the idea). I really enjoy making trailers for my own books, but they take a long time to make. It’s time I would rather spend writing. But you never know. Maybe some day I’ll be proficient enough to balance both.

    • Yeah, dude. Just keep it up. Of course, it’s okay if it just stays a hobby. Not everything has to become a source of income because it can lose its personal value at that point. But I think if you keep it up, you could be onto something if you choose to.

      • Definitely! I’m not ruling it out as a possibility in the future. I’ve improved a lot since I first started a few years ago. They take a long time, but they’re a blast to make, so I’ll keep at it.

  • I’ve had an author service idea for awhile, but I don’t know how many people would take advantage of it. A stylist for authors. Need an outfit to wear for an author event that will let readers know what to expect when they pick up your book? Need to know how to stand out in a sea of authors at a book fair? Need to find the perfect outfit for your author photo? Need to come up with a cohesive style to carry through to each public appearance or even social media post and thus strengthen your brand identity? I’m your gal.

    Alas, no events are going on right now.

  • Loved this weeks podcast even though I’m kind of in the opposite position! I started offering graphic design services to authors when i first started publishing. I had a graphic design and photography background, so this was a great way to earn the money i needed for editors and other publishing costs, while also making friends within the industry. But as the months have rolled on, my fiction books have started taking off. And now, that’s where the money is for me. I cut back my graphic design work to just two regular clients, who send enough work my way to keep me busy when i just can’t write another word. I hate turning down people who ask me to do work for them, but right now, I have to prioritize my fiction writing.

    • That’s a great position to be in! Seriously. I’m sure you love doing the graphic work, but if you can cut back on that because the thing you really want to be focusing on is earning you enough, that’s amazing. Congrats and keep it up!

  • Temple of the Dog!! I know that reference. 😉 I actually saw them back in ’91 in Hollywood. It was at an anniversary party for a magazine called RIP. Spinal Tap played too! Along with Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. It was an amazing show…and I was right up front.

    I think my ‘special sauce’ (love that term, BTW) is teaching/facilitating learning. I’ve been doing it for ages and my day job is a reading tutor. I love helping people learn new things. Right now I’m working on a workshop based on the Virgin’s Promise and I’m moving toward using it specifically to help romance writers. We’ll see if it works!

    • OMG. So jealous! I tried going to the TOTD reunion shows a few years back before Cornell died but I couldn’t get tickets. They didn’t play many shows back in the day so what a cool memory you have.

      Hit me up if you need help with the VP workshop.

      • Thanks, J, that’s a generous offer! I might take you up on it. I’ve referenced the interview you did with Kate Hudson in the Three Story Method book. It was really helpful.

        I was very sad when Chris Cornell died. 🙁 He had such an incredible voice.

    • I’m jealous, too. I never even got to see Soundgarden. They are one of my two biggest live concert regrets along with Pantera.

      I love the idea of you teaching TVP, and think it’s cool you’ve even niched down to romance authors. You could eventually expand that and teach it to people in other genres where it can be needed just as much.

      • Thanks, Zach. Once I get it figured out for romance, I might expand out to other genres.

        BTW, I saw Pantera in Hollywood back in ’91 too! They were so good. Suicidal Tendencies opened for them. It was a wild show. Like always, I was right up front.

    • Oooh I’m intrigued by your workshop idea! That sounds like something I would benefit from learning! If you have a mailing list set up for that already, I’d love to be added!

  • The landmark comment is all I need to put a smile on my face every episode.
    Also I don’t think I am narcissistic but we can continue to talk about me for a while to find out 😀

    J, you were already doing a membership site by the time I came around and suggested that it was a great idea.

    I was trying to wrack my brains of something to niche down into. I really like delving into new things and figuring them out to a journeyman level. Then training people up on it for my day job. I also like making websites and helping small businesses with their software. But that is the other side job.

