AA 028: The Top 4 Reasons Every Author Should Create a Small Digital Product as an Upsell to a Book

Upsell to a book

I find so many authors get focused on creating and selling books that they overlook an amazing opportunity that awaits them in digital products.  In this episode I will share the top four reasons every author should create a small digital product as an upsell to a book.

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In This Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • Four reasons authors should create an upsell to a book.
  • The types of ways you can use a product as a bonus.
  • And much more!

Enjoy the podcast!  It’s my hope that these episodes are bringing you one step closer to reaching more people with your message.

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Godly Gain Segment:

Each week, I share a Godly Gain segment for entrepreneurs who want to keep Christ at the center of their business.

Today’s scripture: “And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house.” Luke 10:7 (NKJV)

Thanks for listening!

You ROCK!  I appreciate everyone of my podcast listeners.  If you have a specific question for me, submit it here:  www.shelleyhitz.com/ask

“Even the weakest light can hold back the darkness.” – Unknown

It’s time to let your light SHINE!

Can’t listen right now?  Read the transcript below:

Today I’m rolling out the red carpet and inviting you to join me as I share about the power of creating digital products. My name is Shelley Hitz, and I’m the owner of Author Audience Academy where my members are successfully publishing new books almost every day.

Today I want to share some feedback from one of my members, Mel Edwards. She says, “If you want a coach who won’t take your money and disappear behind a wall of automation for the rest of your training, Shelley is for you. She uses all the technology she can to serve her students, but not to avoid them. If you’ve been waiting for years to get published, Shelley can help you get there as quickly as you’re willing to move.” Thank you, Mel, and it’s so true. I’m available on the forums daily and the coaching calls monthly, and I’m just there to help you get results at AuthorAudienceAcademy.com.

I believe you have a God-given message to share with the world; the question is, are you ready to shine?

It’s time for this week’s Center-Stage Spotlight training. This is where I share training and strategies to help you grow your business or ministry through writing and publishing books, marketing online, and creating products and services to sell on the back end. This particular episode is more about products, and I want you to really open your mind and think outside the box as you listen to today’s episode. So let’s dive right in.

Today I want to talk about four reasons every author should have an up-sell to their book. An up-sell is a digital product that you sell from your site. It’s not on Amazon or something like that; it’s actually a digital product that you’re selling from your site that’s separate from your books. Most authors I meet and talk to and coach, they get stuck in the author mind-set of “books, books, books, books, books, books!” I understand, I was there too. 2012 my husband and I published twenty-three books in our publishing company. Wow, twenty-three books—we were publishing machines—and I was just “books, books, books, books, books, books!” However, book royalties go up, and they go down; can anyone give me an amen?

Some months you may have really good royalties, and some months you may not. So what I want to do is I want to protect you against those ebbs and flows. I want you to be able to make a full-time income from this, and in order to do that you really need to diversify your income. You need to be able to have other sources of income besides just books.

Reason number one that you should create an up-sell as an author is to give additional value. If you’re creating books, if you’re creating content, you’re probably similar to me, I would imagine, in that you want to create value for those that you are serving. So a digital product helps you to give additional value to those you are already serving. You can give additional information that’s not in your book, so you can kind of take them on the next step. Sometimes that can be in different ways.

A book is one way to take in information, but you can provide video content, audio content, with the same information. I have some books, like How To Get Honest Reviews is one of them, and it has a tool kit as an up-sell. It has templates and checklists and all these different things that are really, really valuable; a lot of people have really enjoyed it. I did get an email from someone who said, “There’s no videos,” that particular training; I haven’t added a video part. So, if you’re creating an up-sell, video is a great way to create that content because it’s different than what that person is experiencing in the book. So some of the things that you could create are templates, checklists, swipe files—swipe files are more like fill-in-the-blank. A swipe file for an email that someone could send, a swipe file for a social media post, those are the types of swipe files that I provide at Author Audience Academy. You could also provide a Rolodex. The Rolodex would be a list of people that you could give to and contacts you could give. So, for instance, in Author Audience Academy I have a Rolodex of outsourcers, editors, graphic designers, and formatters, and what I love is that the members share their resources too. Just yesterday one of my members shared a new resource for a formatter that she’s had really good success with; I love that, I love that we are a community and we share resources. So a Rolodex is a great thing to offer. You could also do forms and other things.

You can offer so many different things as an extra bonus that they can buy once they buy your book. So, this would be something that you would sell for $7, $10, $17, and so forth. Probably you could sell things for $97, but because somebody is going to be buying your book at like $0.99, $2.99 for a print book for like $12.95 or $19.95;  to make a jump from buying a book to like $497, that’s a huge leap. I recommend you start small. I have several up-sells that I’m offering for my Author Audience  brand that are around $10. That’s a great price, an introductory price, for someone to get to know me, to buy a few products, and then they can decide if they want to join Author Audience Academy. If you do a video as an up-sell, it can explain technical tasks. So sometimes when I’m teaching authors, when I’m just telling you something, it’s not as easy to understand until you have screenshots in your book, but you can actually walk them step by step through the process in a video, so that’s a great opportunity as well.

