Episode 33

How to Monetize a Book with Online Courses

There has never been a better time to publish your book, because now you can do it online. And if you know how to monetize a book with online courses, you can realize unprecedented profits from it. In today’s LMScast with Joshua Millage and Christopher Badgett we discuss how publishing an eBook can be a great introduction to your online course offerings.

There are some compelling reasons to publish a book online. First, the conventional book format is simply difficult for a lot of people. Every individual learns differently, and book-based coursework prevents some students from assimilating the information they need. In digital format, however, a book can incorporate interactive media that makes information more understandable. It’s all about giving the end user whatever they need to succeed in your courses.

Another incentive is revenue potential. As an overview of the areas your course covers, an eBook can be an affordable introduction that demonstrates the value of your paid courses to potential students. Your course offerings are especially attractive if you provide a complete learning access path beyond the eBook, such as a free blog, a podcast, interactive courses sourced through a WordPress learning management system like lifterLMS, live events, mastermind groups, and coaching.

In previous discussions we have looked at monetizing podcasts and blogs, which are already online entities, but creating an eBook requires a break from traditional thinking. For digital consumption, content needs to be presented in quickly readable chunks, not long paragraphs that sit on top of each other in a visually intimidating mass like most printed textbooks. Making text content more readable and adding interactive support media makes your information far more accessible than ever before.

Students engage more with a book if it presents not only the why and what of the subject, but also the how. There is simply no better way to teach a subject than to get students to actively experience it rather than just read about it. An interactive format for your introductory eBook will also demonstrate the capabilities that your online courses offer by using examples of content already stored in your LMS so readers get a taste of the look and feel of your online classroom environment.

Most authors are more focused on their creativity or expertise in their field of study than on marketing an eBook. With an online format you can easily add a call to action, like a link to the course website or a direct purchase button. Without turning yourself into a salesperson you can effectively monetize your content with this simple device.

Online publishing provides extremely low overhead costs to write the book, publish it, promote it, and sell it while introducing your online courses. Because of this, you can afford to offer some free information and support that will make your paid courses far more appealing to potential students. Especially if your subject area is potentially intimidating for some students, offering introductory information in a variety of learning styles can help you reach those students, too.

If you have already written a book, then you have done the groundwork to expand into a full online course offering. And if you have already created your online course and are ready for students to pay to access it, then you can easily create an attractive introductory eBook synopsis. Either way, learning how to monetize a book with online courses is the most lucrative step you can take towards making your online courses successful.

Remember that you can post comments and also subscribe to our newsletter at LMScast.com for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

And if you’re an already successful expert, teacher or entrepreneur looking to grow, check out the LifterLMS team’s signature service called Boost. It’s a complete done for you set up service where your learning platform goes live in just 5 days.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

joshua millage: Hello everyone. We’re back with another episode of LMScast. I’m Joshua Millage and this is Christopher Badgett. Today we’re talking about how to monetize a book and why every single author needs to be using an LMS system. Chris, the question goes to you. How do we monetize a book?

chris badgett: Awesome. We just did 2 episodes about how to monetize a blog, how to monetize a podcast. They’re all a little different based on the media format. How to monetize a book really starts with a conversation about why do that. There’s a couple of reasons. One is that a book is very largely text-based, maybe some images, but mostly text-based. We’re always a proponent of and fighting the battle for the end user, the end learner. Some people don’t do well with books.

We’ve seen a huge amount of people moving away from the written book to audible, to do audio books which you can take with you while you’re running and doing something else or driving in the car and so on. It’s just a way to really open up that content to people with different learning styles.

There’s a huge revenue potential for the author. Their raving fans that take the course are likely going to spend a lot more money for an online course, especially if it’s really full of all that multimedia type of content and also especially if the author includes something like some one on one time or group calls in there, inside the learning management system. Now that this product becomes super valuable, it’s not like a 99 cent eBook or a $25 hardback.

joshua millage: Right, yeah, that’s a great point. They can add a level of further explanation and teaching too, which is interesting. This is really exciting to me because I used to work with a lot of authors, and I think one of the first things that you can do when you’re thinking about monetizing your book, and this is a little more tactical, is chunking it down into focus areas. I think that a lot of authors do a great job of theoretically talking about whatever their subject matter is, but then they don’t go into the application side of it, like applied whatever it is, and helping people chunk things down into actionable steps. Would you agree with that?

chris badgett: Absolutely. A lot of books are about the why and the what, but not necessarily the how to and the action items. Mostly we’re talking about the non-fiction niche in that part of the bookstore.

