How do you become a published author? What format of publishing would serve you and your readers in the best way? Answering all such questions we commonly have with regards to publishing, we have Jyotsna Ramachandran with us today. She is a home-based entrepreneur who runs her own publishing company – Happy Self Publishing. This interview comes as a part of our #DigitalQandA sessions on our Facebook Group.
Q1. Sorav: How does one prepare oneself before writing a book?
Jyotsna: Before writing a book, one must ask themselves some key questions that’ll give more clarity and make the book writing process easier:
– What’s my purpose for writing this book?
– Who is my target reader?
– What are their needs, desires and problems?
– How is my book going to serve them?
– How will my book be different from the other books on that topic?
– For me to consider this book as a success, what are the criteria it should meet?
After answering these questions, one must list down their core competencies and try to match it with their reader’s problems. This will help in narrowing down the book’s topic. After identifying the topic, you need to do a mind-mapping session to list down all the concepts/ideas that you’d like to cover in this book. After doing this brain-dumping activity, you should pick the best ideas and arrange them in the form of a logical outline (aka Table of Contents). This should serve as the roadmap for you to write the book.
Q2. Sorav: How much time one needs to spend to draft a book?
Jyotsna: This totally depends on the book’s genre and the author’s writing skills. I teach my clients to go from no book idea to a published book in 90 days. After they have a arrived at a Table of Contents, if an author spends 1 hour every day in writing, them most people should be able to finish a 25000-word book in 30-45 days.
Q3. Sorav: What’s the ideal book size? Can we create multiple small 20 pages booklets?
Jyotsna: The author should first be clear on how are they going to use the book. If it’s going to be sold purely online, then 15000-25000 words is more than enough. This can be formatted to a 100-150 page book. However, if the author wants to use the book as a personal branding tool to position themselves as an expert and grow their business, they would most likely be giving out the book physically to prospective clients. In that case, I would suggest them to write a longer book (25000-40000 words) so that it can be formatted as a 150-250 page book. This looks more substantial. I’m not a big fan of 20-page booklets as readers don’t consider such books to be valuable though the content may be great. So, instead of selling such booklets, they can be designed into a good looking PDF and used as a great lead magnet on your website or inside your longer book, to build your email list.
Q4. Sorav: eBook vs. Hard Copy – What’s better?
Jyotsna: These days one should make their book available in both formats. That’s because the same content can be repurposed to serve 2 kinds of readers- those that prefer to buy cheaper e-books to read on their kindle device and those that are a little old school (like me!) and prefer to buy the physical book. In fact, I recommend my clients to also publish the audio-book version of their book as that can help them to reach out to a different segment of people who prefer listening over reading.
Q5. Sorav: Can you share your case study of how one book changed your life?
Jyotsna: When I starting running an online business from home, people around me started asking me how I was able to run a business while being a mom. To serve all those moms who are caught up in the dilemma of family v/s career, I wrote my first book “Job Escape Plan”. It has been 3 years since I wrote it and I would say that it is my golden ticket to success. The moment I became an author, the world started looking at me differently. I started attracting new business opportunities, speaking assignments, interviews in newspapers/ radio/ podcasts, etc. I started conducting webinars, workshops, etc. to teach what I know. All this led me to start my own publishing company called Happy Self Publishing which has served 300+ authors in 25+ countries in the last 2 years. I would credit all this success to my book as that helped me position myself as an expert.
Q6. Sorav: How book along with a strong digital personal brand has helped you? Can you share some stories?
Jyotsna: Soon after I launched my book, I realized the importance of building my digital personal brand. People who loved my book wanted to connect with me, therefore I set my personal website www.jyotsnaramachandran.com where I shared the details of my blog, my speaking page, coaching program, etc. After starting Happy Self Publishing, I am more intentional and consistent with my digital branding efforts. I put out educational videos, blog & podcasts every week and also post our client success stories, testimonials etc on our social media pages. More than 50% of our clients are people who’ve been following my personal brand for a while. It has helped them know, like and trust me.
Q7. Sorav: How much money can one make with eBooks?
Jyotsna: This depends on the book’s topic and how much effort an author is willing to put in marketing their books. Some of my author friends who have a proper marketing strategy in place, earn over $50000 a month as royalties from their book sales. Thanks for self-publishing, platforms like Amazon give authors up to 70% royalties on ebooks. However, if we just upload an ebook and don’t do anything about it, it’s difficult to even earn $100 a month.
Q8. Sorav: What kind of opportunities can an eBook bring to you?
Jyotsna: Even before writing an ebook, authors should have some kind of business behind the book. The first step to connect the book with your business is to collect the email IDs of the readers. The only way to do this is to offer a free bonus (like an action guide or resource list or a mini video series) inside the book. Then the authors must nurture their followers by regularly sending valuable content to their email. After a while the author can sell an online course, other books, a membership community, a live event, coaching programs, affiliate products or their own products or services to their tribe.
Q9. Sorav: Can you share how many clients you have handled so far in this space? Whose book changed the ball game?
Jyotsna: We’ve worked with more than 300 clients from across the globe. We helped in promoting Brian Tracy’s online course during his book launch. He is an international speaker who has written more than 80 books. That was a game changer for us as he was kind enough to give us a very good video testimonial.
Q10. Sorav: Should brands invest in creating an industry-specific eBook for earning business and consulting opportunities?
Jyotsna: Absolutely! Brands should mandatorily have a value-packed ebook which they can give for free on their website. The founder of the brand should also write a book targeting the prospective clients as some of the readers would definitely get converted as clients. A book is any day more powerful than a business card!
Q11. Sorav: Is there any framework for writing a book that you would like to share?
Jyotsna: I would recommend people to take up my free online course: www.happyselfpublishing.com/challenge where I share my 6 proven frameworks for writing a book.
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