    I think my website service could be tailored more to authors but for now it has just been training other people on website store management or migrating businesses from one ecommerce platform to another. Maybe niching down even farther to just author websites where the author is able to do a simple bio and books page and blog for say 25 bucks a month. Maybe integrate a newsletter into it if they want. Once I get some books out there I figure I will write
    a how to go wide the easy way book and maybe market that.

    • Yeah, I have no doubt that you could utilize your website skills to help authors. You would just have to, of course, decide if you want to spend time doing that. But there are definitely clients out there for that, and I know you have the skills to do it. You could call it Landmark Solutions. 😉

  • Hey guys, I appreciate your willingness to talk about this (and your abundance  mentality).

    I’ve thought about doing some kind of author service. I enjoy teaching and love the idea of giving back to others. My problem is that right now I can’t seem to do more than one thing at a time. It could be the toddler banging on my office door, but I’m still working on the ability to hold two projects in my head at the same time.

    For this time in my career, I’m still building an inventory of books, so I keeping coming back to the mantra that “Your time is best spent writing.” And it’s what I enjoy. I don’t know if I’m ready to bring another person’s challenges into my world of challenges.

    I’m glad Zach is focusing on his writing and look forward to checking out Dead South.

    It’s a testament to the strength of your business relationship that you can both devote time to the things that are going to give you fulfillment. I think it’s going to make your brand that much stronger as time progresses.

    • Thanks, man! The fact that Zach and I are in two completely different places but still work together in a limited fashion reinforces the idea that (1) circumstances are always changing and (2) there is no one path.

  • Love this podcast and the “secret sauce” concept. Here’s how I discovered my sauce and built word-of-mouth for my writing business. In the 70s, I was a Deadhead who dropped out of high school and ran away. I quickly learned that there is always a way to make money. I soon wanted to expand my “business” into something more creative–and legal–so I went back to school, took writing courses and became a Registered Nurse. I worked in the ER collecting juicy, gory tidbits for dark fantasy fiction stories. I also took an unpaid side gig writing education materials, inservices, and hospital policy and procedure (so boring!). That led to a low-paying gig as an editor and writer for a string of medical magazines and journals, which led to breaking away as a freelance writer/editor.
    That was 25 years ago, and my business has since expanded to include fiction editing and coaching, ghostwriting, blurb and logline writing, medical content development, writing classes, and marketing/sales/copy writing. I learned to play ice hockey and wrote articles for a hockey magazine in exchange for party-box tickets, but I get paid well to review fiction and nonfiction manuscripts for medical accuracy. I also spoke for free, which I dreaded, but forced myself not to pass up the opportunity. My secret-sauce presentations include “The Nuts and Bolts of Blood and Guts for Writers” and “How a High-School Dropout Became an Award-Winning Author.” Oh ya, I also write gory, dark fantasy fiction.
    I call myself a writing “ho” and have found that every kind of tedious, boring, underpaid writing/editing I have done, from medical encyclopedias to research studies, has helped develop skills and contacts needed to build a fiction/authorpreneur business. When I was starting out, no writing job was too small, and no pay was too small. Over time, happy clients spread the word. After years of hard work, I can finally afford to be selective in my work, give back to the writing community, and spend more time on fiction. And my musical taste has also evolved–from the Dead to pagan folk metal. Fejd and Wardruna rock!

  • My author services idea is to work with kids. Not just do school author appearances (because right now in my career that seems far fetched and silly that anyone would want that of me), but hold a workshop with the kids on writing. I have several ideas already – like writing a Choose Your Own adventure or a comic book and teaming with the art department. And to tag into this, I am also developing a speaking career. Not author stuff. The first talks are based on “Supercharge your kids” to give to parents, teachers, etc. This is based on a keynote at a different event I attended that talked about the changing work world our kids face. And with the coronavirus, it’s vastly different than it was then! Anyway, with what is out there, kids can start using their passions to ‘get out there’. My son wrote and published a book at 16 and gave talks on big stages at events. Kids can do that stuff. So the idea is to show parents how to raise their kids so their kids are prepared for the new work world as adults.
    And I am working on a non-fiction book to go with that.

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