Fast-Start Training for Self-Published Business Authors

Having been an editor for seven years, I like to share tips and findings on my two blogs with all the new book authors. But I never realised that there was a need for fast-start author training days.

When there was the 48-hour Author weekend workshop for planning your book, I poo-poohed the idea that anyone can successfully plan and write a book this quick.

Now I know more of the barriers to people writing their first book, I get it.

If support is needed, I still think it best to spend the money on writing coaching over 3-6 months and learn writing techniques and marketing tips every day, but I understand. People want to deep dive, and avoid their own procrastination, deliberation and doubt!

Jennifer Lancaster books on Google

Next Level, Past Writing a Book

What about once you’ve got past the hurdle of writing your book?

Then there is also the matter of taking that book, selling it to a tribe and getting a portion of them to take up online programs. This is the ‘holy grail’ of lifestyle business options for the matured business or life advisor.

It seems that Print on Demand was not the secret sauce it promised on the box. It is, rather, a very fast and cheap way to get a book digitally distributed (via a feed). Any book, with virtually no gatekeepers.

In my educated opinion, using this is not the way to interest thousands of people and sell thousands of dollars worth of programs.

You know, there’s something missing from the system… and naturally, Book Creation Success program has a printable PDF on personal branding and offers.

The missing link from selling books: an author brand and sales funnel system!


opened copybooks placed on school bench
Photo by Katerina Holmes on

The Ins and Outs of a Book-into-a-Course Planning Day

The personal brand must be set up before launching the how-to or self-help or business book. Then a sales funnel (pages that explain it) for the program or course must be in place within 3 months of book launch date!

Launches should likewise be planned a minimum of 3 months ahead.

But, how do you plan all this launching activity, when it is all you can do to service clients, tend to family, write your content and do some book writing?

You go to a working day: Turn Your Book into a Course VIP Day, to be specific. So, from the origins of your book, the course can all be planned out that day.

Some free tips on book launching will be given at my free Book Publicity talk on Friday 25th June, 5pm, at Redcliffe Library, Qld.

Why Should an Author do a Course Planning Event?

It’s not like you just plan out an amazing new course on your own. You’ll be learning from an Australian publishing mentor and a course editor with a hands-on understanding of:

  • Both writing and editing a non-fiction book (17+ non-fiction books edited)
  • Book formatting/typesetting (another 10 books)
  • Digital Marketing (15 years’ experience in marketing or copywriting)
  • Taking information and making courses!

Plus hear from another expert who specialises in putting the course material into an all-in-one platform, with design flair.

Over the past two years, besides editing books, I have been testing different marketing ideas and compiling learning resources for indie authors, culminating in Book Creation Success here at the academy.

Planning out your course will be integral to earning MUCH MORE from the book’s concepts, since it does not have the price limitations set by the market.

We can arrange this VIP day with two experts (book creation / course building) in Brisbane, Queensland, on a Saturday in May, June or July 2021. Contact Jennifer.

Your new online course or membership can pay for itself over and over again.

Do this work so you can tell your stories, share practical advice and reasoned arguments.

Enquire for what it’s all about — below!

Define the Purpose of Writing your Book for Business

There are several problems with taking your expertise to market. The largest one is not dedicating time to it.  While writing a book or program is unwieldy and time-consuming up front, if you’ve got a big PURPOSE for writing a book for business, boom, motivation problem solved. This could be helping a charity close to your heart or shining the light on a problem that’s been a past source of agony for you.

Problem: One Offer, Low Revenue Base

Independent consultants and coaches need to grow income from more than just services, to diversify some away from their TIME. When someone is sick, their billings stop—and so does their income. Also, it’s really hard to sell the business or spin-off assets left and right with one-to-one services. 

To create more streams of income, you must offer books, audiobooks, an online training course/s, keynotes or group work, presentation, and if you’re game, online memberships or apps. (I don’t recommend creating an app). 

