My Books Are My Third Revenue Stream

January 23rd, 2009

I feel like I’m writing A LOT about multiple revenue streams lately.  I will continue to share my personal revenue streams each Friday until I’m done.  Again, the purpose of writing about this is not to brag, or intimidate, or convince you to buy my cool stuff, rather to inspire you to think about what YOU could do to diversify your income.  Remember where I came from… laid off, hopeless and practically helpless. My goal is to help people, including myself, achieve income security.

My third revenue stream is my books - that is, the books I personally write.  This revenue stream refers to actual money made from book sales (not stuff that the books lead to, like speaking or other opportunities).

Remember in the post about professional speaking (as a revenue stream) that I asked my publisher how much money I would make from each book sale.  His response was “Jason, you won’t make any money from selling books.  No one does.  If you want to make money, you do that as a speaker or consultant.”  Aside from what I wrote in that post, I had one big issue with not making any money from book sales:

I. Was. Hungry.

I was hungry for income. I was hungry for a little self-pride (which had all but gone away).  I was hungry for a win… any kind of success.  I needed to pick up my ego from the floor and get back in the saddle.  I needed to win.  I needed to make some money from book sales.

I vowed to prove him wrong.  I wasn’t sure how I would sell books, since I had never done it before, but I was pretty confident that people would buy my LinkedIn book.  It seemed like a great title and topic, and I knew a lot of professionals in transition were wondering how to use LinkedIn.  In fact, I estimated that everyone who had ever signed up on LinkedIn had asked the question “NOW WHAT???”

Even though all of my author friends told me that you don’t make any money from book sales, just as my publisher had, I was hungry.  Even if I made a few hundred dollars a month from book sales, that would be enough to justify the time I put into it.

(of course, I had NO idea how being an author of a book could catapult my career, marketing, exposure, etc.)

So I wrote the book with the goal of making money from sales in mind.

And I have made money from sales.  It was more than a few hundred dollars a month.  I still have author friends who either don’t make much per sale, or who only use their book(s) as a way to get speaking and consulting gigs.

Even though there are a number of LinkedIn books out there now (even another one by my publisher), I am happy to have not only one of the first books on LinkedIn, but the first SECOND EDITION book on LinkedIn.

Of course, my second book on Facebook for professionals was good, and is profitable (which means I am getting royalty money from that, too), and I am toying around with a third book.  That will be it, I keep telling myself.  We’ll see if I can get over this book writing thing :)

Can you write a book? I’m amazed at how many people have a book in them, and they KNOW IT!  Let me recommend two resources for you:

  • My publisher just put out a book called 42 Rules for Driving Success with Books.  If you work at or own a company, even if it’s “just” Me, Inc., I strongly encourage you to get this book. It’s a collection of stories of how authors have “driven success” to their companies or careers because of their books. Inspiring and fun (and, I’m a featured author :) ).
  • I developed a webinar called WRITE YOUR BOOK! This is an introduction to ideas around the book process, what it takes to get your book written, thoughts on publishers, etc.  One person who listened to the live webinar (which I recorded and have available for purchase) has since written and published her first book, which is an AWESOME book for introverts called The Successful Introvert: How to enhance your job search and advance your career.  I was proud as a poppa to see that book come out!

Here is a breakdown of the revenue streams I’ve shared so far:

  • Revenue Stream 1: (not announced yet)
  • Revenue Stream 2: JibberJobber Partnership Program
  • Revenue Stream 3: Books I write
  • Revenue Stream 4: (not announced yet)
  • Revenue Stream 5: Professional Speaking
  • Revenue Stream 6: (not announced yet)
  • Revenue Stream 7: (not announced yet)
  • Revenue Stream 8: (not announced yet)
  • Revenue Stream 9: (not announced yet)
  • Revenue Stream 10: (not announced yet)

Inspired? I hope so!  Any guesses on my other revenue steams?

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11 Responses to “My Books Are My Third Revenue Stream”

  1. Nancy B says:

    OK… I’ll guess…

    JiberJobber Memberships
    Webinars
    Case Study Consulting
    Personal Branding Consulting
    Corporate Social Media Workshops
    Blogging
    Blog Talk Radio Shows

  2. Jason, I’m curious: what order are you listing your revenue streams in? Chronological, income, time demand, availability, etc.?

    And regarding the book income specifically, have you looked at revenue of PDF sales versus paper sales?

  3. Jason Alba says:

    Nancy, I would say 50% yes and 50% no… kind of. How’s that for vague? Some are definites.

    Sophie, good question… I’m sharing my revenue streams the same why I write any of my blog posts – what am I most interested in writing about today? There is a little twist, though, which is that I’m writing about the ones that are … how shall I say this, easiest to write about. Some of the revenue streams I will write about in the future might be a little harder for me to write about. It’s kind of hard being so transparent :)

    Regarding book sales, what I know is that MOST of the sales come through Amazon.com PERIOD. I’m amazed at the percentage of sales from Amazon. Beyond that, there aren’t a ton of sales made through my publisher, which is the only place to get the ebook… but if you do purchase from the publisher he shows other stuff, like the ebook, as well as my other book (paperback and ebook), etc.

    Part of that, I’m sure, is that I’m not pushing the book link from my publisher enough. Something to consider.

  4. Jason,

    Don’t bother pushing the book link from your publisher. I did a split test between not only my publisher and Amazon but also between Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Amazon won in a landslide in BOTH cases.

    I know Mitchell won’t like me saying that – but that’s been my experience. ;)

  5. Dan Blank says:

    One of the revenue streams just has to be a Jibber Jobber Lemonade stand.
    :)

  6. Jason Alba says:

    @Kathy – agreed … in general. I won’t not push people there, but I realize that most sales will come from Amazon.

    @Dan – HOW’D YOU KNOW? In fact, this reminds me of a very cool business idea that I need to blog about…

  7. Oh DON’T tell me you’re starting a lemonade stand when I had that EXACT same idea!!!!!

  8. Lauren says:

    I’ve had this concept in my head for a while, but I haven’t been able to articulate it as you have. I asked my boyfriend one day, “Why are people pigeonholed into their career when they ultimately have many different talents and interests?” His response to me was that a person’s value is only as high as their skills are valued by a potential employer/customer. We talked about it some more and came to the conclusion that, essentially, that’s just how our society works. I beg to differ though; I think if more people used your multiple income streams mentality, we’d have happier people, more productive workers and better families, too. It might even help our struggling economy–who knows! Now, I just need to brainstorm my revenue streams…

  9. [...] from the third and fifth revenue streams I wrote that my publisher told me I wouldn’t make any money from [...]

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