Authors: How to make money beyond book sales

May 18, 2021 | Profit

Hardly anyone makes money from book sales. That’s true, but if that were all there was to the story, hardly anyone would write books.

There’s good news, though. There are tons of ways for you to make money from your book besides selling it. I’ve divided them into four basic ways.

Increase Fees and Engagements

A good book will help you increase your fees and get you more speaking engagements. In fact, it’s almost become table stakes to have a book if you want to do significant keynote speeches. A good, helpful book catapults you into a higher fee range and helps you capture the interest of potential clients.

Use Your Book as A Sales Tool

Jerry Anderson was the first person I’m aware of to do this. He conceived of “The business card that no one throws away.”

Autograph your book and give a copy to every potential client. When I was active as a consultant and speaker, that’s what I did. I autographed a book to any potential consulting or speaking client. Then, either in person or with a handwritten note, I said, “If you like this, you’ll like me.”

Create Products Based on Your Book

A book isn’t the only thing you have to sell. Here’s a short list of potential products based on your expertise and tied to your book.

* Speeches
* Training programs
* Workbooks
* Field books
* Seminars
* Webinars
* Audio products
* Subscription products
* Subscription website
* Apps and software
* Card decks
* Board games

That’s a quick and partial list. Your only limit is your imagination. And there’s a bonus to creating these kinds of products. They all cross-promote.


You don’t have to limit yourself to “serious” products. When people read your book or come to a speech or training program you give, they’ll want to extend the experience. Novelties are ways that they can do that inexpensively.

Coffee cups and t-shirts are probably the most popular novelties. Caps are popular too. There are lots of others that aren’t so popular. I’ve seen mouse pads, Post-It Notes, and other things. Probably the most interesting novelty ever was a custom piece of chocolate showing a speaker’s logo.


Very few authors make money from book sales.

Increase your fees.

Get more high-quality clients and speaking engagements.

Use your book as a sales aid.

Create products based on your book.

Sell novelties based on your book.

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