Use Your Book to Create Additional Information Products

Say you’ve written a book or are still in the process of writing it. How do you use your existing content to create more value for your readers? Or maybe even use that same content to create useful products to compliment your book? Ancillary materials, like reading guides and workbooks, are one way to leverage and monetize the content you’ve already created. Here are a few basic categories these types of materials fall into.

Content chunking and social media

Pulling out nuggets of useful content from your book can be an easy way to create material for blogs and social media. Blog posts are an excellent marketing channel for sharing a top-ten list, how-to steps, a high-level exploration of a concept, or tips/recommendations for common problems. You can also submit articles to content syndication websites to generate more online exposure. A few such sites that include free services are e-Articles, Article Alley, ArticlesBase, and there are also paid services like iSnare.com or RcpLinks.com.

Nonfiction and business authors can include content chunks in how-to PowerPoint presentations and then upload the presentations to SlideShare.com, the world’s largest community for sharing presentations. Authors who redistribute bite-sized pieces of book material over the Internet—whether through blogs, video-sharing sites, or PowerPoint presentations—build brand awareness and instantly boost their visibility online.

Workbooks

Workbooks can be a great tool for books that present a step-by-step approach to improvement or that instruct the reader to perform a number of activities (typically health/fitness, business, self-help, etc.). Authors of books like these can create workbooks in line with the content, incorporating any activities mentioned in the text and building from there to create a comprehensive resource for readers to use as they apply the concepts in the book.

By including a bonus workbook with every book purchase, you are offering readers an incentive to buy the book through your website instead of Amazon and giving them exclusive, value-added content. If you instruct seminars or workshops, you can independently sell workbooks to attendees or include them within the cost of registration. Alternatively, you can post an abridged version of the workbook on your website or use the workbook as a reward to readers who signed up for your newsletter or RSS feeds. Emailing readers a PDF of your workbook is another great way to thank your customers!

Author Q&As

Author Q&As are typically included in the backs of books, along with reading group guides. All you need to do is prepare a list of questions and answers that are relevant to your content and audience. By sharing personal details and revealing the creative process behind character creation or plot development, you encourage a higher level of reader engagement. As a bonus, an author can leverage the Q&A as a part of the book’s publicity campaign. Many publicists include an author Q&A within online and print media kits to inform print, radio, and TV media contacts of potential angles for interview questions and human-interest stories.

Reading group guides

Reading group guides are discussion questions presented in the back of the book or on the author’s website. By including reading group guides, you encourage the adoption and, ultimately, purchase of the book by interested book club members. If you’ve already printed your book, you can add a reading group guide to your website or the next printing of the book.

Self-Assessments

Self-assessments are a great tool for engaging readers and establishing yourself as a subject-matter expert. These assessments can be presented as part of the book but are typically more effective online, and you can use them to capture customer data, evolving trends, or industry opinions. Self-assessments may take the form of a quiz or survey and you can embed charts, graphs, and real-time survey results into your website to give fans statistics about the data they’ve provided.

How do you incentivize readers to complete the self-assessment? Consider holding a book giveaway on Twitter or Facebook where each completed assessment counts as a contest entry.

Training guides

A training guide is typically a separate publication that is paired with a nonfiction book. It should offers a week-by-week or half-day seminar approach to implementing the author’s content, and it can be intended for individuals or organizations. Training guides usually include concept summaries, points to consider when implementing the concepts, and activities for groups and individuals.

Authors can use training guides in several ways: as the foundation for the author’s own training or coaching program, as one component of a training package, as a bonus readers receive when they buy the book, or as an add-on the author can sell.