If you keep abreast of publishing trends, you know that online courses are all the rage. Non-fiction authors have a huge incentive to enter this attractive market. Why? You already performed most of the work to develop your course when you wrote your books. And a rapidly growing ecosystem of service providers makes online courses a viable format for independent authors. Here are the top reasons to join the growing group of authors who've expanded into creating online courses around their non-fiction books.Higher Revenue
Return on investment, or ROI, is the metric by which you should judge any business venture. Is what you do worth your time, or will you be wasting time with a small return? Creating online courses can increase your income significantly, and for a relatively small time investment. It's not an overnight process, but it's much quicker than researching and writing a new nonfiction book, and you'll get a much larger response for the amount of time you invest.
The content of a paperback that sells for $14.95 can easily sell for $149 or even $299 as an online course. That’s because as an online course instructor, you do the same thing as a college lecturer when you organize the course, do research, determine strategies for teaching, set standards and assessments, answer questions and provide feedback to students through online chat and discussion. Some people can learn your material from reading your book. But those who need the material put into context will pay more for it.
Build a Community
Books are static. They may be filled with great information, but they can be relatively impersonal. With online courses, you can put a face on your words, give them a personality, or even relate them to current events. When you create an online course you have the ability to create a community around the topic you're teaching. Some of the most successful courses have forums attached for students to share ideas with each other. When you get enough students participating, you've got an online community with you as the expert head.
The interaction with your fans can be the most rewarding part of this career if you cultivate the relationships. Your fans aren't all novices, some of them will be experts trying to learn a few new tips. You'll learn tips and hints you never even considered, get an ego boost when someone praises your work, and have a great feeling when you learn how your information has helped someone's life.
Increase Your Authority
If you're writing in a relatively popular niche, you have to compete for "street cred" or legitimacy in your field. When you add more material in online courses, you strengthen your authority. This extends to your other work as well, so it can help your entire book catalog as long as it's in the same general field. The more people you reach, the more chance you have of influencing the conversation about your topic.
The best way to sell nonfiction books is to become the go-to expert in your chosen niche. You do that by creating a brand, an impression your work leaves on everyone who comes in contact with it. Think of Bob Vila of This Old House, or Alton Brown of Good Eats. They write, they do video, they make public appearances. And they're seen as experts in their field.
You may not have as elaborate a plan, but aiming toward branding is the best way to sell more books, and doing online courses will increase that brand recognition. Branding is easier when you branch out into other venues. Once you have work in two different modes, your popularity for both of them make it easier to find an audience in a third, and more.
An online course doesn't have to mean you're standing in front of a camera, talking. If you're shy or have some other reason you don't want to be onscreen, find one of the other ways of creating a course. Use animation, go with voice over and static pictures, or hire someone else to play you. Be creative, there are many ways to do a course.
No matter how detailed your book, you can never include every single detail you know about a subject. You can do this with online courses by creating a series of them, using each one to drill down into a topic to a much more detailed level.
Traditionally published or indie, you still need to do an enormous amount of book marketing to turn your book into a success. Marketing an online course can be more efficient and economical than promoting a book. Since courses are delivered online, online tools and services are the most effective way to produce, promote and sell them, and a growing ecosystem of service providers is already in place.
Create an online course about your book's topic and you'll end up selling more of the original book. Some viewers will discover your course long before they discover you've written a book, but will want a copy of the book as an additional resource. Book buyers have the same response the other way around. Success feeds on success.
Reach New Audiences
The reach for nonfiction books is worldwide, but if you add the reach for online courses, you can end up communicating with an unbelievable number of people. Ask any teacher and they'll tell you that different people learn differently. Some learn by reading, some by listening, and some by watching demonstrations. Online courses can address two of those methods that books never touch.
Repeat buyers are an author's best friend. If you get enough fans who buy all of your work whenever it's published, you'll have an easier time selling the next work you publish or put online. The more people who encounter your work in the first place, the more potential fans you have.
Help More People
It's been said that all successful nonfiction books solve some sort of problem for their readers. If you wrote a book because you wanted to share your solution, creating an online course will allow you to do that with a larger audience. Whether you're writing about container gardening or Matchbox Car collecting, you've got readers who needed to find out what you know. Online courses expand your audience to those who wouldn't think of looking in a book for their answer, but will avidly watch videos about it.
Ground Floor Opportunity
Imagine if you'd started publishing eBooks in 1998. There are authors who did that, and they're still going strong or they've retired on a stack of cash. Either way, they got in on the ground floor of an industry that was bound to grow enormously. Online courses are in the beginning of that type of growth spurt right now, and it's the early adopters who will reap the most benefits.
One of the most important reasons for creating an online course is that it's motivating for you. It gives you a renewed interest in your subject matter, and can even spur you on to further research or writing even more books.
Income is great, but passive income is the dream of all writers. Do the work once and you'll have money coming in over and over again. If your work is good enough, buyers will recommend you to their friends, making growth happen without you having to market your work. The more passive income generators you have out there, the more money you'll get each month.
You're Not Alone
You don't have to figure this all out by yourself. Here at The Author Lodge, we've got the tools to help you to create the online course you deserve to have. Course creation doesn't have to be a mystery, with Infinity Publishing standing beside you all the way.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!