Career success

How Creative People Can Be An Authority Online

Self publishing



The two ways you can be an authority online:


- The first way is you cover your niche area like no one else is doing.


- The second way is an extension of the first- you self publish books related to your niche.

Read this as a companion piece along with 'Career advice for Creative people'.


This guide is about writing great stuff about your particular area and becoming an authority figure online.


This guide tells you to publish the book in a digital (PDF) format and to sell it from your own website, bypassing traditional publishers and Amazon for a major share of the sale proceeds. Of course, this means you will be marketing the book yourself.


1. The opportunity: If you know a skill that other people use to make money (e.g. certifications, career advancement, books about making money online sell very well, irony attached), you can make a living by teaching that skill. People will pay for content that is freely available, but is better organized and distributed.


An easy way to see if potential readers are searching for similar products online is with Google Adwords keyword research tool. Just search for keyword planner tool on Google, put in your keywords about your niche. Download the keywords report as a csv file, open it in excel, in the column marked 'monthly search volume', sort in descending order. Most probably, the keywords with top queries are your chapters.


2. Build the audience first: Once you know there is demand for a book, start two things simultaneously. You will start working on the book. And you will also start talking about your upcoming book, the main ideas, the main problems which readers need guidance upon, about your process, about the trends in the topic area, about the myths that need to be addressed in the area, about the experts in the area...basically, cover the topic like no one else is doing. At the end of each post, direct readers to a provisional landing page for the book (with its own email capture system) and ask for email ids so you can send updates, keeping them in the loop about the upcoming book.


3. Writing: You can move towards being considered as an expert if you can teach about a topic through a book, and you finish a book quickly if you set a target of say, 1000 words/day.


Things to write:

The book: 30,000 words (@1000 words/ day, in 30 days)

3 big blog posts (on three most valuable things in your book) to support your case - 1,000 words each

7-10 guest blog posts to build the buzz and to get links to your book- 1,000 words each

3 emails to your launch list (people who have given you their email addresses for updates about the book and the topic- 500 words each


4. Naming your book: Clearly communicate your value proposition. The best titles focus on outcomes. List the ways in which your readers' career and lifestyle will change after finishing your book. Try and incorporate these into the title or subtitle. For example, books about software development are titled 'Mastering Android App Development,' 'Step-by-Step UX Design,' or 'Professional Web App Design.'


Some common formulas are:


Mastering _____

The _____ Handbook

Step-by-Step _____

The _____ Bible

Learn _____ from Scratch

The Essential Guide to _____


Note: It is preferable now to improve upon these formulas and point out the benefits to the reader- for example, 'How to master self publishing and launch a profitable long-term side business'


5. Pricing & Packaging the book: Here, you either go with the traditional book prices, Amazon's pricing model (just go to site and see how books in the topic area are priced), or the model favored by the successful ebook authors who follow the 'package' model.


Example packages:


Book (30000 words) $39

Book + Videos $79

The Complete Package: E.g. PDF, audio format, video lessons (have the highest perceived value), weekly course, paperback, screencasts, software code, design resources) $169


Charging a lower price isn’t always a bad idea, though. If you sell your book for $9, you might make less $ but you could end up with a larger customer list, which you could leverage to sell your next book at $49.


6. Interviews: Interviewing experts in your niche brings value to your role as an expert and to your book project. Many will give you interviews for the exposure.


7. Design & Formatting: PDF is the easiest and most accessible digital format. Next up: .epub (you need to convert all pages from html to create an ebook in epub format)


8. Cover: The best covers are simple one- for example, thick white text on a bright red cover.


9. Your blog: Wordpress is the most common blog software. It is free. And you can get all the bells and whistles (newsletters, surveys, eCommerce etc.) mostly for free. There are plenty of advice on setting up a clean wordpress blog and you will plenty of cheap developer help whenever you need.


10. Your social media presence: Twitter account, Facebook page for the book, Linkedin profile. These are the basics.


11. Own the keyword: Try to put in the most important keyword related to your book in your domain name, your blog name, your Twitter handle, your Facebook page and so on. You can go one step ahead and put in the benefit of your book as well- for example, 'selfpublishingsuccess'.


