The key to making a living with your writing is to have multiple streams of income, and although indie authors usually make more money with digital than print, there are ways to expand your print portfolio even with existing books.
(1) Turn your non-fiction book into a workbook version
If you have a non-fiction book that has an element of self-help to it, then consider creating a workbook version.
Use the questions that you ask of the reader and expand those sections with space for them to write into the workbook itself (as below right).
I've done this with How to Make a Living with your Writing, which has a ‘normal' book version in ebook and print, and now a Companion Workbook version. It still contains all the text of the full book, but has additional questions as well as note pages and extra space for the reader to write in.
It's cost effective to get this produced at the same time as your print book. The designer just needs to do a slight modification to the cover and interior files. I've used 5×8 for my original book, and 6×9 for the notebook version to give it more space. (Thanks to JD Smith, my designer for actually doing the work!)
I'm aiming to do this for any appropriate non-fiction over time, for example, Career Change lends itself well to the workbook idea, as does my upcoming book on mindset for authors.
Thinking about this in terms of intellectual property assets, one manuscript can now become:
- Ebook on multiple platforms – Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Nook and many others
- Print version of the book only
- Print version of the book as Workbook or Notebook
- Multiply these by country (our books can be sold in 190 countries as indies)
- Multiply by language, if you want to sell or investigate foreign rights
So you can see how one book can be turned into multiple streams of income. More on this exciting topic here!
(2) Turn an illustrated book into a notebook version
It can be plain notebook pages with the illustrations on, but with no need for the questions that characterize the workbook idea above.
I've done this with The English Country Garden Fine Art Coloring Book that uses my Dad's illustrations. The original coloring book is square but we also have an A4 notebook version for those who like to write as well as color!
You can also take this further and create calendars and other print products as author and illustrator Meg Cowley has done. Thanks to Meg for the inspiration to create these print products in the first place! You can listen to our interview on how to create adult coloring books here.
What other products could you create from your books? Please leave any ideas or questions in the comments below.