In 2015, a Society of Authors report found that a professional writer earned about £11, 000 a year (below the minimum wage), and just over 11% of professional authors were able to make a living from their work, without having an additional salary.
The message is loud and clear: if you want to earn a decent living as an author, other than from the sale of your books, you have to explore other sources of income. Thankfully, you don’t have to look further than your author brand.
Opportunity is all around. The only limit is your imagination.
7 ways to make money from writing and your books
1. Your website is your number one brand platform – use it
It goes without saying that you need a website. I’m a firm advocate of authors having their own platforms. Even if all you have is one page (also known as a landing page, see example of author branding landing page), welcoming people to your website, it’s more than enough.
In the words of a wise man: do not build your house on someone else’s land (eg, Facebook).
You may also find this useful: the best blogging platform for authors.
2. Use affiliate links
Earn money by referring or recommending books or products that you use, to other people. Amazon Associates is a great example of this.
You sign up for the service. And whenever you want to recommend a product, log into your Associates account, search for the product and a unique link will be generated for you, which you share with your readers.
It doesn’t cost you or your readers anything.
Here’s an example:
Be careful and only recommend products or services that you use yourself and can attest to their performance.
3. Sell ad space on your website or newsletter
Admittedly, this is not for everyone. The one advice I would give is to ensure that you partner with people whose values align with yours. As tempting as it is, don’t just ‘follow the money’.
4. Position yourself as an expert
You are an expert in something, even though you may not realise it. Marie Kondo wrote a book on decluttering (yes, decluttering) and now, she’s the go-to person for corporates and consumer shows on all things decluttering.
There are Facebook pages on otters, acts of kindness, and chickens and eggs (yes, you read that right), so rest assured there is a market out there for your passion or topic.
Sign up with speaker agencies and be pro-active about seeking out those opportunities for yourself.
5. Merchandise your author brand
This is not as hard as it seems. The best example of author merchandising is probably J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore, her digital and entertainment company.
You may not be J.K. Rowling, but you can learn from her business approach to monetising and growing her author brand.
Products you can merchandise include characters from your books, mugs, stationery… (traditionally published authors: check your contracts for your merchandising rights before doing this).
6. Create a course on your expert topic
Yes, there are people who would pay to learn from you. An example is our course on how to go from book idea to finished manuscript in five steps.
7. Become a consultant
I consult for some companies, helping them with their digital/content strategy. Abidemi.tv Ltd is my full-time business, but consulting is a way to help companies benefit from my expertise as a content strategist, and increase visibility of the abidemi.tv brand.
It’s a win-win for both parties.
Over to you. What other ways can you monetise your author brand? Please share in the comments below.
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Also published on Medium.