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!

Books and Authors to Check Out in 2021

71 Books and Authors to Check Out in 2021!

Need a book to read in 2021? Want to find a new author to check out? Then, explore this list of 71 books and authors featured in our author spotlight series in a variety of genres.

How Do I Get My Poetry Published?

How Do I Get My Poetry Published?

Learn how to get your poetry published, whether you're trying to get a poem or an entire book of poems published.

Dyslexia Is a Writer's Superpower (With Help)

Dyslexia Is a Writer's Superpower (With Help)

Author PJ Manney shares how dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia should not be viewed as impediments to becoming a writer. Rather, they should be viewed as writing superpowers, especially when paired with certain technologies.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Falsely Accused

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Falsely Accused

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character get falsely accused for something.

By Any Means Necessary: Finding Unorthodox Ways to Break-In

By Any Means Necessary: Finding Unorthodox Ways to Break-In

Novelist D. Eric Maikranz gives advice for how to get your readers to sit up and take notice of your work in untraditional ways.

M.M. Chouinard: On Jumping From One Project to Another

M.M. Chouinard: On Jumping From One Project to Another

Novelist M.M. Chouinard immediately started writing her second book after finishing her first and shares here why that was the best decision she could have made.

How to Write a Eulogy When the Need Arises

How to Write a Eulogy When the Need Arises

While plenty of eulogies are delivered by a clergy member, the perspective provided by a close friend or family member can retell cherished memories of the deceased. If you find yourself needing to pen one, let this advice by Paul Vachon guide you.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 564

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a disappointment poem.

How to Approach Friends and Family About Your Memoir

How to Approach Friends and Family About Your Memoir

No one can decide whether showing your memoir to loved ones before it goes to press is the right choice for you. However, if you're planning to approach your friends and family about it, let memoirist Ronit Plank give you 3 tips for doing so.