The second reason you should create these products as an up-sell to your book is to diversify your income. I’ve already mentioned that royalties go up and down, and I believe you can’t really depend solely on book royalties; at least you shouldn’t, because if you’re putting all your eggs in one basket and you’re doing this full-time, guess what? Something happens and Amazon pushes you out of the algorithms, or something happens, you don’t have the money that you need to pay your bills. You need to diversify your income, and that’s what I’ve done; I have income coming in from all kinds of different sources. It really helps to solidify my business; it allows me to continue to do this full-time. Otherwise you feel the pressure, and it’s hard to do it on an ongoing basis. You can charge more for these types of products; like I mentioned you can sell them for $7 up to $97, or even more, so you can make a lot more for every sale than you can on Amazon.

Amazon, when you sell on Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, or any of the places online for books, the most you’re really going to get for book royalties is 70%, and that’s on Kindle; usually Kindle books are a lower price. When you sell a digital product on your site, you may be paying a small fee to PayPal, or a small fee to your payment processor, and a small fee if you use something like GumRoad.com, or another processor, or if you have to buy a plug-in or something to make it work on your site. You’re going to pay a small amount, but you’ll be keeping a majority of the income. So you’re going to be able to make a lot more.

The third reason every author should create products is to create a customer email list. There are tons and tons of research that shows your current customers are going to be more likely to buy again from you than trying to get brand new sales.

So if you’re an author, have you ever felt frustrated about trying to get new book sales? Trying to keep promoting, keep promoting? Keep marketing, marketing, marketing? And trying to get that new sale, that new sale? I’ve definitely felt that. The third reason that I recommend that you create these products is to create that customer list. Many authors are in that crazy hamster wheel of new sales, new sales, new sales, new sales, new customers, new customers, but guess what, guys? When you create a customer list, when you have something within your book—and I always recommend that you have a call to action in your book—that leads to your email subscriber list, they can sign up to your email list; you’re able then to promote to those same people again, and again, and again.

The thing about it is, the people who already bought from you are more likely to buy from you again; it’s not going to be as hard as trying to sell to someone new, to making that new relationship on Amazon. So by creating a product, you’re also able to create a customer list. It depends on what system you use. The system I use automatically captures that person’s information, their emails, and all of that. I have access to email my customers again later, and I also recommend thinking outside the box with your book to where you create some videos and audios that are bonuses inside your book; that’s another training.

Don’t you wish Amazon would give you access to the emails of everyone who bought your books on Amazon? That would be awesome! That would be a game changer, if they gave us access to our customers, to be able to email them, to be able to follow up with them, but guess what? That’s probably never going to happen. Now, I’m not going to say never, never, never, but 99.7% I don’t think Amazon would give us that kind of power and information; they want us to be dependent on them. It would probably open up the whole system to spamming, because there are a lot of people that use Amazon in the wrong ways as well. When you create products, you’re able to start creating that customer list, and that’s your most valuable list in your business, your customer list. Those customers, those people that already voted and said, “I want what you have, I like what you have, I want more.” So that is the third reason.

The fourth reason that I recommend creating a digital product is that you always then have that product to leverage as a bonus. You can use this bonus in so many ways. I’m just going to share a few ways that I’ve used digital products as bonuses. One option is during a special promotion, you can offer that product as a bonus. Something I’ve done before is, during my birthday month, or birthday week, or birthday day, I’ll run a special promotion for my books, and if you buy during that time you’ll get an extra bonus. That extra bonus could simply be one of the products that I’ve already created, that I’m already selling, but it helps me boost my book sales during that time as well. So, you can use a product that you create as a bonus, and maybe, just maybe, you create this bonus and you put a price tag on it that’s reasonable, and it’s all because you want to have a special bonus to entice customers to buy during your promotions; that may even be a reason to create a certain product. You can also use these bonuses when you’re doing affiliate promotions.

Your niche or your business may not be appropriate for affiliate promotions. I’m going to be backing away a little bit as my business grows for my own products; I’m not going to be probably promoting as much on the affiliate level just because I won’t have a need for that income. I really want people to be coming in and purchasing my membership and staying at my membership, but there are still certain products that I 125 percent believe in; I love them, and I can get a commission for recommending them. So if someone is in my academy, they can promote my academy and get a commission for anyone that joins; if you love Author Audience Academy, you should be doing that. There are certain things you can promote as an affiliate, and then you can give your product as a bonus for anyone who signs up through your link.

Some systems automate it, like JV Zoo. When I promote a product on JV Zoo, they have an option for me to upload a PDF or a document, or I can just upload the PDF with the links to download it, but it’s all automated. I can just give that bonus that way, but other times I’ve just had people forward me their receipts, and then I send them the bonus; it’s a great idea to get additional income. Affiliate sales, that’s a whole different training, that’s another way to diversify your income and get more stability to your business as an author.

