Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What's the Lifespan of Your Book?

What's the lifespan of your book? How long should your book be on the market? How long should you tour with and promote your book for extended sales? Here's a brief case study that might help you answer that question.

Recently, I met an author who suggested to me that his book had probably run its course. The book has been available for 12 months. The author, a university professor, has done numerous speaking engagements. He feels that after 12 months, that's pretty much enough for this book, and he's ready to move on to the next book. He has done quite well with his book sales, so I say great, congratulations, and thumbs up to him. 

Another author I recently met is also an academic who wrote a book 12 years ago, and he is still marketing his book to this day. How does he do that after 12 years? When he initially wrote his book, he established himself in his industry as the definitive, go-to person for this particular topic. Since writing the book 12 years ago, he has established himself on the speaking circuit, and he does numerous speaking engagements each year. He has written articles in several high-profile publications, and he has utilized the content in his book to reach a variety of audiences, thereby extending the lifespan of his book content.  

So you tell me which author has the best deal going: the author who, after 12 months, decides that his book has reached its lifespan and that he's ready to move on to the next venture, or the author who, after 12 years, is still marketing and exploring opportunities with his book? I suggest it's the second author. 

Here's how you can extend the lifespan of your book beyond 6, 9, or 12 months:
  • Begin with your platform. You must come to the writing table with a solid platform for your book to leverage. Be clear on what you want to be known for and what you want to be known as. Then, write your book with that in mind.
  • Leverage your platform. Once you complete your book, utilize that content to leverage your platform.
  • Repurpose your book content. This helps extend the reach of your book and allows you to touch numerous audiences. You can repurpose your content as a blog post, an article for online or offline publications, as website content, social media posts, or presentations. So there are a variety of ways to repurpose the content in your book, therefore, giving the book a broader and longer lifespan.

So don't give up on your book after 12 months. Realize that your book has a life far beyond 12 months, and that it could actually last for 12 years. Remember these tips when considering how long your book should be relevant to audiences.


Anita Paul, known as The Author's Midwife, coaches aspiring authors to write a phenomenal book and helps current authors use their existing books to leverage their business. She is the author of the-book Write Your Life: Create Your Ideal Life and The Book You've Been Wanting to Write, and is the creator of the Write Your Life program, through which she has created a dynamic system to Write Your Book in 90 Days or Less. She has owned The Write Image for 15 years, and has had her freelance articles featured in over 25 publications in the U.S. and Canada. Anita is also the host of "Book Your Success".
Facebook: Write Your Life Coaching Program
Twitter: @AnitaRPaul

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