The Magazine Mindset
Blogging went mainstream around 2004. That’s when it became the “it” thing to do.
And when something becomes THE thing to do, people start trying to make money with it.
In the case of blogging, people started experimenting with advertising on their blogs. That’s because the story people told themselves about online content was heavily influenced by a magazine mindset — collect eyeballs, then charge for access to them.
The Book Author Mindset
Back in a 2002 column in the New York Times, Joseph Epstein cited a survey reporting that 81 percent of Americans thought they had a book in them. That’s more than 200 million people!
To this day, many aspiring authors want to write books as their full-time income source. That’s the book author mindset. And I continue to meet consultants, technicians, teachers, ministers, you name it, who dream of being authors.
However, statistics on book sales tell a different story. For example, the average U.S. nonfiction book sells 250 copies per year. And less than 3,000 copies over its lifetime.
At an average royalty of $2 per book, that’s a whopping $6,000 for about two and half years of hard work.
The Because Effect
Back in 2004, Doc Searls coined what he called the “because effect.”
While folks were scrambling to find ways to make money with their blogs, the most successful bloggers were making money because of their blogs. In other words, the influence and attention they earned through blogging attracted numerous other opportunities and offers that came with pay.
Without their blogs, they would never have gotten these opportunities.
The same effect applies to book publishing. Many successful authors — especially nonfiction authors — make the vast majority of their income because of their books, not through book sales. They keynote events. Take on corporate consulting gigs. Lead paid seminars and workshops.
Without their book(s), they would never get these opportunities.
So let’s bring this back to you…
You can make money from your digital properties. Or you can make money because of your digital properties.
I encourage you to leverage the “because effect.” Choose to build assets that open doors to new opportunities and offers.
(Image by Geof Wilson on Flickr)