Finally, you can use the bonus product as an incentive for people to sign up to buy your book, or sign up for your program, or whatever you’re doing, at a live speaking engagement. Maybe you have a book table, and you have a bunch of books, and you want to give someone an incentive. You can say, “If you buy this book bundle, you buy all three of my books, you are also going to get this extra bonus that’s valued at $27, but it’s only available today.” Guess what, if somebody was on the fence and they were just maybe going to buy one book, or maybe all three, and you said you’re giving them that extra bonus, they will probably buy all three. It doesn’t cost you extra; if it’s a digital product and you can just figure out a way to give them a coupon code or email them later access to that product, it’s not any extra cost to you, but it will potentially get you more sales.

Are your wheels spinning? Are you seeing all of the options and all of the ways that you can benefit from having an up-sell, from having a digital product? I want you to think bigger, I want you to think in a way that diversifies your income to where you are having multiple ways to serve your audience, multiple ways to offer value, but also multiple ways to earn income.

I am teaching this month, in the Take Action Workshop for Author Audience Academy, how to create a small product. We’re going to be walking through the steps of how to choose what to create, and then the tools and resources to use, what to do, and I’m really excited about it. This is potentially a game changer for authors because so many authors do not think beyond the book. I’m so excited to share this with you; you can join us at AuthorAudienceAcademy.com to get in on this training. There will be a replay, and it will be there ongoing for you to take part in. It’s really going to push authors beyond our comfort zone. Many times we’re comfortable with books, we’re comfortable in doing what we do, writing, but to do videos, to do audio, to do templates or checklists or things like that, it just can be sometimes out of our comfort zone. I’m excited to be able to share with the authors, and I hope that you take action and that if you don’t already have a small product that you create one. You know what, you don’t have to create just one, you can create multiple products.

Now, I want you to listen carefully: this does not have to be complicated. It doesn’t. You can take out your smartphone, right now, and record a video on your iPhone or your smartphone, you can record an audio, and that’s your product! Start simple. What I find is so many people try to complicate it, and then they get stuck in the details and they never do it. Start simple, get something up, upload it to GumRoad.com, and sell it! If you have a list of ten or a list of 100 or a list of 10,000, you have somebody out there that is following you that you can add additional value to. It does not have to be complicated, don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be, but add value. Add value to the topics that you’re already sharing about, you’re already writing about, and I want you to think, “What could I offer?” You may even want to survey people on Facebook or on your email list and say, “What would be helpful to you? What would be helpful to you with this next step?”

I’m excited to see what people do this month in our Take Action Workshop for Author Audience Academy, and the products that come out. There is nothing that makes me more excited than seeing my members take action and get results. This could potentially change so much for you, having something additional of value to sell and to be able to expand your influence, expand your reach, but also increase your income. You can add a link to this resource within your book. You might say, “This is the process I recommend, but you can get my step-by-step checklist and video tutorial at this link.” Then it sends them to the $10 product or at the end of your book. A lot of times I like to have resources, so if you have a resource list at the end of your book, say, “These are the resources,” and include your product as one of the links for the resources.

I appreciate you, and I look forward to seeing what you create in your product. Tweet me @ShelleyHitz, and if you have any questions make sure to get the show notes and all the resources from today’s episode at AuthorAudienceAcademy.com/28.

Before we end I want to give you a backstage pass in this week’s Godly Gains Segment, which is all about keeping Christ at the center of all we do. In the end it’s not about us, it’s all about Him. The scripture I’ve chosen today comes from Luke 10:7, and this is something that Jesus is saying to his followers as he sends them out to share about his message, and the message he sends he gives to the seventy. “Remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the labor is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house.” The part that I wanted to really emphasize in this episode is the “labor is worthy of his wages.”

I think sometimes when we create digital products, because it’s not a physical product, because it’s not something that someone can touch and feel and consume, we might hesitate in really selling it and in charging for it. We may think, “Well, I can sell it for a small fee, or I can give it away; it doesn’t really cost me anything to send it to them.” But I want you to really think about the gifts that God has given you, and that a “labor is worthy of his wages.” When I was a physical therapist, I didn’t expect to go into work for free. There are times that you do things pro bono, and I did volunteer work as a physical therapist in Haiti after the earthquake, but for the most part if you’re a doctor, if you’re a lawyer, if you’re any sort of laborer, if you go to work to a nine-to-five job, you don’t expect to go and work for free. We should not expect that either. We should value what we have to offer; we should value the gifts, the abilities, the knowledge that we have. So when you create these products, think about the value that you are giving. Many times the things that come easy to us are the things that are most valuable to share to someone else, but we don’t always see the value because it comes so easy to us.

So as you take this path, as you create products, I really, really want you to value your work and to charge what it’s worth. I really struggled with this for years, and I am really working through some mind-set issues on this, and I just wanted to mention this week in the Godly Gains Segment, “the laborer is worthy of his wages.”

It is my hope and my goal that these episodes are bringing you one step closer to being able to shine and reach more people with your message. You can do this. Never, never, never give up. There may be times that you adjust things, but it’s not about giving up; it may be letting go of something so you can take on something else, but I encourage you to move forward with perseverance. If you’re interested in creating a small product, I encourage you to join us at AuthorAudienceAcademy.com where my Take Action Workshop is all about creating that product, giving you the tools and resources and the step-by-step plan to get it done. Let’s do this! Thank you so much for joining me in this episode. I truly do appreciate you, and I’ll see you next time.

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