For the base of all this, a visual model is recommended in order for people to understand easily what your system stands for. Sometimes it’s not a visual tool; it could be a set of acronyms that are steps. (Renee Hasseldine says the ideal is 3 to 7 steps for an educate model.) 

A worthy goal is both rewarding spiritually and will eventually repay your time and investment into learning and creating.


Rule 1:  Any products added must make a gross profit of 30% 

Look at your business model and see if you already have a gross profit. Any new product or package you offer must have this profit margin built in. It’s just good business!


website branding

Rule 2:  Employ better branding and positioning, make 1-to-1 rare and lucrative, and add bonuses for packages or online programs. 

Laser-focussed branding and positioning will help you attract higher-level people, so you can increase your value. Ensure all your content marketing material is speaking the same message to your niche segments (or one niche).

bonuses for your reader


Rule 3:  Add online systems that solve problems for selected people, rather than working more consulting hours

You can set up a sales system that starts from a low-cost buy (e.g. a book) and offer various up-sell products for more in-depth needs. You can do this with Samcart (link below). 

Group training might be more effective profit-wise than even one-on-one coaching and you can still add the ‘personal touch’. Denise Duffield-Thomas does this very well, with her Money Mastery group events.

more profits from writing

Rule 4:  Break down the steps and make better Intellectual Property

Communicating of your key message — your IP that has the highest value — is often hard for the professional. So much to offer!  Begin by breaking it down into simple steps or a visual model. This can really help to write the book / training program.

Recommended Solutions:

1. Create authority and credibility with a well-produced book and a clear message, thus attracting clients to you.

2. Add to that with an online course and an audiobook

3. Getting some friendly sales but not enough income?  Add to that with a membership site or an upsell system. Try Samcart Basic to help sell, online. It’s $19US a month instead of the $99 a month mentioned on their website pricing page.  I am not an affiliate.

4. I use Memberpress here for Book Creation Success club, and it’s fantastic. From US129/259 for a whole year, depending on if you get it on sale. 


Remembering your Purpose for Writing a Book

Along with this, it’s important to remember your purpose all the way through the process of book publishing. It’s no good spending all your time on your book and nothing on promoting it on your blog, in media interviews, in podcast guest spots, or other ways. Remember the 5 marketing things every day that Jack Canfield & M V Hansen did when promoting Chicken Soup for the Soul.

If you keep in mind the purpose of reaching your audience with your impassioned message… no doubt you will succeed.

Using LinkedIn for Author Publicity

Using a book is a great introduction tool for an expert, therapist, coach or chef! And it is even better when you introduce yourself as an author of a thought leader book, via LinkedIn.  

Once your book is in circulation, you can add ‘author’ to your headline on LinkedIn. I personally recommend you add in the subject keyword too.

The Introvert’s Guide to Marketing for Authors

In this golden age of the personal publisher, introverts must play to their strengths. If you’ve ever read the book ‘Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’, then you’ll understand exactly what I’m saying. We introverts need to speak up, but in our own quiet way.

Are you good at asking questions, but self-conscious about video?  Then try Podcasting.

Podcast to a Larger Presence

Podcasting is the ‘slow burn’ way to attract a fan base. You own the podcast, so you also own the advertising that can be infused in a short grab inside the show.

Keep in mind that shows seem better with two people, so invite a specialist you know to talk about a topic within your new genre range.

To determine which category your tribe might seek, see (the live talk radio and podcast platform) and iTunes categories for category ideas.

If you have a WordPress or Blogger site, then it’s a six-step process to get your RSS feed (linking the files) to connect to Apple iTunes. First you’ll need to find a place to host your podcasts and apply post tags, categories, etc. Apple Podcasts Connect has a podcasting guide and best practices.

You’ll also need a good quality USB microphone (e.g. Nessie Blue), come up with a Podcast logo – which you can make on Canva for free – and plan how often you’ll produce an episode. It’s best to plan ahead a few podcast shows, and launch the first three all at once.