joshua millage: Yeah, I think you’re right. The how is what people will really pay for. I think that’s the thing when you focus on that then you can create a really valuable course. The book actually then can become kind of a lead generation into your course. I’ve seen a lot of people do that. Actually, the direct marketing guys do it the most blatantly and probably the best at the end of almost every chapter. If you want more, head over to so and so and sign up for my, in their case, it’s usually a newsletter. That’s kind of the old school LMS. The paper newsletter and getting lessons and things every month. I’m reading a book by John Carlton, and it’s like every single chapter is a pitch for that.

chris badgett: To go to the website.

joshua millage: To go the website and to enter in your email to receive something for free, but you know what’s happening. They’re going to put you in a sales funnel, which I think is pretty cool. I think that a lot of people should look at their book as one of the ways to earn money and generate leads for the overall business.
I think a lot of authors don’t look at themselves as a business. They don’t look at their content, they look at themselves as an artist or an author and not someone who should be focused on the money. I think that, not that you should be 100% gung ho, like money, money, money, but as an author in this day and age, there’s never been a better time to monetize your knowledge and monetize your teaching and utilize systems that are really low overhead.

Like with lifterLMS, you buy that plug in for a hundred bucks, and you spin up a WordPress site. I bet you can get everything done for under 500 bucks and you could have a product that could generate thousands upon thousands of dollars of revenue depending on, there’s a lot of things I’m leaving out of that equation. You’ve got to be able to generate leads and things. But if you have a book going out there, that’s going to happen. If you have things in your book that say, “Hey come and take the course that has to do with this chapter,” you’re going to have more leads than you know what to do with. I think that’s really important.

Then in the customer life cycle, after you do the lead generation work which the book can really work, then you’ve got to nurture them so you’re putting out content, free content, free lessons and things that converts them on to your paid program.

chris badgett: Absolutely. It might be a little overwhelming for a beginner, but this system is a really good medium to advanced skill stuff here is looking at your full sales funnel. Looking at what some people call the integrated products suite where you might have an eBook, a book, free blog, a podcast, online courses with your WordPress LMS, live events, mastermind groups, one on one coaching, group coaching. All these things can work together, if you are a subject matter expert, to really propel you forward.

joshua millage: Right. I would love to hear people’s thoughts on this subject and if they have started to monetize their book. What their experience has been like? I know a lot of authors that I’ve worked with in the past. They’re like, “I wrote the book. I thought everything would come together.” It’s like, “No, the journey just started.” There’s an elephant you have to eat, and you can eat it bite by bite. You can just chunk it down.

chris badgett: I’ve heard a lot of authors also say, “I didn’t write a book for the money.” It’s getting harder and harder unless you have a runaway best seller to actually make decent income from publishing a book. What it does become is a big business card. You get exposure on Amazon.com and some of the other popular platforms.

joshua millage: Right. I think it’s a huge benefit. This is great man. This is kind of the book end, no pun intended, for the monetization episodes that we’ve done. Are there any closing thoughts that you have for the audience?

chris badgett: Yeah, I would just say if you have written a book, you’ve already done a lot of the hard work that online course entrepreneurs face in terms of doing research, getting organized, dividing things into chapters and subheadings and so on. You already have the raw building materials to create an online course. In many ways your job is much easier, it’s not about getting started, it’s about morphing it into an online course, chunking it out, adding value. You’re already ahead of the curve.

If you’re a book author and you’re thinking about creating an online course, in some ways you have it easier than people who are starting at the beginning with just creating an online course. I’m also going to say the opposite. If you are an online course creator and want to get into the book market to help get exposure for you and your brand and your subject matter expertise, go for it.

I actually challenged myself once to write a book in a weekend, self publish it. It was up on Amazon in 2 days. It’s called Outdoor Leadership Secrets. You can look it up. It’s totally possible to create a book fast. It’s totally possible to create an online course fast. It’s all about pulling the trigger and riding the bullet as we say. And not stumbling over yourself. Get out there, publish it, put it up there for sale. You can make it better as time goes on.

joshua millage: Yeah, that’s great. It’s really just getting over the fear and going for it. I love that Chris. Thank you all for listening to us. We love doing these episodes and I hope that you find this one valuable. You can head over to LMScast.com and leave us a comment. We want to have a conversation around these topics and see if we can help you further over there at the blog. Thank you so much for listening. We’ll talk to you next week.

Take the mess out of your head and find success on the web by getting your online course membership site project organized with this free simple worksheet

Share

Subscribe