There are various types of little books (probably hundreds of variations, if you want to get nitpicky about it), and different types serve different purposes. Most if not all of these books are meant to serve as lead generators—they are used to add names and prospects to your list. So, that’s a given. Deciding what type of little book you should write depends on what you want the book to do for you.
Business Generation Books
Promotional: A promotional book is designed to rev up people’s excitement about a product, service, or business (even a person). It concentrates more on the what and the why, but doesn’t go into the “how” or the processes necessary to be able to actually do what is being talked about. The idea is to lead people into a purchase.
Promotional books are long on benefits as well as success stories and testimonials. Think about it: when you’re reading a book or an ad for a diet, you start skimming over the scientific stuff, the facts and numbers, and you skip to the stories about the middle-aged lady who lost 57 pounds or the poor guy who was embarrassed to go out until he lost 30 pounds. I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking at the before and after pictures, making sure it’s the same person!
The promotional-style book gives some valuable content, but it doesn’t tell the whole process. However, you do want people to walk away from reading it with increased knowledge and something they can apply right away so they know that you have valuable information and can help them with their problems. Give them a small quick win and lots of optimism. Hope empowers people. There’s nothing wrong with spreading realistic hope around.
Top Tips/Biggest Mistakes: This type of little book is excellent at establishing you as someone who is knowledgeable in your field. They are easy to write – all you have to do is think about the problems that you solve for people and their most frequently asked questions. When you talk about top tips, you are setting yourself up as someone with expert knowledge. When you talk about the biggest mistakes (and how to either solve them or avoid them), you are creating a huge amount of value and credibility.
On several of my sites, I used to have an autoresponder series that sent out a new tip each week. It was an easy way to provide value to my subscribers and keep in front of them. At one point, I bundled up about 20 tips, added a few that weren’t part of the series, and created a top tips book that I put on Kindle for $0.99 to use as a lead generator. It gave people great marketing ideas and told them (multiple times) to go to my website and sign up for my list to get more insights. If I could give it away for free on Kindle, I would but they seem to like to sell books. (What a concept!) I did, however, put it into the Kindle Unlimited program, which allows Kindle subscribers to read books for free every month.
How To: I like to use free or low cost how to books to explain one process or a part of a system. For example, I have a six module course on how to write a book. I can do a free “little” book on each module that works as an introduction and gives one process that is part of a bigger whole. For instance, if you are self-publishing a book, what are your options for cover art? (Note to self: Write little book on book covers.)
Ask yourself what process you could teach someone that will, again, give them a quick win (so it should be fairly easy for someone to complete), demonstrate your expertise, and lead them to the next step, which would be working with you or buying a product or both. The how to can also help you encourage your clients to self-select: if you give people a fairly simple process to complete and they don’t or can’t complete it, are they clients that you want to work with? Many consultants use a free process as a tripwire to gauge how motivated their prospects are. I know one real estate coach who gives prospects a simple list of things to do. None of it is hard, but it takes time and effort. He won’t work with them until they complete the list. Now, do they know it’s a tripwire? No. They think it’s a guide to what to do to get started in real estate investing. And it is. It’s also a way to make sure that his coaching clients are self-motivated and willing to put in the work. Win/Win.
Income Stream Books
Little books can generate little and sometimes BIG income streams, depending on what you are promoting.
Affiliate Link Books: Years ago, a friend of mine, Mike Gusler, showed us all how to create a book that included affiliate links. His program was called The No Bull Cash Cow Marketing System. I just checked – it’s still up and running at MikeGusler.com. (Not an affiliate link, by the way.) Since then, he’s added several programs but the cool thing about his Cash Cow program was that it not only taught you how to make money from affiliate links, but you became an affiliate for him, too.
So, if you are writing a book on a certain topic, look for products or services that you feel positive about that you can become an affiliate for. In my world, they have to be products that I would actually recommend to people. Some people have no problem recommending products just based on the amount of commission they make. You have to decide that one for yourself.
Where do you find affiliate programs? Start with products you use yourself. For instance, I use Siteground for my webhosting, MeetEdgar for my social media distribution, and GetResponse for my autoresponder. See what I did there? All three of these have affiliate programs. Some pay me outright, a couple give me a credit towards my bill. MeetEdgar gives you $10 off and gives me a $10 credit. I feel very positive about these companies (though MeetEdgar is a bit pricey if you’re just starting out). I use these programs myself. I have no trouble recommending them to others.
You can also go to sites like Clickbank, ShareASale, and CJ.com (formerly Commission Junction). CJ is for more experienced marketers – they expect you to produce a certain volume of sales within six months of starting up and they have a higher vetting of their affiliates than most other sites.
Affibank is a site that curates products and services from a wide variety of affiliate marketing sites if you are in to one stop shopping, but hitting the individual sites is good to see how each one works because, of course, each one is a little different.
And, a third option is to become an affiliate directly for an individual who sells courses or products. Many people have their own affiliate programs, some more robust than others.
When you sign on as an affiliate, you are given a special name or number that is coded into the link that you share with people. When people click that link, it is tracked back to you. If they buy (usually within a certain amount of time like 90 days), you earn a commission. The better programs have a back office for you that will include marketing materials like banner ads, social media comments, or marketing ideas. Sometimes all you get is your custom link. That works, too.
Review Book: Too often, review blogs are just thinly veiled excuses to push affiliate products. The “research” on a product is confined to the marketing letter the product owner puts out, with all the benefits and talking points pre-made for the blogger. The blogger may put one or two minor negatives in the review, just to make it look fair and balanced. But the review will come out with an overall rating and a link (an affiliate link, of course) to the product.
A review book can go more in-depth on a number of products. For instance, if you were reviewing the best autoresponder companies, you could have a standard list of features and then give a review of the pros and cons of each product. If you’re an affiliate for ALL of those companies, or even some, you can put your links for each company in the individual reviews and no matter what people decided, there is a good chance they would use one of your affiliate links.
You can also create review books for physical products, depending on your niche. If you are a health and fitness coach, you could review various products within your niche and recommend the ones that you feel are best. Not all products need to have an affiliate link. You might review various supplements or diet books, or perhaps fitness equipment or workout programs, then put together a complete routine for people with your recommended products.
With review books, you can concentrate on one product or service and go deep on the topic, or you can cover a variety of related products, and cast a wider net. No matter which way you go, you want to always be sure that you feel confident that the product or service you recommend will provide a positive experience for your reader.
There are all types of little books and yours can be one of these, a combination of two or more of these, or something completely different – a workbook for instance. I love little books because they work. They are a book-length commercial for your business and they don’t have to be a literary masterpiece, so no pressure.
If you’re interested in writing a little book for your business, check out my mini-course: Big Profits from Little Books.