Achieving Your Dream: Writing and Publishing a Book

By Jan 25 , 20090 Comments

Many Americans would like to write a book, but think they don’t have a prayer of getting published. Admit it, you’ve got a great story to tell or some expertise to share. Whether it’s a dramatic tale from your military service, great stories about your career training golden retrievers, or step-by-step instructions to bake the best homemade bread ever, you know something that other people would pay to learn.

The good news: Sharing your work with the world is not only possible, it’s easy and inexpensive. By harnessing the reach and power of the Internet, millions of people with a passion to communicate their ideas have achieved the dream of becoming a published author.

Take Mike Geary, for example. He earned a science degree at a small college in Pennsylvania and got a good job in environmental consulting. But his passion was fitness, and in his spare time, he became a certified personal trainer and nutritionist. He wrote answers to client questions about weight loss and exercise, then did a little research on the Internet and discovered how many people were searching for answers to the question, “How do I flatten my stomach and lose fat?”

The result was his first book, “The Truth About Six-Pack Abs.” Now, Geary’s e-books and Web site on exercise and fitness gross $6 million a year.

“I never thought I would be an author,” Geary says. “I wrote scientific and technical papers at my old job. In 2004, I got the idea and since then it has taken off.”

How did he do it?

Even 10 years ago, Geary’s book might never have seen the light of day, let alone made him a millionaire. Self-publishing through a vanity press or print-on-demand service requires up-front payment and relies on authors to promote and sell their work. But now, publishing an e-book like Geary’s can be accomplished at a fraction of the cost.

To reach book buyers, Geary tapped into an “affiliate marketing” system to promote his book online. Affiliate marketers operate a Web site, blog or other online outlet devoted to a specific topic — similar to a brick-and-mortar boutique. The commissions they receive on every sale encourage them to seek out the right customers for your book, and give them effective incentives to buy.

One of the largest affiliate marketing networks, ClickBank, provides e-book authors with access to more than 110,000 active online affiliates who reach millions of readers. Authors, software developers, video producers and musicians — anyone with a downloadable product — have successfully used the Web-based platform to connect their products to affiliates, and through them, to buyers.

ClickBank authors retain total control of their work, without relying on agents and publishers. Timely topics can be published right away — without the 12- to 24-month wait of traditional publishing. Want to update your facts or add another chapter? Just do it. An e-book can be revised anytime.

You don’t have to be a business whiz to publish your book and make money. According to Mike Geary, ClickBank manages all of the purchases and financial transactions he needs to run his online business. The company accepts payment by credit cards or PayPal, automatically pays weekly or bi-weekly, and provides guaranteed tracking of sales, customer service and state-of-the-art fraud protection.

It’s the biggest company that connects authors to both an affiliate marketing system and total payment processing services. While ClickBank and its 110,000 marketing affiliates handle promotion and sales, you can focus on writing your next book!

How do you turn your ideas into a book? Here are some tips to get started.

  • Focus on something you know well. It should be a subject you’re passionate and knowledgeable about.
  • Make time for writing every day. Set a goal — a number of words or a page count — and stick to it.
  • Worried about your writing skills? You can hire a freelance editor to clean up your syntax. Find one on Elance.com or MediaBistro.com’s Freelance Marketplace.
  • Research the competitive market for your book. Check bookstores, search the Web and visit the library to use publishing industry resources such as BooksInPrint.com and Publisher’s Weekly.
  • Google offers cool tools for trend-spotting at google.com/trends/hottrends. Google’s search engine updates the 100 top search terms every hour, with links to news and blog posts.

If you’ve always dreamed of sharing your ideas and knowledge with others, there’s never been a better time than now. Visit ClickBank today to get started.

- Courtesy of ARA