Thinking Beyond the Book: What's Your Demand Curve?

Author:
Publish date:
Image placeholder title

At the Writer's Digest Conference, Richard Nash delivered an inspiring keynote. Writers loved it.

Deep in his talk, a slide flashed up on the screen that, to the untrained eye, might not have seemed like much. It was a piece of innovative and critical business advice that spoke to the transformation of how authors should envision the growth and profitability of their careers.

Thinking Beyond the Book
Nash's slide shows all the things that authors might do to earn money beyond just selling a book. It speaks to the famous 8 intangibles that Kevin Kelly once wrote about—the factors that now drive the so-called "new economy" in our digital culture.

  • Immediacy (priority access, immediate delivery)
  • Personalization (tailored just for you)
  • Interpretation (support and guidance)
  • Authenticity (how can you be sure it is the real thing?)
  • Accessibility (wherever, whenever)
  • Embodiment (books, live music)
  • Patronage (paying simply because it feels good)
  • Findability (when there are millions of everything
    requesting our attention, being found is
    valuable)

The trick is think of all the ways that you can deliver special experiences or unique products to your audience that carry a high value. You will sell or offer fewer of them (because they make greater demands on your time, energy, or resources), but you will also charge more for them.

The curve Nash shows is not the only or final curve, just an example. Here are the categories I'd pull out and order as most common:

  • E-books (cheapest)
  • Limited edition books
  • Personalized or customized books
  • Classes & workshops
  • One-on-one experiences (most expensive)

See how these take advantage of the 8 intangibles that Kelly outlined? Personalization? Authenticity? Embodiment?

Yes, this is, in part, a marketing exercise. But just as much it's about being creative and imaginative—about doing things that fit with who you are, and what your readers want.

There are many other high-powered models you probably know about, like The-Book-Is-a-Souvenir Seth Godin or Hugh MacLeod.

You won't be Seth Godin overnight. But always think beyond the book when envisioning how your career will grow.

Your turn: What have you seen authors do that take advantage of the 7 intangibles, and go beyond the book? Share examples in the comments!

ryoji-iwata-QKHmi6ENAmk-unsplash

I Spy

Every writer needs a little inspiration once and a while. For today's prompt, someone is watching your narrator ... but there's a twist.

Brian Freeman: On "Rebooting" Another Writer's Legacy

Brian Freeman: On "Rebooting" Another Writer's Legacy

In this article, Brian Freeman, author of Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Treachery, discusses how he took up the mantle of a great series and made it his own.

Sole vs. Soul (Grammar Rules)

Sole vs. Soul (Grammar Rules)

Learn how to distinguish the sole from the soul with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

How to Make the Most of a Virtual Writing Workshop or Conference

How to Make the Most of a Virtual Writing Workshop or Conference

In this brave new world of virtual learning and social distance, Kristy Stevenson helps us make the most of the virtual conference.

When Is Historical Accuracy Inaccurate?

When Is Historical Accuracy Inaccurate?

Writers of historical fiction must always ride the line between factual and fictitious. Here, author Terry Roberts discusses how to navigate that line.

What Is Creative Nonfiction in Writing?

What Is Creative Nonfiction in Writing?

In this post, we look at what creative nonfiction (also known as the narrative nonfiction) is, including what makes it different from other types of fiction and nonfiction writing and more.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Four WDU Courses, a Competition Deadline Reminder, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce four WDU courses, a Competition deadline reminder, and more!

Funny You Should Ask: What Is Going to Be the Next Big Trend in Fiction?

Funny You Should Ask: What Is Going to Be the Next Big Trend in Fiction?

Funny You Should Ask is a humorous and handy column by literary agent Barbara Poelle. In this edition, she discusses the next big fiction trend, and whether or not all books are the same.

From Script

A Change in Entertainment Business Currency and Disrupting Storytelling with Historical Significance (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, learn about how crypto currency is making a wave in the entertainment business, what percentages really mean in film financing, the pros and cons of writing partnerships, an exclusive interview with three-time NAACP Image Awards nominee, co-creator and former showrunner of CBS’ 'S.W.A.T.' Aaron Rahsaan Thomas and more!