If you're thinking about writing a health book, and are mystified about the publishing world, here are some of the most common questions (and the answers!) to writing a book.
How do I get the royalties from a book?
Two alternative health services providers contacted me this week with this book publishing question.
To the outsider, book publishing is a mysterious world of New York publishers on the one hand, and Amazon.com e-books on the other.
In between, there are many myths and misconceptions about writing and publishing a book, and how to make money from it.
As the author of 40 books, I’ve been on all sides of the fence. I’ve been published by 3 of the biggest publishers, Prentice Hall, Oxford University Press, and Houghton Mifflin.
I’ve also self-published print books, written e-books, and ghostwritten books. So I’ve tried all the different methods, and figured out what can work for you, in these swiftly changing book publishing times.
Here are the top questions and answers I get about book writing and publishing.
1. How do I get an advance from a publisher?
If a publisher likes your book idea and wants to publish your book, they will likely offer you an advance. It could be as low as $2000 - $3000, or it could be much higher, but big advances are very hard to get these days. A more usual advance is $10-$15,000 for a book with good sales potential.
2. How do I get royalties?
You have to pay back the advance before you get any royalties. An advance is only an advance on earnings, kind of like a loan.
The reality is that most books never earn back their advance, and that’s all you’ll ever get. Publishers lose lots of money on many books, hoping to make it back on the few books that actually sell huge quantities. It’s a big gamble for them.
3. How much do I earn on royalties?
If you do earn back your advance, you start getting a royalty on every sale. Royalty rates are between 8-12%. Not even the biggest authors get a higher royalty than that. They make their money from selling enormous numbers of books.
As you can see, a royalty rate of 10% on a $20 book is $2, so you have to move lots of books to actually make money on royalties.
4. How do I get a publisher?
Getting a mainstream publisher is harder than ever. The merge of Penguin and Random House (Random Penguin, anyone?) makes them the world’s biggest publisher, now publishing ¼ of all books.
This leaves fewer independent publishing houses to offer you a publishing contract.
You also need an agent to get a mainstream publisher, and agents are harder to get than publishers – it’s kind of a catch 22 situation.
5. Will I make more money self-publishing?
With this option, you keep all the profits you make, so if you sell lots of books, you make money.
However, you pay all the expenses of creating the book. You have to pay a graphic designer to design the cover and inside pages, an editor to edit your language, and a printer (if you choose to print).
This can add up to lots of expense and time, especially when you have to figure out the process and find people to help you.
6. Can I make money on E-books?
You stand to make more money here, but it still depends on selling lots of books.
Creating an ebook can involve all of the time and effort of self-publishing, except you don’t have to pay for printing. Or you can simply create a PDF. You can then format your book for Amazon.com or other e-readers.
7. Can I hire a ghostwriter to write my book for me?
If you’re not a writer, hate writing, or don’t have time to write, you can hire a ghostwriter.
Professional ghostwriters can be very expensive, ranging from $30,000 - $70,000! Some of the top ghostwriters charge $100,000 or more per book.
PS: Did you know that most business and health books are written by a ghostwriter or collaborator? Top health experts and business professionals simply don’t have the time to sit and write a book. Do you think that Dr. Oz, who churns out a book every year, sits and write them all himself in between surgery and TV appearances? I don’t think so.
So what’s the best method to make money on my book?
As an alternative health provider, you should think of your book as a lead generation tool, to establish your credibility so you bring in more ideal clients for consulting, or for other products you create such as online programs or a line of branded supplements.
The good news: I’m creating a pilot program for how to Write a Health Book.
Pilot Project – limited space
I’m starting with a small pilot project of up to 12 people, and only 1 space is left!
What you’ll learn:
- How to define your topic and narrow it down
- How to choose a riveting title and subtitle
- An easy way to outline your book so you never get stuck
- A super-simple way to get the content written, even if you hate writing
- How to get an eye-catching cover
- The best options for publishing your book today
And much more!
You’ll be in a small, private group where you’ll get lots of hands-on help.
Guarantee: If you follow my program, you will be holding a published book in your hands in just 90 days!
Right now, you’re probably thinking, “All that sounds great, but I don’t know where to begin. How do I write my book, and what’s the best way to publish it?”
Let’s face it. Writing and publishing a book is a daunting task if you’ve never done it before.
That’s why I’m delighted to offer you a roadmap to get your book out into the world.
It’s free! But in exchange, I’m asking a very small favor of you, so I can help you further.
Please shoot me an email, answering these 4 questions, and I’ll send you the roadmap right away.
- What kind of book do you want to write?
- What is your biggest stumbling block in writing and publishing your book?
- What would it mean to your business or practice, and to you personally, to get your book out into the world?
- What would the cost be to your business or practice if you DON’T write and publish your book?
Just copy and paste these 4 questions, with your answers, into an email and send it to: Lynda@LyndaGoldmanCopywriting.com I will reply within 24 hours (probably sooner) with your road map.
Thanks so much, I look forward to hearing from you!