The pen is mightier than the sword – English Proverb
Recently, I watched an interview with veteran author and ghostwriter Michael Levin, and he said something that resonated with me. Levin said, “I am more interested in being a best-earner than a best-seller.” What exactly does this mean as a non-fiction author?
Extra MILE Innovators favor the best-earning author model which looks beyond mere book sales. We leverage the power of books as a platform for transformation, creating sustainable income and building a legacy of transformation for generations locally and globally.
I am a two-time Amazon bestselling author. Being a bestseller was a dream from the beginning but I also said to God, “It’s not about being a best-seller but making an impact.” I did not recognize my bestseller status until three years after my second book became one! That book was “When Trees Talk.” A similar thing happened with my second bestseller “Design to Win Road Map.” I did not know it until five months after and it is still on the Amazon bestselling list, 18 months after launch.
This leads to the following questions:
- Is being a bestseller really necessary?
- What does a best-seller status do for you?
- Does being an Amazon best-seller really matter?
- What does being a best-earner mean?
- How do you become a best-earner?
- Should I choose one or the other or should I aim for both?
Leveraging Your Best-Seller
Being an Amazon bestseller means you are ranked in the top 100 of books being sold in your category on Amazon. My books have been in the top 12. Design to Win Road Map has fluctuated between #1 and #4 for 18 months. There are different bestseller rankings/listings including: the USA Today Bestseller List, New York Times and Wall Street Journal. These all have their requirements. Some include selling 3000 -10,000 books in a week among other things.
Truth is, it is harder to hit these lists and they are more recognized. But don’t discount Amazon. It has over 8 million books and being a Bestseller there still carries weight even if it is a mere bragging right for some.
Although, your bestseller status does not automatically put more money in your pocket, it can lead to becoming a best-earner if leveraged properly.
For example, if your book is selling for US$0.99 cents, even if you sold 10,000 kindle books, you will not be a millionaire. But you can become a millionaire using your author platform alone.
Nevertheless, being a bestseller is important because it is a calling card that increases your credibility and opportunities to speak and earn multiple income streams from your book.
How to Become a Best-Earner
To date, I have not yet sold 300 copies of my Amazon bestselling book, “Design to Win Road Map” and it has generated over US$1500 in revenue since its launch in March 2018. I am not pushing for massive book sales. However, I am using this book as part of my income generation and best-earning model. Consider the following two models to become a best-earner:
Write Many Books: One way of being a best-earner is by having multiple books. The more books you have, the more money you make. I have experienced the pleasure of seeing people buying all my books one time. If you only want to sell books, write many books and master the art of marketing books.
Market and Monetize Your Book: Use the power of a book to create multiple income streams from one or two books. You can build a business or start a new career with one book even if it is not a bestseller. There are over 30 income streams that can be created from a single book. A bestseller status can fast track this effort.
For example, with my book, “Design to Win Road Map,” I created a coaching program that brought in over US$1000.00 in a 6-month period. In that program only about six (6) books were sold. Through speaking gigs, this book generated over US$500.00.
Think of it this way. Your book may be priced at US$8.99 or US$14.99 but a course with the information from the book will sell for US$97 or US$2000. A speaking engagement may yield US$150 or US$70,000 per hour if you are famous. In this way, you can become a best-earner with books.
The Mindset of a Best-Earning Author
A best-earning author employs the “book as a business card” model, which uses books to draw attention to your business, product, service or mission. Best-earning authors are author-coaches, speakers, teachers, trainers, consultants, events hosts etc. They gain more visibility and clientele because of their books.
To the best-earning author, the book is only one tool, albeit a powerful one, to get the content to the people. Best-earning authors build a tribe or group of people to help and support and engage them consistently with helpful material via email and other modes of communication.
This is essentially what book marketing is according to Tim Grahl, author of Your First 1000 Copies: It is building credibility, connecting with and communicating value consistently to those whom you are trying to help or serve, not just saying: “see my book, buy my book.”
A best-earner understands that his/her book is an asset just like a house that can be bequeathed to others. It can be used in a number of ways and in various formats to earn income just like a physical property. It is intellectual property and your copyright exists throughout your life-time and up to 70 years after your death.
Given all that I have shared, what should be your aim? I believe you should aim for both but make being a best-earner your primary focus.