Author-First Book Marketing

Having a foundation in online book marketing makes a difference to any book’s ability to succeed in the market.

With an author-first approach, it’s making sure you and your brand goes out in the world. Many of you will have a coaching, consulting or a particular business in the background and with this approach, it’s going to have the most effect.

Niche Marketing for Authors

Niche Marketing aims to target a specific audience with a certain marketing and positioning strategy, rather than multiple audiences at once. This allows the author to potentially make more income – with less advertising cost. I advise all my authors to use this principle to better define a target reader audience.

Freelance Writing to Promote your Book

If your goal behind writing a book is to develop skill, express creativity, and simply be published, then you won’t need a book marketing plan. But if your goal is to write to disseminate ideas to as many as possible, and receive a return on time spent, then you need promotional ideas to get that message out.

For talented novelist and writer’s festival speaker Susan Johnson, having had a roaring writing career in the 80s and travelling the world in the 90s, on returning to Australia and enquiring into publishing, she had a rude shock. No longer did traditional publishers give big advances, and she could not return to teach creative writing at University due to ‘qualifications’ at that point.

Building an Author Platform: for Non-Fiction Writers

At author meets and even on email, I seem to have struck a similar vein when authors are asked when it will be time to build their author platform.

“I will focus on that when I’ve finished my final draft”

“I will start planning the marketing when I’ve got my production (cover, edits) done”

“I am in creative mode now, so I will worry about that when I am administrating and launching”.

In other words, they are putting off till tomorrow what they could (and probably should) be doing NOW.

Admittedly, it might help to have named your book title and come up with the angle – that is always going to help. But you don’t need to wait… FAME as an author never happens overnight. It is a long, slow road, best taken one pitch, tweet, or post at a time. Here is a simple break-down of the author platform steps.


Set up your author brand colours (two is good), theme (i.e. saving money is mine), and get some initial author photos done. You’ll need another photo with the book cover later (which will contain your colours). Working with a designer will help to ensure your brand is awesome, from the typeface chosen down to the relevant logo for your imprint.

Why I Don’t Pay for Book Review Programs

Why do authors pay for book review programs? I have been reading on Publishers Weekly (USA) about authors opting for paid-at-source book reviews, like Kirkus, IndieReader, BlueInk Review, and others. While assuredness of a newsletter promo and reviews can seem like water to a parched author, it comes with a cost. And not just the $149 to $500 they charge per time, which is quite substantial.

Besides the monetary risk, there is the risk it’s a one-off event. You still might not get reviewers’ email addresses as the review companies try to protect their reviewers’ privacy. That means no future promotion.

If you do get their email addresses, then please ask gently for a review – and do not connect to them on social media first. Some authors might try to send the ePub, but you know, many people cannot work out how to open it without the benefit of their Kindle reader app.

It is imperative that you protect this list of potential Advance Reader emails, because these people are going to come in very handy.

Use a Street Team

street team reviewers
Photo by Helena Lopes on

What about people who know you? These genuine helpers can form part of your ‘street team’, or advance reader copy (ARC) team. You can either offer your ebook for 99c on Amazon or send a PDF directly to them, for free. You might want to remove the ability to print it though.

Although I was terminally shy at first, because of my networking, I now have a nice list of 420 connections on LinkedIn to ask for endorsements or to notify of a giveaway on Goodreads. Plus Goodreads forums is an ideal place to recruit your street team/ARCs as its chock-full of book lovers.

Remember though, we can’t ask for Amazon reviews from LinkedIn 1st connections because now Amazon is disallowing an author’s social connections to give reviews — whether they bought the book or not.

The Problem of Asking Strangers

Even though I had fairly regular buyers in the first 3 months of launching Create Your New Life of Abundance and How to Start a Freelance Business, there were no reader reviews, which is a common problem. The library copies generally don’t prompt reviews either.

