Your Book is Only the Beginning
(How to Give Your Readers More)
by Diane Eble
Recently a publisher approached me about republishing a book of mine that
had gone out of print years ago.
Needless to say, I was thrilled.
It feels like news of a loved one's demise to get a letter from a publisher saying your book
is going out of print. To receive news that a publisher wants to resurrect a book is—well, it's a joy akin to
experiencing a miracle. Isn't resurrection always a miracle?
The publisher, however, has ideas about this book. If we go ahead with this, it will be a very
different book from the original. New title, half the length, whole new format: "lots of open space, with bullet
points, built-in action points, and sidebars of specific topics." The sample book they gave me looked more like
a magazine in book format than a typical book.
You know what? I think their suggestions are very good! Once I gave up my initial conception
of what the book should be based on what it had been, I caught their vision. (When a traditional publisher makes
suggestions, welcome them! Publishing pros usually do know what they're talking about.)
At first, I wondered how I could cut all that content and not hurt the book, but now I'm not
perturbed at all. In fact, I welcome the chance to shorten it. The strategy they're suggesting is really a good
one, and I suspect will be used more and more in publishing. Which is the main reason I'm writing about this
The idea is to have a short book (95-120 pages) that is easy and quick to read, offers good
help but is not in itself complete. For more in-depth help, the reader who wants it can go to a website to get
This is a good model for any author to follow. It is a huge change in the old book model
(and welcome, in my opinion). Before the Internet, the customer would buy a book and there was really no way to
initiate a back-and-forth relationship with an author. By making something valuable to the reader available
online, an author can start a relationship with the reader that is satisfying to both.
I encourage you to consider your book only the beginning of your relationship with your
readers. Find ways to make readers want more of you, and then give readers more if they go to your website and
get into your "funnel." In this case, I may offer both a workbook and group study questions. Both of these work
well for almost any nonfiction book.
Even with fiction, you can find ways to draw people into your fictional world. I know a
novelist, Charlene Baumbich, who created a whole site called Welcome to Partonville, the fictional setting of her Dearest Dorothy books. Readers who love the
characters of Partonville get to read the "Partonville Press" and sign up for Charlene's Twinklegram (doesn’t
that just put a twinkle in your own eye?). On the site Charlene also cleverly places reviews of the book,
updates of her speaking schedule, all in a very engaging format.
Such "extras" give readers a richer experience. They keep readers coming back. They promote
loyalty. You're able to give readers more of you. It all works together to generate that most wonderful
advertising there is--word of mouth.
So if you're writing a book now or thinking of one, plan into your strategy ways to get
readers to come to your website for more. They will thank you for it, you'll sell more books and reach more
readers, and everybody will be happy!
... And if you're ready to incorporate these suggestions into your book starting
now, I invite you to check out the Jump Start Your Book: 12
Questions You Must Answer to Write a Book that Sells. It's actually a complete Tool Kit for starting your
book, including some terrific audio incredible bonuses and a follow-up coaching session to plot the right
publishing path for you.
All great accomplishments start with one decision, one action step. Check out Jump Start Your Book now and see if it's the right action
step for you at this time.