11. Work on your launch list: Stay connected with your audience. Once every other week or so, send some relevant and interesting content (big blog posts, sample chapters, roundups etc) to your launch list. Give them a time-limited discount for being on the launch list.


12. Getting Guest Blog Posts: Make a list of the blogs you’d like to write for. You can find these by searching Twitter for most tweeted stuff in your niche, the people with most followers in your niche, the blogs with most shared content in your niche (use Build the relationship over time by posting comments on their posts or sending an email telling them how you have been a long time reader of their blog, how you like their this or that, that you are interested in the topic itself and just have done so and so, and would they be kind enough to give you an opportunity to write about your passion topic on their blog?


(Note: Google nowadays is having second thoughts on the guest blogging method of link building. However, it is okay if your are doing it just for the exposure and are the genuine deal.)


13. At the end of all your blog posts tell them about your book, pointing them to your blog to give their email ids for updates.


14. Preview Copies & Testimonials: Give away preview copies and ask for feedback and testimonials. Write the quotes for other bloggers and let them edit it. The best kind of reviews happen not on your site but elsewhere- readers' websites, Facebook, Twitter etc. You just link out to them.


15. The sales page: Use the problem- agitation (all the things the problem is causing to people)- solution method of copywriting.


16. Things to include on a typical landing page for a book: (search Google for 'great landing pages for book')


Benefit Headline

Benefit sub headline (why someone should care)

List of benefits inside (bullet points, maybe)

Sample chapter

Table of contents

Social proof (logos of prominent websites and brands who have written about you)

Testimonials (off-site links and excerpts from at least 5 reviews, they can even be negative)

About the author (brief bio)

Listing of packages

A purchase link (also known as a CTA button- Call To Action- 'Get the Pdf right now')

FAQ to overcome objections (Answer questions about file types, a refund policy, skill-level expectations, and any other objections from potential buyers)

Another purchase link (CTA)


Tip: Also look at book pages on Amazon, especially in the areas your book covers. See how it is structured and what kind of words are being said.


17. Accepting payments: Use Gumroad (takes 5% and 25 cents off every transaction), Sendowl, or Paypal. (Gumroad or Sendowl will handle everything. Paypal will not handle the delivery part. But you can make it work via IPN, short for Instant product Notifications, some tech help is needed, that's all).


18. Other options: You can sell Kindle versions, but you don't control pricing options and the email lists. Apple takes 30% of all sales and book price must be below $15.


19. Analytics: Set up your Google Analytics to track visitors.


20. Launch day: Email your list the day before you launch to let them know about the launch and on the launch day email let them know, again. Ask for buys, or links (Reddit / HN submission) or shares (Tweets, Facebook / Linkedin posts) on social networking sites.


21. Publish a blog post that says what the book is and has a strong CTA.


22. Your work has only begun: No matter how the sales are on Day 1, successful authors like Nathan Barry (whose book is actually called 'Authority' and was used for this guide) advise to keep teaching and writing about your book topic with purchase CTAs to reach new people in your target audience. And to continue cultivating your email audience- giving out useful content for free and getting new email ids and sending new and useful content to the original audience, soft selling your book after every couple of emails or so.


Also, creating automated email courses ensure that all new subscribers get all of your best content from the past dripped out over time vs. only getting the new stuff.


23. Affiliates: Affiliates are other websites and blogs who send traffic to you and in return get commissions from any sale that happens from the visit. You track traffic from each affiliate through a tracking code attached to the link. An affiliate commission of 50% for an eBook is not high because you don't have any other costs. Start having an 'affiliate' link on your blog. Weed out dubious affiliates. 90% of your sales will only come from 10% of them anyway. Services like Gumroad help you manage affiliates.


24. New editions: You should give 50% off for existing customers. It is a digital book.


25. Price drop deals: Wait at least 6 months after launch


26. Refunds: Only worry if your refund rate is over 5%.


27. Print versions: There are services like which enable writers to convert their books into printable formats, and they can sell 'print on demand' versions of the book- that is, a book is printed out and sent to the customer when they buy a print book. No need to pre-print 1000 (minimum) copies of your book, tying up your money. Amazon Createspace also gives this service.


(Source: 'Authority' by Nathan Barry)


Thank you for reading.
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