The workaround for this suggested by Mike Kowitz in his book, Smart Marketing for Indie Authors, is to quickly publish a second book and have a page summarising past books within its back matter. But for the first one, he says you’ll have to rely on the Street Team of friends/family who are not connected to you on socials. You may also prompt the review on your own blog posts. I noticed that at least one of his reviews were from a paid reviewer (or at least a pro reviewer) and the others were reading very real. 

So, while book reviews are crucial for social proof to better sell your book to others searching for that topic… there are many catches with getting them. 

Sometimes it pays to join up with someone who has a bigger email list than you for launch promotions. Think up creative ideas to reward new reader-reviewers. Cute stickers, daily planner printables (letter size PDFs), quote posters, and other low-cost items could be just the thing. Since we are not allowed to pay for the reviews listed at Amazon or Goodreads, and a gift is just a thank you card in physical form.

Always keep your personal return-on-investment in mind when planning book promotions.

Email Jen for Joint Venture proposals:

Building an Income along with a Book

Here I want to uncover some of the fallacies around book publishing and how it is possible to turn something you love into a nice income stream.

Many of the authors I hear from have said, ‘It’s okay, I’m happy to publish my book and see, it doesn’t have to make a steady income’. Okay… but isn’t that fear talking? Wouldn’t you rather make a regular income?

Target Reader Profiling

I know all too well the feeling that everyone should be interested in my latest book’s content. I mean, who doesn’t want to manage their money better… or as with the Simple Drive to a Healthier Life book, who wouldn’t be interested in better health? Well, the fact is, some of us are cuckoo for money advice (and some are spenders)… and others are nuts on health (while some like to eat anything tasty).

Write a Non-fiction Book in 1 month?

Today I’m exploring whether it’s possible to write a non-fiction book in one month and what other steps you will do in following months.  So, can you write a book in a month?

The answer is: well, I think that depends on what you classify as writing. Yes, you can outline, arrange your sticky notes (manual chapter structuring), and type like the clappers to get a draft of about 30,000 words for example.

You will also need to write a full target audience description, check the blurbs of successful competing titles, and draft a book summary.  Getting tired yet?

Actually, you might want a writing coach before you complete the first draft, particularly if your background is academic or corporate and you can’t quite get the voice right.

An Editorial Process

Then, to finish your book and reference it, you will need an editorial process. The first stage is having someone with a trained eye (an editor) look at the draft and ensure your structure is good, your message is appropriate for the audience, and your voice is ‘talking’ at the right level.

This will give you a much-needed rest. In month 2 (or so), when you look at it again, you will spot all kinds of things that you want to change!  You might also enlist some kind beta readers as well.

While others are posting photos, you are working on the message… streamlining your book… and capturing some book marketing ideas you can use. You might also be finding a book designer and copy editor.

In month 3, rest assured you will be tired, but still going. This month you are hearing back from beta readers, integrating editor/reader comments, deciding on book covers and interior layout. You might also be creating an opt-in freebie for interesting others, setting up your website book page, and getting pre-sales orders.

Finishing off the book’s small changes, updating the contents page, writing the author bio and final blurb (two versions), and ensuring it looks great will be the next steps.

Not Finished Yet: Pre-Sales

Never neglect the pre-sales process, which is where you will be scrambling to do your marketing efforts (but not haranguing strangers) so that your book will become successful. Meanwhile, if your assistant has loaded your files and metadata right, your title will be updating at various online retailers.

So, setting an ‘available to order’ date eight weeks in advance is wise. As well, real world book distributors need an even longer lead-in time before public release. Always allow time for doing a revision and second proof (e.g. another 10 days).

If you get traffic to Amazon during this period, then they will order it to be in stock immediately. If the book page does not receive traffic or purchases, then it will show your book on launch as “available in 7 to 10 days”.

So, writing your book in 1 month is possible if you’re disciplined, but finishing your book (if you want it to be great) needs about three or four months. In fact, I (Jennifer) have a non-fiction book writing program with coaching and editor suggestions, paced over six months, if you’d like to take a look.

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