Written a nonfiction book? 10 ways to repurpose its content (and grow sales)

One of the best things about the current spread of media and publication options is the fact that the basic content from your print and/or Kindle book can be shared in many more different ways than was the case 20 or even 10 years ago.

Repurpose, reuse, recyle … and max up your book’s earning potential

10 ways to max up the earnings of one single source of content: your book

1.Blog to book and back again

Depending on the nature of your content, a series of blog posts form a very good basis for a book. I’ve done this a couple of times now and so have a number of other authors who contribute to How To Write Better. You get the double bite at the cherry and don’t worry that people won’t buy the book if an equivalent but spaced out version exists on your blog.

They will buy the eBook because the formats are very different and will be used for different purposes. At the other end of the scale, serialising a book in blog posts once or twice a week, say, is an excellent way of maintaining regular traffic to your website and at the end you can offer readers the chance to buy the beautifully bound eBook or even print/audio book, for a discounted price.

2.Break the content down into separate eBooks

If your main book is fairly general and covers a wider-ranging topic, see if you can pull out some content that’s specific to one or more sectors of your readership. For example a full length book about social media for SME businesses could be broken down into separate eBooks for discrete small and micro business sectors … say, professional services, retail, trades, healthcare, diet and fitness, etc.

These would sell for less than the main eBook but would have a useful niche appeal. Identical core information that’s common to all sectors would be perfectly acceptable, especially considering that people in one sector are unlikely to buy another eBook for a different one. And the main book will still have an appeal probably to larger SMEs who operate in more than one sector.

3.Create an online course based on the book

These courses are very popular and are good examples of projects that “earn you money while you’re asleep.”  As this book mustn’t be as long as War and Peace I haven’t gone into the methods here – and in any case options will vary from country to country. Simply Google “how to create an online course” and there will be a good supply for you to choose from based on your country’s criteria.

4.Set up some webinars on your topic

If you have a strong online presence you can pick out key elements from your book and base a webinar on each. Your webinar script can be based on the text from your book, too. To find out how to set up and deliver a webinar, Google “how to run a webinar.”

5.Get some speaking engagements

People love to meet authors at presentations and other live events and will buy a book from them eagerly – especially if you have signed it personally. Many of us carry our books in the back of our cars and take a few into meetings and events even if all we’re doing is a five minute elevator pitch.

We nearly always sell a few. Larger events yield greater sales so make sure you have plenty of stock for “back of room” sales.

6.Set up face-to-face workshops

This doesn’t work for every topic but I run some very lively and popular interactive workshops based on my book How To Write Brilliant Business Blogs (and that is based on a series of blog posts I wrote on How To Write Better!) Usually I include a signed copy of the book in the delegate price.

7.Record an audiobook

The fashion these days is for more and more authors to record their own books in audio mode, rather than employ (expensive) professional voice overs. Unless you have a voice like a misfiring diesel engine, try it and see. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is although it is tiring. Where to do it cheaply? Your local music recording studio.

Music studios usually have quite high quality equipment and if you can spare the time on weekdays, are often not busy. That means they are usually prepared to work for you at a very reasonable rate. Bands and singers most likely have day jobs so only record in evenings and on weekends.

If you’re going to put your audiobook on Audible (Amazon’s audiobook subsidiary) or the other audio outlets the technical standard required is quite high, but a music studio’s standard is likely to be high enough. Don’t forget to get your book’s cover design adapted to a square shape for the Audible branding.

8.Record podcasts

These are much simpler to produce than audio books and if you’re clever you can do them yourself using your smartphone. Try to make them lively and interesting: interview other people connected with your topic, do little “vox pops” when you’re out and about, do a small “round table discussion” about relevant issues.

These then can be loaded on to your website, possibly with a transcript as well so people have a choice.

9.Get into video

Don’t be shy! Shoot some video on your phone of yourself discussing various elements arising from your book (avoid repeating them though) as you walk your dog in the park and upload it to Facebook or other social media platforms.

If you’re feeling even braver, record some slightly less casual video about your book’s topic and beyond, and upload that to your own YouTube channel.

10.A readers’ club

As I mentioned above you can continue to generate more material and updates to your topic. Many nonfiction authors now are setting up password-protected sections on their websites where people who have bought your book can access this new information, preferably for free but using an initial passcode that people can only know if they have bought the book online, e.g. on which page does Chapter 13 start.)

And there are many more repurposing possibilities for your nonfiction book

  • How about its own internet radio station? Or at least, say, a weekly live radio show based on  your book’s topic on your local internet radio station?
  • A regular serialisation on someone else’s news/magazine website or printed publication? (Local newspapers and business print magazines welcome “expert” columns.)
  • Depending on your book’s topic, a F2F lecture or course adapted to high school / college students studying related topics?
The list is endless! What can you add to it in the comments?

Excerpted and adapted from Suze’s new book, How To Write A Brilliant Nonfiction Book, to be published later in 2020 by Better Books Media.