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Writing a Book?

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  • Phoenixdown99 Phoenixdown99 
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    Has anyone here written books? Seems like a fun and creative way to generate some passive income.

    I have written a children’s book and a book of poetry. I used CreateSpace to publish both. Both were fun, creative projects but have not really generated much income.

    I am thinking about writing something more medical that would sell better, given my credentials and medical background.

    Any words of wisdom?

    #205461 Reply
    Avatar Panscan 
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    Do you have an unique viewpoint, angle or skill?

    I would look at it more like a fun hobby than a way to generate passive income. There are a lot of people who can play guitar decently, there aren’t many relatively that make a decent amount of money from guitar. I’d imagine writing books is the same.

    So unless you have a unique angle or niche then I wouldn’t count on it making any money or being worth your time from a money standpoint.

    #205466 Reply
    Phoenixdown99 Phoenixdown99 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
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    Joined: 03/20/2017

    I’m a pretty good writer, and I do have some ideas about a certain angle.

    Anyone actually go through with it?

    #205473 Reply
    Lordosis Lordosis 
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    Status: Physician
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    Joined: 02/11/2019

    I have tittered around with writing a sci fi novel but all I have is an outline and a couple odds and the start of a few chapters. Nothing Medical. I love big picture thinking and ideas but I get bogged down in the nitty gritty.
    I had twins a couple of years ago and my little free time disappeared and truthfully I forgot about it until right now.
    One of these days…

    “Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.”

    #205476 Reply
    The White Coat Investor The White Coat Investor 
    Keymaster
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 4392
    Joined: 05/13/2011

    Has anyone here written books? Seems like a fun and creative way to generate some passive income.

    I have written a children’s book and a book of poetry. I used CreateSpace to publish both. Both were fun, creative projects but have not really generated much income.

    I am thinking about writing something more medical that would sell better, given my credentials and medical background.

    Any words of wisdom?

    Click to expand…

    Yes.

    Most books do not generate significant passive income.

    How do you plan to market the book? That’s far more important than whether or not you can write and publish one. I would not assume a medical book is going to sell any better than a children’s book or poetry book.

    Self-publishing is very easy to do. Self-marketing much harder. One great reason why it’s good for bloggers to write books. Not only is blogging great practice for writing regularly (a necessary skill for writing a book) but by the time you get the book done, you already have an audience to sell it to.

    Doing it in the opposite order doesn’t work nearly as well in my opinion. I’ve seen a fair number of people write a book or two or three and then realize they’re not selling and try to start a blog to promote it. I think if you’re not a blogger to start with, that’s probably a mistake. Better to just maximize what you can get Amazon to do for you.

    Site/Forum Owner, Emergency Physician, Blogger, and author of The White Coat Investor: A Doctor's Guide to Personal Finance and Investing
    Helping Those Who Wear The White Coat Get A "Fair Shake" on Wall Street since 2011

    #205484 Reply
    IntensiveCareBear IntensiveCareBear 
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    Joined: 12/22/2018

    WCI is correct. Anyone who has a blog can cut-n-paste a book in a few days, or anyone can Dragon dictate one in a couple weeks. I have a few books I’ve contributed to available and a few in the works, but it is purely hobby in my eyes. Author monetary success is all about being able to market it, and you essentially have three main options nowadays:

    1) Some YouTube or blog people or micro-celebs do ok on their books because they have a small built-in promotion network to have people talking up their book on social media. Their ‘book’ usually ends up just being a cut-and-paste of stuff that readers could get free from their blog, but it still works… sometimes… if their website/channel was popular enough. People might pay a few bucks to have the info in a more logical and organized, indexed manner if they like the blog, or even the non-blog ppl may buy the book if a friend from the blog recommends it. This tactic is mostly for sites, YT channels, and blogs that are at least a few years old with decent followings. That is a ton of work and time to spend.

    2) Other ‘old school’ authors just draft, edit, finalize… then pay big bucks or give big commission of book sales to the publisher or a professional marketing place to do the promotion of the book, ads on Facebook, website/page for the book, maybe even plant the name of the book in magazine and internet articles, promos at book stores, etc. This would be the old-fashioned or ‘Shark Tank’ way of writing books. You have to go around to multiple publishers, hope you can impress one who will then fund a very good promoter… hope to get a decent contract… and hope the book content catches on with at least a few big marketing fish (who will probably want some kickback). It is virtually all pay to play (from your local library’s featured book of the month… all the way up to ‘Oprah Book Club’ and similar). I’m sure Harvey Weinstein’s cousin runs book publishing, and hardly any book featured on Ellen or Oprah or made into movie script got there purely because of good content or story.

    3) Amazon/Kindle or other self-pub sites are also a choice, but it is not a very good one unless you don’t really care about profitability. They take huge fees, and anyone who looks at your book will also see many similar ones available or suggested on the same webpage… so it usually becomes an underbidding war and a contest to find the most family/friends to give you 5 star reviews, which is generally very bad for the authors (esp with high Amazon fees). It is a saturated space with dozens of 99 cent eBooks on almost any subject imaginable.

    …I agree with above that your best option, by far, is to have a successful and high traffic blog or website or YT channel then that sells the books or ebooks directly right there. That lets you maintain pricetagging ability, gives your book more implied scarcity (unlike Amazon), and can avoid paying a ton or giving up huge % to professional marketing via publisher or other means.

    As for content, I’m sure you have your ideas. I would encourage humor, storytelling, and simplicity. Think of what most best-sellers have in common. Great teachers and valuable products/systems make complicated things simple, memorable, and fun to master. This is the information age, so people skim and move on to the next thing very quickly if it is not engaging and fun. Books with any degree of success are also rapidly shared and passed around online with no profit to the author (and even used hard copy books are cheaper and more available than ever), so you have a limited window of time to make any significant profits. Books and authorship certainly have a place, but they’re getting less and less popular with ADD and YouTube on the rise. I would echo that you should consider author work a hobby and be pleasantly surprised if you can make a few bucks or even manage to break even on it. It sounds like you’ve found that out already. GL… it is not easy.

    "Hmm, that sounds risky." - motto of the middle class

    #206098 Reply

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