Writing nonfiction: Direct quotations, paraphrases
How authors build a brand to sell more books

Generate business with membership site

One great 00000001mway for authors to generate business is a membership site. This is a private website that people pay a monthly fee to join so they can receive exclusive content and usually the ability to interact with one another. Among the unique content you might include are monthly seminars, guest speakers, monthly Q&A calls, member forums, and weekly emails to members about your website’s highlights and forum topic discussions.

Running a membership site offers several advantages. First, it can be a source of regular monthly income, especially if you set up an autopay system for members. In addition, you’re now able identify a group of loyal customers who you can stay in touch with. There’s no better way to sell a book than making a personal connection. Finally, your website can be a proving grounds for new book ideas as you discuss concepts, offer samples, and receive feedback.

Of course, there’s a downside to running a membership site: You must constantly create new content. This can cut into your regular writing time or compete with other items on your busy schedule. You can turn this downside into an advantage, though, if you plan to use t least some of this content in new books you will publish.

Setting up a membership site is fairly easy albeit initially time-consuming. Begin by designing a website. Examine other membership sites that cover topics similar to yours to get ideas. Also look for what they’re not doing so that you can differentiate yourself from them. Then begin building the website and creating content for it. Once you’ve got the site looking the way you’d like it to, go to the next step of promoting it. Use all of your book’s social media platforms – such as Twitter, Facebook, and your blog – to announce its launch and each time new material is posted to it.

Start at a very low fee. You want to build membership and get people talking about the site. As you have probably very little content to offer when the website starts, the low fee makes up for it. Once you have more to offer and membership has grown, then raise your prices. In addition, you may want to offer a discounted price for some. You’ll inevitably have people say they can’t afford a membership. Some of them may be trying to scam you into giving away something for free, but the majority probably are being honest. Giving discounts to students and senior citizens can help ensure some of those people do sign up for a membership.

You must constantly maintain your membership site. Specifically, you have to regularly come up with new content for members and you have to interact with them. To meet those challenges, you could:
• Add regularly scheduled blog posts, Q&As, and courses. Only introduce one at a time so that you don’t overwhelm members, though.
• Host live seminars/webinars every three months in which members can ask you questions.
• Post daily in forums, specifically by offering members tips, advice and encouragement.
• Start new topics on forums, especially when existing ones don’t generate much interaction.
• Hold regular hours in a text chat room or a private Facebook group in which members can talk with you.
• Provide online group events and challenges, such as writing so many words per day. Members then can share their successes and encourage one another. You even could offer prizes (such as exclusive access to new content or free copies of your book) to those who succeed.
• Update your home/welcome page every couple of days. Point out new material as well as old material that members may have missed.
• Offer a contact form in which members can email you.

Always remain flexible with your membership site. See where your members’ interests take you. For example, if you write murder mysteries and originally planned to focus on how to pen a mystery but find that your members are more interested in general writing tips or how to self-publish a book, run with it.

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)