The 7-P High-Profit Self-Publishing System
I left something out of my interview last week with Self-Publishing guru Gary Scott. On purpose, though. I thought this was so important, it deserved special treatment this week.
It's Gary's 7-P High-Profit Self-Publishing System — developed from 42 years of trying and failing — as well as succeeding and making many millions of dollars in self-publishing. As soon as I heard Gary list these, I recognized gold. Essentially, this takes you A-Z through the essentials you need to be paying attention to as you start and grow your high-profit self-publishing biz.
Here are Gary's 7 Ps of High-Profit Self-Publishing:
Gary’s big on the “golden rule of simplicity.” That is, according to Gary, you must publish on something you're passionate about … about something that excites you. This is why you'll dedicate the time and energy to make it successful. It's also how you'll find fulfillment, as opposed to chasing empty money your entire life. So find your passion, and the rest of the work you need to do from there will come easily.
That’s been true for my father and me. For a couple of years now, I've helped my dad with a self-publishing business around model airplanes. He loves building and flying model airplanes, and has done so since he was a kid. I love Internet marketing and helping out family, so that makes my part easy. Together, we identified a project we can do online that leverages both our passions.
Once you’ve identified the passion you want to publish about, find a common problem, dream, or desire shared by people who share your passion.
In the case of my dad's model airplane publishing project, he had identified that cutting foam wings for model airplanes was a subject for which there were too many complex, expensive, and unwieldy solutions out there. He'd also created his own easier solution to the problem, a solution he'd already taught to other modelers and could record video instruction on.
With your passion — and a fundamental problem around that passion — identified, you need to make sure you know who you're selling to: other people like you, who share the passion and have experienced the problem. Without this, your publishing project is a no-go. But, with a market of people like you who want the problem solved, you're ready to go into business!
For my dad's "foam wing cutting" video, we found a small market of people who are searching on Google for terms related to foam wing cutting. Not enough to support a full-time business for us, but enough to support some nice spare-time cash, no doubt!
The Profitably-Priced Product
Gary likes to use a 10-to-1 rule in publishing. In other words, he likes to make at least 10X the actual cost of production for each sale of the product. So, if a video costs $2.50 to make, you should sell it for at least $25. If a report costs $1 to print, you should price it at or above $10. This gives you flexibility to spend on marketing and other expenses, plus pocket a good income for yourself. Of course, if the problem you're solving is a very expensive one, your products can justify a price well over the 10-to-1 rule.
Before I created a website to sell the video, my dad had been selling the videos individually on eBay for anywhere between $5 and $15 each. Essentially, this amounted to charity work for his fellow modelers, because of his time and energy packaging and shipping the videos. We immediately increased the price to $29 on our website, and now sell many more in a month than he ever did on eBay … with very happy customers to boot!
Also a quick note regarding digital products. With my Dad's video we priced the download the same as the physical video, minus shipping charges. That's worked enormously well, as most customers now choose the download, and sales increased with this option. My rule for digital products is to price them equivalent to what they'd cost as a physical product, and in every publishing situation where I've seen this done, it's worked very well.
The Prospecting Path
Here's where you start to look at turning your idea into a sale. You already identified the typical person and the market who would buy your product. Now, you have to identify where you can reach them at a cost you can afford, and what you're going to do to turn them into a customer.
My dad and I use a number of methods for attracting customers for the foam wing cutting video. Search for "foam wing cutting" on Google and we come up first (and second) in the organic listings. We also do Pay-Per-Click advertising on both the search and content networks. And, we've done online press releases, plus he posts in forums where it's relevant to mention the video. Then, customers come to the website and opt-in for free information that leads back to the sales letter on the website. Multiple paths are leading visitors to the website and the sales letter.
If the problem you've identified is relevant to the people who share your passion, this part is easy. In your product, you've already solved the problem they have. In your sales message, you grab the potential customer's attention by promising your product will solve their problem.
After some testing on our website, we found the most relevant promise to my dad's foam wing cutting customers is that the bow he uses for cutting is "one of the world's lightest (homemade) foam cutting bows." This is particularly relevant because some of the other methods for cutting foam wings use bows so heavy you have to rig a pulley system to your ceiling, or they require two or more people to use them. This promise resonates with the market, and even proved better than the cost savings my dad's method offers compared to other methods.
Once you've made your promise, it's time to show how you can fulfill the promise. How you can solve your customer’s problem with your product. Provide reasons why buying your product will solve their problem, along with proof you can — and do — fulfill on your promises. Then, you're well on your way to making the sale.
With my dad's video, the free email lessons you subscribe to on the website give away valuable tips you can use immediately to start cutting foam wings. You can watch the first eight minutes of the 2-hour video free on the website (and YouTube). Plus, there's a sales letter offering a detailed description of all the content the video covers — as well as what that means for you as a modeler. No hype or hyperbole is necessary — just an honest description of what's in the video, and what it will do for you (finding every fascination possible).
Here's how to apply this now
Take this list and go through the 7 Ps. See how your self-publishing business lines up. Are you covering each of the 7 Ps? Are you missing any? This is your checklist to ensure you have Self-Publishing 101 down. Make sure you have all 7, because they are the foundation of your high-profit self-publishing business. Everything else will build from here. Sounds simple, but when all 7 line up, it's surprisingly powerful.
The Professional Writers’ Alliance
At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »